World 3000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and three-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor stood out at the National Police Service Cross Country Championships when they won the senior women and men’s 10km races at Ngong Racecourse on Friday.
Chepkoech clocked 34:35.3 to win the women’s race, ahead of Gladys Kwamboka (34:36.4) and former Commonwealth Games 5000m champion Mercy Cherono (34:39.2) in second and third place respectively.
Chepkoech, the 2019 World 3000m steeplechase champion, was elated after her latest accomplishment.
“I wouldn’t say it was a tough race…I strategized for it well, took to the front from the go and maintained the momentum until the end. I am so happy for the win; I had just returned to the country from Madrid where I had competed on New Year’s Eve (San Silvestre Vallecana 10km race) and had not trained much. All I did was simple jogging,” she said.
The 31-year-old has began the year in blazing form, from where she left off in 2022 with a third-place finish in the women’s race at the San Silvestre Vallecana 10km in Madrid on New Year’s Eve.
Chepkoech is also expected to represent the country at next month’s World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia and says she is hopeful of positive returns going forward.
“At the trials, I was suffering from pneumonia and in fact was on medication. So, I couldn’t perform as well as I wanted…but now that I am done with medication, I feel fit and motivated to do great things in 2023,” she said.
Chepkoech added: “I might run at the national championships but my ultimate focus is the world cross country. I also want to reclaim my title in the women’s 3000m steeplechase. I have struggled with a lot of injuries in the past two years including a hamstring and stress fracture and I just want to use this year to make up for lost time.”
Former world half marathon record holder Kamworor put past injury woes behind him to storm to victory in the men’s race, clocking 29:39.1.
Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medalist Daniel Simiu came second in 29:46.9 whereas Josephat Kiprotich clocked 30:43.9 to finish third.
Kamworor said the race has provided him with a clearer picture on what he needs to improve on in preparation for the World Cross Country Championships.
“It was the perfect place for me to test myself ahead of the world cross country. I’d say that I am at 80 per cent (in terms of readiness) …at the national trials (in December), I was at 60 per cent. So, it is back to the drawing board in terms of training and this means missing out on the national championships,” Kamworor, who has won four cross country titles with Kenya at the international level, said.