Machakos, KenyaThe second Athletics Kenya weekend cross country meeting held 60km south of the capital Nairobi on Saturday produced some shock results in the absence of many of the most renowned Kenyans.
Those of the ‘old guard’ brave enough to make a showing were upset by young, greener eager runners who are looking forward to launching their international careers in this meeting, which was held under an overcast sky, and on a wet and muddy track at a local high school.
In the men's 4km race, Commonwealth Games 10,000 metres champion Wilberforce Talel finished fifth (10:54.7) behind the unknown David Kilimo in 10:45.5. Puis Muli, 3000m gold medallist in the 1999 World Youth Championships failed to carry home his ground advantage and finished third in 10:49.4, behind second placed Patrick Nthiwa (10:48.8).
Talel, an experienced cross country runner who clocked 10:54.7 said, "I am just beginning again after a very long and demanding season, so today's result means a lot to me as I look forward to drawing up a programme for next year. The weather was fine but I was already tired by the time I arrived here this morning from home in Eldoret some 420km away on a bumpy road."
Winner of the first weekend meeting in this category Raymond Yator, the 2000 World Junior 3000m steeplechase champion, did not show up.
Elizabeth Rumokal, second in the women’s 10km category of the first Nairobi International Marathon on November 2, won her second race of the season in the women's 8km race in 27:10.4 after steadily pulling away from unknown Anna Wabera (27:44.7) and Esther Chemtai (27:52.5) with 2km to go.
The overall find of the meeting was David Kabiru, who won the men’s 12km event on his debut in the national series cross country. Seventh at the 5000m in the World Championships trials last July, Kabiru, an unemployed lad borrowed money for his transport to get to the race from his coach David Miano. But for his winning effort, Athletics Kenya announced it will sponsor him to compete in the remaining meetings on condition he maintains his winning form. He was 20th at the 6km stage, moved to 8th 4km later and grabbed the lead at the bell from Birgen to romp home in 36:14.1.
Kabiru vowed to make the grade for the World Cross Country Championships. "With David Miano coaching me, I feel deep inside me that I have not even explored my potential.”
Miano who discovered Eric Wainaina, the Atlanta bronze and Sydney Olympics marathon silver medallist, and Simon Maina the 1998 Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion among others, predicted Kabiru will follow the same path as World 5000m champion Eliud Kipchoge who starred in the weekend meetings last season.
Nelson Kiplagat Birgen, winner in the season opener in Nairobi three weeks ago, clocked 36:22.0 and admitted he was beaten by a better man.
Winners of three meetings out of the six race series share a jackpot of US$15,000 but must also win at the final in their respective races in Eldoret on 10 January.
Peter Njenga (Daily Nation) for the IAAF
Athletics Kenya second weekend cross country meeting.
Men 12km: 1. David Kabiru (Kerugoya) 36:14.1; 2. Nelson Kiplagat (Prisons) 36:22.0; 3. Joseph Ng'ang'a (Police) 36:31.3; 4. Stanley Kibiwott (Individual) 36:31.6; 5. John Kirui (Individual) 36:33.7; 6. David Chelule (Individual) 36:41.0.
Men 4km: 1. David Kilimo (Nanyuki) 10:45.5; 2. Patrick Nthiwa (Esmi) 10:48.8; 3. Pius Muli (Machakos) 10:49.4; 4. Lucas Kibet (Prisons) 10:53.5; 5. Wilberforce Talel (Stella) 10:54.7; 6. Samuel Ndereba (Police) 10:55.4.
8 km junior men: 1. Moses Masai (Hidden Talent) 23:19.8; 2. James Mwangi (Individual) 23:20.2; 3. Ronald Kipchumba (Individual) 23:28.3; 4. Festus Langat (Bomet) 23:29.6; 5. George Kirwa (Individual) 23:51.8; 6. Nicholas Kamakya (Machakos) 23:57.7.
Women 4km: 1. Milkah Kipruto (Nanyuki) 13:11.4; 2. Mary Keitany (Hidden Talent) 13:39.1; 3. Elen Juma (Nanyuki) 13:44.8; 4. Sally Langat (Esmi) 13:52.0; 5. Lucy Njeri (Individual) 14:06.6; 6. Cecilia Nyawira (Individual) 14:36.0.
Senior 8km: 1. Elizabeth Rumokal (Nanyuki) 27:10.4; 2. Anna Wabera (Ndunyu) 27:44.7; 3. Esther Chemtai (Hidden) 27:52.4; 4. Irene Limika (Nanyuki) 27:55.5; Everlyne Kimwei (Hidden Talent) 28:23.1; 6. Maria Busienei (Esmi) 28:32.1.
Junior women: 1. Pauline Korkwony (Individual) 19:43.5; 2. Emily Chepkirui (Individual) 20:20.1; 3. Tabitha Mukami (Ndunyu) 21:07.6; 3. Nziga Wambua (Machakos) 21:19.3; 4. Mwende Katunya (Ivani) 21:27.7; 5. Katungwa Katuu (Machakos) 21:44.1; 6. Teresia Muraa (Ndunyu) 21:46.6.