After winning the Athletics Kenya Cross-country series in Machakos last weekend, Selah Jepleting ended the year in style by winning the ninth edition of Shoe4Africa 5km Women’s Road Race in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
The 22-year old Jepleting, who represented Kenya at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July, braved the cold and dusty course to beat elite athletes, including 2010 Youth Olympics 3000 meters champion Gladys Chesir.
Jepleting, who finished fourth in the race in 2012, employed a bold tactic of stealthily staying behind Chesir, before surging ahead in the last 800 meters to eventually cut the tape in a personal best of 16 minutes and 44.3 seconds.
Her personal best time was 26 seconds shy of Joyce Jepkirui’s four-year old record of 16.17 set in 2011. It was her third time competing in the race, having finished ninth in 2010.
“Chesir is experienced. I stayed back and close to follow her for the better part of the race and when I realized she was a bit exhausted with only a kilometre to go, I attacked and won,” Jepleting said.
“I have run three times now and am happy following my win,” Jepleting, seventh in Glasgow and eleventh in Africa Championships 1500m, added.
Chesir, the winner of 2014 UAP Ndakaini Half Marathon, was beaten to third place by new talent Eunice Chebichii who recorded a personal best of 16.49.4. Chesir, a regular cross country runner, sealed the podium in 16.55.7.
Susan Tanui had struggled to keep up with the leading pack of four for the first three kilometres but finished fourth in 17.02.3. Alisen Ruto (17.04.8) and Angela Tanui (17.09.6) and Ivy Kibet (17.12.0) followed in that order.
The others were Esther Chemutai (17.16.8), Linet Chebet (17.18.6) and Vivian Jemutai (17.27.8).
The winner took home Sh27,000 (US$300) and the second-placed finisher Sh18,000. Prizes of Sh9,000 tickled down to the 12th finisher, while other competitors got training shoes.
Shoe4Africa Foundation founder Toby Tanser said: “We are happy the race has been growing year after year and young talents have launched their careers here and gone ahead to shine in big contests.
The foundation seeks to raise funds to help African children prosper in education and athletics.”