Former World champion Richard Limo had to use his experience to beat little known Elias Kemboi in the 12 kilometres men’s race during the Great Rift Valley Discovery Cross Country held in Eldoret yesterday.
After failing to shrug off Elias Kemboi in the first four laps of the six-lap course at the Eldoret Sports club, Limo had to literally sprint opening a 10 second gap in the last lap to win in 36:45.52.
Kemboi who had strong support from fans because of his courage to hang on with top athletes who included the Boston Marathon champion Robert Cheruiyot in the opening stages of the race finished second in 36:55.40.
Cheruiyot, who dropped out after fourth lap, said he was using the race to gauge himself for local cross country season but did not think he would be vying for a position in the national cross country team.
The meet, the 12th since its inception in 1992, saw emergence of a new athlete, Ngige Karanja, who finished in the fifth position in the hotly contested 12 Km race.
The world half marathon champion Martin Lel was relegated to ninth position in 37:36.1. He was however happy with his position that came a day after participating in the Armed Forces championship in Nairobi the previous day.
In the senior women eight kilometres category, experienced Ayabei Jepkorir upstaged former national 10,000 metres champion Alice Timbilil to win in 28:03.7. Timbilil, who has been running in Europe during the last two months, was second in 28:21.2.
Leah malot who finished second in Nairobi during the Armed Forces cross-country championship had to settle for the fifth position behind Fridah Dongole and Jennifer Chesinon.
Behind Malot was another former national long distant champion Sally Barsosio. Barsosio, fifth at the Armed Forces, said her comeback efforts were going on well after a short break for the last two years.
A new comer, Barnabas Kosgei, kept his winning ways when he carried home the junior men 8km title in 24:27.2. Lawrence Kiprotich was second in 24:30.1. A week ago, Kosgei, a younger brother of steeplechaser John Kosgei, won the senior men long race at the finals of the Energizer cross country series held at Mosoriot Teachers College in Nandi.
The top finishers in the junior women six kilometres race provided what is likely to be the composition of the national junior women team to the World Cross Country Championships this year in Belgium.
The winner was Gladys Chemweno, one of the three athletes who shared the Sh one million Energizer Golden Jackpot at Mosoriot. She clocked 21:03.7 in yesterday's meet.
The 12th edition recorded a total of 1,678 athletes with the junior men category attracting the largest number of runners, with 615 athletes, a fact that made the director of the meet, Moses Tanui, delay the race for more than 30 minutes trying to sort out the age of the runners.
There was 500m race for girls and boys under 10 years of age, 1km to 4km for children aged between 12 years and 14 years giving the event 12 categories in total.
Senior Men 12Km
1. Richard Limo 36:45.52 (2) Elias Kemboi 36:55.40 (3) Simon Kiprop 37:09.3 (4) Robert Cheboror 37:14.00 (5) Ngige Karanja 37:20.9 (6) Peter Kimais 37:24.4.
Senior Women 8KM
1. Jepkorir Ayabei 28:43.7 (2) Alice Timbilil 28:21.2 (3) Fridah Domongole 28:31.6 (4) Jennifer Chesinon 28:37.9 (5) Leah Rutto 28:46.3 (6) Sally Barsosio 29:04.6
Junior Men 8km
1. Barnabas Kosgei 24:27.2 (2) Lawrence Kiprotich 24:30.1 (3) Hosea Macharinyang 24:41.1 (4) Kibet Yegon 24:47.5 (5) Kipkemei Langat 24:50.0 (6) Barnerad Kiprop 25:01.3
Junior Women 6KM
1. Gladys Chemweno 21:03.7 (2) Jemutai Renoutukei 21:23.9 (3) Sharon Kipsang 21:28.1 (4) Salome Chepchumba 21:31.3 (5) Pamela Disoreng 21:32.9 (6) Yator Chebich 21:35.6