Eldoret, KenyaNicholas Togom continued his stellar introduction to senior running when he emphatically sealed his second senior men 12km victory on the trot at the 2nd KCB/AK National Cross Country Series meeting in Eldoret on Saturday (12).
Joseph Ebuya, the 2010 World Cross Country champion who also featured trooped back home just outside the top-ten as reigning Africa Cross senior and 2010 World Cross junior gold winner Mercy Cherono finished tenth in the corresponding 8km women’s senior event.
The highlight of the junior competitions was the chastening of World Cross titleholder Faith Chepng’etich who is fresh from sitting her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) national examinations in the women’s 6km race.
Lille World Youth 3000m gold winner William Malel prevailed in the men’s 8km run against the spirited challenge of Africa Cross titleholder Japheth Korir in a thrilling dash for the tape.
Togom on a roll
A week after taking the assembled men long race to the cleaners in Tala, Kangundo (5 November), Togom, whose elder brother Matthew Kisorio (2:10:58) made a commendable full Marathon debut in New York last Sunday took to the field in Chepkoilel and delivered another superior display to take sole charge in the race of the series jackpot.
Just like in Tala, Togom, the Africa Cross junior bronze winner, shot to the front midway through the race and competed against the clock in another emphatic display of front running to arrive unchallenged in 30:46.3, the relatively flat course aiding his flight for the top honours.
“I will be 20 next year and my aim is to win senior gold at the Africa Cross. Today I felt I was in good shape and did not find it hard to run from the front,” the victor stated.
Timothy Kiptoo, who won the opening leg of the series in Kangundo last year led the challengers home in 30:49.2 with World Half Marathon and Africa 10,000m gold medallist, Wilson Kiprop closing the podium in 31:02.8.
Kiprop, who is returning from injury that saw him miss the Daegu Worlds days before the Kenyan team left for Korea, told his delight after his troubled knee held up.
“I was testing whether the knee would show any reaction and I did not feel any effects today and I’m looking forward to resume my career,” the World Half gold winner added.
After pulling out of the Kenyan Trials for Punta Umbria, the 2010 World Cross titleholder who has also endured a spell in the sidelines with injury, Joseph Ebuya, pushed at the early stages but was scorched by the pace in the last 4km.
“I want to return to competition slowly and after finishing here today I can return to train harder,” the Bydgoszcz long race champion who was 11th here in 31:32.9 expressed.
Upstart rules women’s senior run
Prior to Saturday (12) no one had heard of Phanencier Jemutai, the Mount Elgon born runner who is trained by Moses Masai, the Berlin 10,000m bronze winner.
In 23:29.5, Jemutai announced her arrival on the distance running scene after pulling off a more forceful victory than Togom did in the men’s senior run.
Jemutai led from the second lap and went on building a strong lead with runner-up, Farida Jelagat (23:37.5) eight seconds behind the winner as 2006 World Cross sixth finisher (short race) Beatrice Chepchumba stopped the clock in 23:44 further back in third.
Hellen Obiri, who made an impression in Daegu as the only Kenyan finalist in the women’s 1500m before a trip ended her medal ambitions in the final, ran 23:49.0 to finish outside the podium in a race turned into a procession by winner’s sustained rip.
Mercy Cherono, the African Cross champion and fifth finisher in the 5000m race at Daegu World Championships was returning to competition after writing her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) O-Level national exams and the race rust showed as she clocked 25:15.5 for tenth.
Malel tops champions’ contest
As is common at domestic cross events the men 8km race is usually the most keenly contested and attracts the most entries with the Chepkoilel edition no different.
Africa champion, Japheth Korir who won bronze at the Bydgoszcz World Cross fronted the queue as he sought to stamp his mark after a fourth finish in Tala.
World Youth 3000m gold winner William Malel lined-up alongside with Gideon Kipketer, the fourth finisher in Johannesburg also in the frame.
There was nothing to separate the front runners in the opening 6km as a lead pack that also included Abraham Kasongor, Ernest Ng’eno, Isaac Langat and Kiprop Limo hurdled together with the favoured trio.
At the bell, Korir and Malel were running almost shoulder to shoulder with Kipketer a pace off the leaders. All the action unfolded in the last 500m when Malel edged a three way sprint for the tape in 20:15.5 with Korir (20:20.4) and Kipketer (20:20.7) occupying the remaining podium positions.
Jepkorir in brilliant win
The women’s 6km junior race featured three athletes who wore the Kenyan jersey at the Punta Umbria World Cross and Norah Jeruto who was sixth at the Africa Cross in Johannesburg.
Faith Chepng’etich, the World titleholder was the top seed with close friend, Nancy Chepkwemoi and Brilliant Jepkorir Kipkoech who placed sixth and ninth in Punta Umbria also among the favourites.
Chepng’etich and Chepkwemoi spent most of last week at their Keringet Township Primary School writing their Standard 8 national exams and Jepkorir seized the opportunity to complete a comprehensive ten second win.
The winner took top honours in 17:24.9 with new comer, Agnes Jebet (17:34.8) out running Chepkwemoi (17:14.4) and Chepng’etich (17:50.4) who finished in that order to take second.
With his second victory, Togom took the lead in the men’s 12km race for a share of the Sh1.2m ($12,632) series jackpot that will be paid out after the last event. Results from four events including the National Cross Country Championships count.
Winners in each category will take home Sh400,000 ($4,200).
Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) and Joseph Ngure (The Standard) for IAAF
Leading RESULTS -
1. Nicholas Togom 30:46.3
2. Timothy Kiptoo 30:49.2
3. Wilson Kiprop 31:02.8
4. Edwin Kibet 31:07.2
5. Josephat Kamzee 31:17.2
6. Linus Chub 31:20.6
7. Hillary Kipchumba 31:22.8
8. Raymond Choge 31:25.1
9. Kiprono Kurgat 31:25.9
10. Benson Moto 31:31.7
11. Joseph Ebuya 31:32.9
1. Phanencier Jemutai 23:29.5
2. Farida Jelagat 23:37.5
3. Beatrice Jepchumba 23:44.4
4. Hellen Obiri 23:49.0
5. Corethy Jelagat 23:49.8
6. Jemima Jelagat 24:16.5
7. Purity Jerotich 24:35.0
8. Antonina Ruto 25:01.4
9. Jelagat Sang 25:03.3
10. Mercy Cherono 25:15.5
1. William Malel 20:19.5
2. Japheth Korir 20:20.4
3. Gideon Kipketer 20:20.7
4. Abraham Kasongor 20:33.0
5. Ernest Ng’eno 20:35.0
6. Isaac Langat 20:38.4
7. Kiprop Limo 20:46.8
8. Eliud Ng’eny 20:47.8
9. Johana Maina 20:49.9
10. James Kipsang 20:56.1
1. Jepkorir Kipkoech 17:24.9
2. Agnes Jebet 17:34.8
3. Nancy Chepkwemoi 17:41.4
4. Faith Chepng’etich 17:50.4
5. Winnie Chepkemoi 17:55.0
6. Eva Cherono 18:01.3
7. Magdalene Masai 18:05.8
8. Mercy Chebwagen 18:10.5
9. Jepkemei Tanui 18:13.5
10. Norah Jeruto 18:17.2