Kenya: Kibet, Chepng’eno Win North Rift Cross Country

Michael Kibet and Vicoty Chepng’eno were Saturday crowned champions of Athletics Kenya North Rift Cross Country Championships at Kishaunet Showground in West Pokot County.

The event which brought together five counties namely Elgeyo-Marakwet, Samburu, West Pokot, Turkana and Trans Nzoia Counties saw a strong team selected that will represent the region during the national trials next weekend in Nairobi.

Representing his home county of West Pokot, Kibet emerged victorious in senior men’s 10km race as his team bagged the top eight positions.

Kibet and Daniel Simiu got off to a brilliant start setting a fast pace in the first lap but the latter, who already had a wild card for national championships, withdrew in the second lap as Kibet opened up a 100m gap to cruise to victory.

With an eye on Africa Cross Country Championships in Lome, Togo in March, Kibet said the course was challenging especially in the corners but he had prepared well.

The athlete who is now under the Global Sports Communication training camp in Kaptagat, clocked 30:11.68 beating Linus Kales to second in 30:20.68 with Emmanuel Rutto completing the podium in 30:31.28.

“The course was good despite the corner challenges and my training in Kaptagat has paid off. I had intensified my training to ensure that I get good results to book the national title.

“I will be eyeing a place in the national team that will be heading to the Africa Cross Country Championships where I want to win a medal for my country before I shift my focus to the Olympics Games,” said Kibet.

In senior women’s race, Chepng’eno staged an upset to beat 2017 World Cross Country champion Irene Cheptai to the title.

The duo, who train together in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County completed a 1-2 podium for Turkana County and book slots at the nationals.

Chepng’eno, who has been competing in road races in the USA, said she faced stiff competition but beating her training partner was a big plus.

“Winning in this competition will give me good results at the nationals though I know it will be a tall order. I believe in my preparations,” said Chepng’eno.

She won the title in 33:27.19 with Cheptai coming in second timing 33:54.94 before Daisy Kimeli sealed the podium in 34:44.94.

Feliciana Jepkosgei and Kelvin Kibiwott were crowned the winners in 6km and 8km junior women and men respectively.

Jepkosgei (20:46.46) from Elgeyo Marakwet defeated her teammate Zena Chemutai (21:07.29) and Sheila Chebiwott (21:33.34).

In the men’s category, Elgeyo Marakwet’s Kibiwott won in 21:10.97 ahead of teammate Timothy Kibet (24:25.50) and Turkana’s Fredrick Lomong’ode (24:28.18).

Selected results

10km senior men

1. Michael Kibet 30:11.68

2. Linus Kales 30:20.68

3. Emmanuel Rutto 30:30.93

4. Edward Kibet 30:31.26

5. Jacob Krop 30:31.28

10km senior women

1. Vicoty Chepng’eno 33:27.19

2. Irene Cheptai 33:54.19

3. Daisy Kimeli 34:44.74

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