Johnson Muiruri (finishes second behind Shami) in Nyahururu (O. Okoth) © Copyright
General News Nyahururu, Kenya

Qatari success again in Kenyan Cross series

Johnson Muiruri, Veronica Nyarwai and Nancy Wambui won to extend their domestic dominance and reaffirm their ambitions for a share of the Sh1m (US$12,500) Jackpot at the third Athletics Kenya Cross Country weekend meeting in Nyahururu, near Mount Kenya, some 300-km north west of capital Nairobi, today (Sat 27).

Monica Wangare was not so lucky as she lost the senior women's 8-km race to Eunice Jepkorir in a tough competition. Having won two series editions, she has to win a third race and also at the National Championships to claim a share of the Jackpot. The other three runners only need to win at the Nationals to share the money.

Nyarwai won the 6km junior women's race in 19:37, ahead of Mercy Wanjiru who was timed at 19:37. The two also finished in that order in the previous races in Nairobi and Machakos.

Wambui won a blanket finish at the end of a very tight senior women's short course race. She was followed home by Margaret Wangare and Mary Wangare, all finishing in 13:03. Henry Kipchirchir took the senior men’s short race, and Daniel Gitau the 8km Junior contest.

Mubarak Shami takes win but Muiruri continues in hunt

The highlight of the day came in the senior men's 12km race. The Kenyan-born Qatari, Mubarak Shami (who earlier in this series was reported as having taken the name, Mubarak Hussein) won in 35:02, with Johnson Muiruri second in 35:37.

It was Shami's (formerly the Kenyan Richard Yatich) second win of the series but following a decision after his first victory, a race which produced identical first and second places, his results were judged not to count towards the Jackpot because he is now a foreigner. Therefore, Muiruri’s second place today allows him to continue in the hunt for the series prize. 

Shami, who has been training in Kenya ahead of next season’s World Cross Country Championships commented, "I will return to Qatar on Monday but I will be back in Kenya for the Cross Country National Trials before heading to France for the World Cross."

The 24-year-old Qatari, who was ninth in the Lisbon Half-Marathon early this year, won the first Kenyan cross country race in Nairobi and was second in the Chekoilel University race two weeks ago behind Enock Mitei.

"These three races are enough for me for the time being. I would have won in Chepkoilel but I lost my spikes midway through the race. I will return to finalise my programme ahead of the World Cross," Shami confirmed.

Muiruri wasn't perturbed by his second place. He was also second to the Qatari at the Nairobi race and won in Machakos during the second leg.

"I am all set for a share of the Sh1 million. I am now left with only one leg (of the series), the Nationals, and then I am home and dry," confirmed a jubilant Muiruri.

The course, a natural cross country terrain, is set on the Nyahururu Golf Course and is one of the toughest in the country, with two steeplechase hurdles and six hilly sections, which left the athletes gasping for breath.

However, Shami tackled it with speed and strength in a manner that left his opponents beaten hands down.

Omulo Okoth for the IAAF



8km Junior Men
1 Daniel Gitau 23:16
2 Christopher Boit 23:20
3 Samuel Ndungu 23:27
4 John Sompol 23:38
5 Mike Kigen 23:47

4km Senior Men
1 Henry Kipchirchir 11:14
2 Joseph Kibuya 11:17
3 Mwangi Gathimba 11:20
4 Bernard Kiragu 11:22
5 Joseph Kosgei 11:33

12km Senior Men
1 Mubarak Shami (Qatar) 35:02
2 Johnson Muiruri 35:37
3 Samuel Kalia 36:17
4 Jacob Kigen 36:18
5 Kipyegon Kirui 36:22


6km Junior Women
1 Veronica Nyarwai 19:37
2 Mercy Wanjiru 19:37
3 Nelly Chebet 20:14
4 Chebet Songok 20:39
5 Catherine Wanjiru 20:55

4km Senior Women
1 Nancy Wambui 13:00.0
2 Margaret Wangare 13:00.4
3 Mary Wangare 13:07.7
4 Mary Wachuka 13:22
5 Jane Muru 13:39

8km Senior Women
1 Eunice Jepkorir 27:05
2 Monica Wangare 27:55
3 Florence Jepkurui 28:12
4 Jelliah Tinela 28:30
5 Caroline Muthoni 28:45