Winner of the women's junior race in Nyahururu Susan Wairimu (Peter Njenga) © Copyright
Report Nairobi, Kenya

Mugi, Sikei impress – Kenyan Provincial Cross Country report

The last three crucial provincial Cross Country championships were held on Friday (22) and Saturday (23) as Kenya prepares to identify those who will represent the country at the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland, before the national championships next Saturday in Nairobi.

These races were held in the capital and high altitude areas of Kisii in western Kenya and Nyahururu northwest of Nairobi.

Nyahururu - Mugi bounces back

Nyahururu, Kenya (23 Feb)---Former World  5000m junior champion Gordon Mugi made a dramatic return to competitive athletics by winning the 12km senior men's race in the final South Rift Cross Country Championships in Nyahururu.

Mugi who has been out of action for two years is remembered for beating Kenenisa Bekele in the Santiago, Chile World juniors in 2000 before his star dimmed. He said that he is now fully recovered and would be challenging seriously for a place in the Kenyan team for the world championships.

Today it was back to business and he took control of the race held on a flat but windy course shortly after the start never to relinquish his lead until the end to win in 36 minutes 48.7 seconds.

But he was kept on toes by Daniel Irungu who managed to pace himself well to finish a close second in 36:53.9.

A similar show of class was produced by Vincent Yator who led from start to finish in 24:03.2 to win the junior men's race. Local Samuel Ndungu finished second in 24:12.5 followed by John Manyim (24:35.4) in this race which saw the World Youth 1500m silver medallist Josphat Kithii finishing 20th.

Monica Watetu from a local athletics academy, Mfae, won the senior women's race in 28:41.8 while  Mary Wanjiku won the junior category in 22:21.5.

Most Japan-based international runners like World Half Marathon record holder Samuel Wanjiru watched the race from the touchline.

Japan-based Kenyans star in Kisii

Jefferson Siekei and Phyllis Ongori who live and train in Japan were the star attractions in the Nyanza South Province Cross Country Championships held at the Kisii Golf Course on Friday (22).

Sikei, winner of the 2006 Athletics Kenya Kisii Weekend Cross Country meeting and a local cross meeting a week ago, out-paced the opposition and produced a thrilling finish to stop the watch at 36 minutes 56.37 seconds to book a place in the national championships cum IAAF Permit Meeting on Nairobi on Saturday next week.

Behind him 100 metres away was MacDonald Ondara who posted 37:48.03 and was followed by Boaz Mayaka in 38:08.08.

Aware of the quality field he expects at the nationals which this year have been amalgamated with the final trials for the Edinburgh World Cross Country Championshships, Siekei intimated that he will concentrate on his speed through a rigorous training regime in coming days.

Siekei drew inspiration from Ongori who survived a sustained attack from Jelina Tinega in the exciting women's race. Tinega gave it all but the awesome sprinting kick of Ongori, a previous member of the Kenya national team Chiba Ekiden line-winning team.

Unknown Muturi surprises in Nairobi

Nairobi, Kenya-- Little known Elijah Muturi running for Mashambani Club managed by national cross country coach John Mwithiga was the surprise winner of the Nairobi Province senior men's race held in a football playground at the RTI College in a leafy city surburb on a hot mid morning.

Muturi who for most of the race trailed pace setter Michael Njoroge as far as 100 metres moved from third at the bell of the 1.5km final lap into the lead 200m before the finish to post 37 minutes 08.1 seconds.

Njoroge all of a sudden started struggling to pave the way for Geoffrey Gikuni who clocked 37:22.3 in second. As Njoroge clocked 37:28.2. Experienced Sammy Karanja who is preparing for Lisbon Marathon finished a distant fifth a position.

Magdalene Syombua, third in 2007 Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon, easily won the women's race  in 26:32.2 to beat Pauline Njeri who clocked 27:06.1 with a 100 metres gap. Alex Oloitiptip out-sprinted Philemon Kipchumba to win the 8km race in 22:54.7 as the runner-up clocked 22:57.6

Peter Njenga for the IAAF

Leading results -

Nyahururu, Kenya (23 February) -

Senior MEN (12 km)-
 1. Gordon Mugi      36:48.7
 2. Daniel Irungu    36:53.9
 3. Lewis Nyariki    37:00.6
 4. Samson Mungai    37:09.4
 5. David Ndirangu   37:14.9
 6. Daniel Gichuki   37:26.4
 7. Peter Nkaya      37:46.4
 8. Anthony Kahuthu  37:58.4

Junior MEN (8 km) -
 1. Vincent Yator         24:03.2
 2. Samuel Ndung'u        24:12.5
 3. John Manyim           24:35.4
 4. Hezekiah Mathai       24:50.4
 5. Charlestone Ndung'u   25:01.9
 6. Titus Waruru          25:06.0

Senior WOMEN (8 km) -
 1. Monica Watetu     28:41.8
 2. Purity Wangui     29:38.2
 3. Alice Waithera    29:54.2
 4. Ann Gathingi      30:38.5
 5. Margaret Wairimu  31:20.7
 6. Jane Wanjiku      31:54.4

Junior WOMEN (6 km) -
 1. Mary Wanjiku       22:21.5
 2. Grace Nyakweya     22:42.5
 3. Catherine Wanjiru  23:05.8
 4. Margaret Muthoni   23:33.5
 5. Christine Koech    23:53.9
 6. Teresia Moraa      24:26.6.

Nairobi (23-February) –

Senior MEN (12 km)-
 1. Elijah Muturi      37:08.1
 2. Geoffrey Gikuni    37:22.3
 3. Michael Njroroge   37:28.2
 4. Kipkoskei Bwambok  37:44.2
 5. Sammy Karanja      37:51.2
 6. Lewsi Ondati       38:00.4

Junior MEN (8 km)-
 1. Alex Oloitiptip     22:54.7
 2. Philemon Kipchumba  22:57.6
 3. Peter Mwololo       23:10.2
 4. Kipkoech Ruto       23:21.3
 5. Andrew Kiprop       23:24.3
 6. Kyalo Musyoka       23:29.4

Senior WOMEN (8 km) -
 1. Magdalene Syombua  26:32.2
 2. Pauline Njeri      27:06.1
 3. Beatrice Omwanza   27:55.6
 4. Jackline Musyowa   28:00.4
 5. Nellia Asiba       28:01.0
 6. Rahab Komu         28:27.0

Junior WOMEN (6 km) -
 1. Nelly Chebet        22:17.7
 2. Chrisentia Cheruto  22:19.2
 3. Rosemary Mbula      22:22.0
 4. Elizabeh ueni       22:23.0
 5. Cynthia Cherop      22:55.0
 6. Docas Chepkemoi     23.29.0

Kisii (22 February) -

Senior MEN (12 km)-
 1. Jefferson Siekei   36:56.37
 2. MacDonald Ondara   37:48.03
 3. Boaz Mayaka        38:08.08
 4. Said Salim         38:22.62
 5. Zachayo Nyariki    38:34.83
Junior MEN (8 km) –
 1. Isaiah Ondieki   24:15.92
 2. Paul Tanui       24:18.14
 3. Joseph Onsarigo  24:38.46
 4. Moses Nkeiywa    24:40.61
 5. Morris Mosima    24:43.3

Senior WOMEN (8 km) -
 1. Phyris Ongori    28:12.56
 2. Jeliah Tinega    28:23.56
 3. Alice Mogire     30:15.83
 4. Hyline Mong'     30:41.32
 5. Phyllis Moriti   30:50.08