Kimeli, Kite cream of Iten Cross Country race
Mathew Kipkorir Kimeli and Gloria Kite won the 10km senior men and women races respectively in the Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series in Iten grounds, Elgeyo Marakwet County on Saturday.
Kimeli hit the tape in 28 minutes and 57 seconds to take home the crown in the men race, while Kite clocked 33.11, ahead of Chebet Kiplagat who came in second clocking 33.20. Norah Cherutoh finished third clocking 34.07
Kite ran an energy filled race dominating from the start to finish crossing the line in impeccable fashion.
At the same time, Iten town came to a standstill as the senior and junior athletes brought an unusual excitement as the fourth Athletics Kenya Series was held at the famous Iten grounds known for producing top athletes in the Elgeyo Marakwet County.
The number of athletes who turned up for the event was similarly puzzling. As compared to other AK meets, more than 45 athletes participated in the junior women race, while more than 150 turned up in the junior men race.
First to open the event was the 6km junior women race where Mercy Chepkorir from Londiani emerged the winner after clocking 19.56 ahead of Josephine Chelagat who finished second in a time of 20.06, as Violah Chepkurui settled for the third spot with a time of 20.14.
In the 8 km junior men, Ronex Kipruto crossed the finish line first in 22.41, ahead of Michael Bett, who clocked 22.53 to finish second, as Edwin Kiplagat came in third in a time of 23.02.
In the men 10km, Kimeli dethroned last year’s winner Emmanuel Kipsang to cut the finish tape first clocking 28.57, with Erick Kiptanui finishing a distant second in 29.07. Daniel Kipchumba came third, clocking 29.10.
Kimeli attributed his win to a tactical approach. He said: “The race was good. I realised that the pace was slow which made me raise the tempo and that made it easy for me.”
The 19-year old who trains at the St Patrick in Iten also revealed that he now eyes 10,000m slot in the next years Commonwealth Games slated for Gold Coast, Australia in April.
“I hope to continue with the upcoming series because my aim is to get a chance in next year’s Commonwealth Games and if I also get an opportunity for the Africa Cross Country then it will be a good outing for me also,” added Kimeli.
In the corresponding women race, Kite carried the after dominating in the race from the start, shrugging off a tough challenge from Chebet Ngetich to finish in a time of 33.11minutes, ahead of Ngetich, while Norah Cheruto finished third, clocking 34.07.
Kite revealed that he had practised hard for the race as they were not ready to relinquish the title on home soil, adding that she will be training for either 1,500m or 5,000m for the Commonwealth Games.
“I had prepared well for the race because we could not afford to lose at home, I am targeting the Africa Cross Country Championships,” added Kite.
Athletes from other countries such as India and Cameroon were present too with the three-time 1,500m Champion Asbel Kiprop also participating in the senior men race
The series now heads to Kapsokwony in Bungoma County on January 6, 2018.
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