The 4th Premium Athletics Kenya/ Kenya Commercial Bank Weekend Cross-country took place at Nyandarua Institute of Science and Technology in Nyahururu with over 800 athletes competing.
During the race, on-form Sheila Chepng’etich and Julius Tanki continued with their cross-country winning tricks after securing their third and second Premium cross country titles with upcoming Philip Langat improving his ranking by capturing the senior men 12 kilometres crown.
Chepng’etich, who is running in the senior ranks for the first time this year, showed no respect to her former junior training mate Faith chepng’etich who could not put up with her well-calculated long strides for victory.
“I am very happy with my shape. My training is going on well in Iten during this school holidays and I hope to maintain it for the World cross-country championship next year,” said the form 3 student at Liloch secondary in Kipkelion in Kericho.
Faith, the reigning world junior champion and national 1500metre record holder, grudgingly accepted the second place completing the flat and grassy course in 26:19.7 while experienced Beatrice Mutai arrived third in 26:29.8 in the flagged off by Athletics Kenya CEO Isaac Mwangi.
Reigning world champion Emmily Chebet fought hard to finished 5th behind 4th-placed Chepleting usienei and ahead of Virginia Nyambura. Chebet timed 26:40.3 while Busienei and Nyambura arrived in 26:33.4 and 26:55.6.
Philip Langat, who finished 2nd in Iten mid last month, beat a crowded 12Km senior men’s event after a see-saw with earlier leader Emmanuel Kipsang in the last stages of the hotly contested class.
The winner, 5th during this year’s Africa cross-country championship in Uganda, hit the tape in 34 minutes and 56.8 seconds to take the top prize of Sh25,000 and declared his intention to extent the winning streak to the World championship.
“My dream is to win the world championship title in China next year. I have improved greatly after my first international cross country this year in Uganda. I will continue training hard before the national selection next year,” said Langat, 24, who trains in Kericho with cross-country sensation Paul Tanui.
His main challenger Kipsang eased in second position timing 35:14.5 after using most of his energy trying to out-do the winner. Bernard Katui and Moses Koyiak took third and fourth places in 35:22.3 and 5:24.8 with Bernard Kipkemoi and Hillary Kemboi completing the prize list in 35:36.1 and 35:44.1 in that order.
Earlier on, Sadra Chebet and iten-based Julius Tanki excelled in the junior classes, winning the 6 and 8 kilometres respectively.
Sadra, from Keringet in Nakuru, covered the three 2kilometres laps in 19:50.7. Mercy Chemutai and Pauline Eapan were second and third after clocking 20:00.2 and 20:20.0.
In junior men, Tanki repeated his Iten feat by winning the 8km in 23:04.1. Emmanuel Bett (23:05.9), Alfred Ng’eno (23:15.9), Syrins Loikore (23:16.5) and Andrew Lorot, 23:19.8 completed the first 5 places while Davis Kiplagat sealed the podium after timing 23:24.7.
The next stop for the cross country series would be the year-ender in Machakos on December 20th this month.