Newcomers Vincent Rono and Damaris Areba from Keroka won senior men and women’s races as Athletics Kenya Cross-country Series concluded on Saturday in Sotik.
The 26-year-old Rono, a pace-setter in the past two editions of New Delhi Half Marathon, clocked 28 minutes and 47.2 seconds to claim the men’s 10km race ahead of Dominic Kiptarus from Sigowet (28:28.9). Kiptarus won the Nairobi leg of the series.
Rono and Kiptarus exchanged the lead on the hilly course at Kabianga University. Rono went into the race after making his debut in the full half marathon at the CPC Loop Den Haag race in the Netherlands last year where he finished sixth in 60.52.
Kiptarus had a great season last year, winning the junior men’s 6km title at the national championships in February before finishing fourth at the World Cross Country in March in Beijing last year.
FINAL EVENT IN SERIES
This was the final of the seven events in AK Cross Series that has taken athletes to Nairobi, Embu, Nyahururu, Iten, Machakos and Kapsokwony.
“It took a lot of endurance but my kick did the work. I’m glad to have won to state my case ahead of the National Championships,” Rono, who hopes to wear Kenyan colours for the first time at the Africa Cross Country Championships on March 12 in Yaoundé, said. Season road runner Julius Kogo (individual entrant) was third in 28:51.5, followed by another road runner, Fredrick Moraga from Keroka, in 28:55.8.
Areba, 20, who made Team Kenya for the 2014 Chiba Ekiden relays, brushed aside Joyline Jepkosgei from Kenya Defence Forces to triumph in 34:07.4.
Jepkosgei timed 34:14.7, followed by Gladys Koech (Torongo) 34:19.7, Hellen Cherono (individual entrant) 34:28.5 and Kapsokwony winner Naomi Chebet 34:37.1.
World Youth 2,000m steeplechase champion Sandra Chebet (Londiani) timed 19:06.30 to win women’s 6km race. Ronald Kiprotich won junior men’s 8km race in 22:48.0, followed by Elijah Kositany 22:50.9 and Wesley Lidama 23:07.3.