BERLIN marathon champion, Florence Kiplagat and little-known Isaac Korir won the women and men’s senior races yesterday during the Tuskys Wareng cross country meeting in Eldoret.
Kiplagat obliterated a strong field that included former Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion, Lucy Kabuu, All Africa Games 1,500m champion Irene Jelagat and Olympic Youth 3,000m champion, Gladys Chesir.
Kiplagat clocked 26:34.5 beating Hella Kiprop, who won the year 2008 edition, to second place in 26:38.9. Kabuu completed the podium after posting 26:47.2.
Mercy Kibarus finished fourth in 27:05.9 with Sally Kipyego (27:08.1) and Irene Jelagat (27:14.9) finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Kiplagat, Kabuu and Kipyego were neck-to-neck for the better part of the race but the Berlin champion used her experience to shake off the rivals with a kilometre to go.
Kiplagat said it was hard to counter the windy mid-morning conditions at the course and this lowed down her pace. “The field is open and I was running against the wind. That slowed my pace down though the competition was very stiff,” she added.
Kiplagat, the road racing queen, said she was using the race as a build-up for the New Delhi half marathon set for December 15. “I want to keep fit for the New Delhi Half Marathon next month and that is why the local meetings are key for me,” she said.
In the men’s 12km race, Korir shook off Cleophas Ng’etich to win the title in 35:50.6 minutes. Ng’etich was timed at 36:02.2 while Clement Kemboi (36:16.3) settled for third position.
Richard Ndegwa (36:18.8), James Mureithi (36:21.6) and Cyprian Kotut (36:23.7)completed the top five places in that order. Ng’etich dictated the pace for 10km before Korir took charge and opened 100m gap.
Korir who hails from Kapenguria in Elgeyo Marakwet County, said he is eying a slot in the Team Kenya for the Africa Cross Country Championships next year in Uganda.
“I am the next king of cross country if my current form is anything to go by. I am training very hard in order to make the Kenyan team to the Africa event,” he said. Franklin Ngelel clocked 23:42.6 to win the men’s junior 8km race ahead of Dominic Chemut (23:55.3), who finished second.
Linah Cheruto won the junior women’s 6km race in 20:32.9 followed by Gloria Kite. Area MP Elisha Busienei and top athletes among them former world 800m champion, Janeth Jekosgei graced the event.