Sammy Nyokaye and Betty Chepngeno reigned supreme in the senior men and women's 10km races during the fourth edition of Rachuonyo Cross Country in Kendu Bay on Sunday.
The race, which marked the kick-off of this year’s athletics events in Nyanza North region, attracted athletes from Kisumu, Homa Bay, Bomet, Kericho, Nandi, Kisii and Nyamira Counties.
Thirty-year-old Nyokaye had to hold off stiff competition from his opponents as he broke away from the leading pack just few metres to the finish line to time 29 minutes and 48 seconds.
John Muranga was second in 30:05 seconds while Dennis Kiyaka came third in 30:08 seconds.
“I am very happy to win. My coach is now aware of where I can focus more on in training as I aim to improve as we prepare for the National Cross Country Championship," said Nyokaye.
In the women's event, Chepngeno from Kisumu proved too strong for her opponents, winning in 35 minutes and 20 seconds.
Nancy Kerage from Nyamira and Gloria Chepkorir from Kisii Prisons came second and third in 35:17 seconds and 36:45 seconds respectively.
The 19 -year-old Chepngeno said the win was a big morale booster to her, being the first competitive race she has featured in.
“My win did not come easy because I wake up every morning to practice," said Chepngeno.
Ezekiel Oduor from Siaya won the men's 8km race in 29:36, ahead of Elisha Otieno of Homa Bay who clocked 36:47:15 while Gerishon Aura from Kisumu claimed the third place in 37:49:20.
In the 6km race, Joyce Wamamba of Kisumu triumphed in 32:23, finishing four seconds ahead of Benter Awino from Mawego Secondary School. Witney Bosibori also from Mawego settled third in 40:02.
Following their wins, Nyokaye and Chepngeno were awarded Sh10,000 each while second and third placed athletes in both categories received Sh7,000 and Sh5,000 respectively.
The race was organised by Athletics Kenya and sponsored by the area MP Andrew Adipo and Executive Member Athletics Kenya Nairobi Branch Benjamin Njoga.
Speaking during the awards ceremony, Adipo asked the locals to take sports activities seriously.
Sammy Nyokaye (Nyamira) 29:48, John Muranga (Nyamira) 30:05, Dennis Kiyaka (Nyamira) 30: 08, Brian Nyangares (Nyamira) 30:13, Philip Kiprono (Nyamira) 30:21.
Betty Chepngeno (Kisumu) 35:20, Nancy Kerage (Nyamira) 36:17, Gloria Chepkorir (Kisii prisons) 36:45,Dolphine Nyagalla (Kisii) 36:46, Maureen Muchira (Kisii) 37:36.