Kasait floors Chebet as Koech, Jepkosgei soar in Nyahururu
Africa Cross fifth finisher Geoffrey Koech and half-marathoner Joyceline Jepkosgei soared to the men and women senior 10km titles during the third Athletics Kenya (AK) National Cross Country Series meeting in Nyahururu on Saturday.
Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, the 2013 World Youth and 2014 World Junior silver winner beat 2015 World Youth silver winner, Sandrafelis Chebet who won in Nairobi during the star-studded showdown in the women 6km junior contest.
Nicholas Chelule edged a three pronged battle for victory in the men junior 8km race.
Koech who finished third last weekend in Kilgoris prevailed here under the cold and windy wet weather to clock 29:10 for victory ahead of his training partner Vincent Rono who stopped the timer at 29:14 with Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) runner Franklin Ng’elei of Laikipia Air Base following closely for third in 29:15.
“The race was good but the rain and wind made the condition a bit challenging but I am used to such weather.” Koech told Citizen Digital.
It was a battle of the titans in the senior women’s category between Jepkosgei of KDF and Beatrice Mutai of Laikipia.
With two laps to go, Mutai threatened to run away with the title and Jepkosgei had to prove her supremacy as they run shoulder to shoulder with adrenaline pumping.
Mutai took lead briefly but Jepkosgei reeled her in to take lead the lead for good and breast the tape in 33:20 for the honours in the corresponding women senior race with Mutai holding on for second in 33:37.
African 5000m champion Sheila Chepkirui rounded the podium in 33:49 ahead of home favourite and former world junior champion, Veronica Nyaruai (34:07) came home just outside with Nelly Cheptoo (34:15) and Beatrice Chepkoech (34:29) completing the top six.
Kasait who hails from West Pokot turned the tables on Chebet by uncorking a 19:38 performance against 19:44 from her closest challenger by deploying a sprint for the finish in the closing metres of the race.
Behind the favourite pair in the junior women 6km contest, fast finishing Edna Jeptoo came third in 19:50 having had an interest in proceedings until the last 500m when the superior finishing of her more illustrious competitors told.
In the men junior contest, Chelule ran 23:26 for the win with Daniel Kipchumba (23:29) and Vincent Ng’etich (23:35) were forced to settle for the minor podium places.
Kibiwott Kandie (23:36), Denis Kemboi (23.38) and Vincent Raimoi (23:41) sealed the top six.
-Additional reporting by Charity Wanja
Senior men 10km
- Geoffrey Koech 29:10
- Vincent Rono 29:14.
- Franklin Ng’elei 29:15
Senior women 10km
- Joyceline Jepkosgei 33:20
- Beatrice Mutai 33:37
- Sheila chepkurui 33:49
Junior men 8km
- Nicholas Chelule 23:26
- Daniel Kipchumba 23:29
- Vincent Ngetich 23:35
Junior women 6km
- Lilian Kasait 20:13
- Sadra Chebet 19:44
- Edna Jeptoo 19:50
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