World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri successfully defended her Kenya Defence Forces 10km Cross Country title at the Moi Air Base, Nairobi yesterday.
Obiri warded off competition from World Half Marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei to carry the day, timing 33:31.6 to retain the title.
In the last four kilometres, the race was left to Laikipia Air Base’s Obiri and Marsabit’s Jepkosgei in the lead. But 28 year-old’s winning kick came almost a kilometre to the tape and her close competitor (Jepkosgei) could not keep up with the speed.
Jepkosgei, 24, clocked 33:38.4 and Perine Nenkampi stopped her watch after 33:57.0 minutes for third.
Elated with her victory, Obiri said: “The strong field mounted pressure on me, and especially Jepkosgei who ran side-by-side with me. Running under such conditions, I am happy to defend my title. It became apparent to me that I could run away with the title in the last two kilometres. I knew my finishing was stronger than Jepkosgei’s.”
However, for Jepkosgei, the race was a build up for the RAK Half Mrathon set for February 9 and hopefully lower her record at the World Half Marathon slated for March 24 in Spain.
“My efforts were thwarted time and again in the late four kilometres as Obiri kept on pushing and her kick in the last lap was good,” noted the road specialist, who has opted to skip the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games for the World Half Marathon show.
The men’s race was tightly contested as Hillary Kering claimed the title in 29:34.3, beating Frankline Ngelel, who timed 29:39.8, to the second place. John Chepkwony sealed the podium positions having clocked 29:48.2. Stephen Arita and Erick Kiptanui closed the top five places with times of 29:49.7 and 29:55.3 respectively.