Embakasi’s Silas Kimutai and Pauline Muchiri from Dagoretti atoned for their last year’s defeats to reign in men 12km and women 8km races respectively during the Nairobi Cross Country Championships at Posta grounds.
The championships saw national junior champion Moses Mukono (Dagoretti) delighted with a gun-to-tape performance, taking junior men’s 8km race as Elizabeth Maithya (Makadara) tore the junior women’s field to shreds.
The 27-year-old Kimutai, who finished second last year, braved the scotching, sunny morning weather as she took control of the race with two laps to go to triumph in 32 minutes 44.6 seconds.
James Maina (Dagoretti) settled second in 32:58.3 with Nelson Kogei going for bronze in 33:23.0. Elphas Langat (Westlands) 33:25.7 and Geoffrey Korir (Njiru) followed 33:30.0 to wrap up the top five vanguard.
Maina, who is a brother to the 2000 World 10,000m champion Charles Kamathi, stayed neck-to-neck with Kimutai after the pair broke from a five-man pack after only three kilometres. It was until after 10 kilometres that Kimutai stepped on his gas pedal to surge ahead, leaving Maina to win by a margin of 20m.
“I had to plough to the front after staying behind in the first 2km. Nobody was ready to challenge save for Maina but I eased off to an easy victory despite the humid conditions,” said Kimutai, who dreams of similar exploits at the nationals due on February 15 at the Ngong Racecourse.
It’s during the nationals that the Kenya team for the Africa Cross Country Championships due March 16 will be selected. “I didn’t make it to the nationals last year after I got a tendon injury but I am confident this time around,” explained Kimutai, who is based Ngong.
MADE INTENTIONS OBVIOUS
After a fourth place finish last year, Muchiri, made her intentions obvious as she hit the front after the third kilometre. The 24-year-old, who was placed second at last year’s Boston Half Marathon, took 25:20.2 to win the women’s race, beating Joyce Chemutai (Langata) 25:28.3 and Jane Murage (Makadara) 25:34.3.
“I upped the tempo when I realised nobody wanted to hit the front,” said Muchiri, who is eying a place in the national team for Africa Cross.
Mukono, who represented Kenya at the 2013 World Cross Country Championships in Poland, was sublime in his execution, winning in 21:00.1. Mukono’s teammates Elvis Cheboi 21:03.3 and Andrew Loret 21:32.2 would follow.
The 19-year-old Mukono would declare his intentions to defend his national title before shifting his focus to Africa Cross in Uganda. “I want to graduate to the senior ranks in style by winning World Junior 5,000m title in April next month,” said Mukono.
Maithya literary toyed around with her rivals.
before taking a burst to win in 18:52.3 as Rosemary Mumo (Langata) and Nancy Chesang (Langata) settled second and third in 19:04.2 and 19:25.1 respectively.
Men’s 12km: 1. Silas Kimutai (Embakasi) 32:44.8, 2. James Maina (Dagoretti) 32:58.3, 3. Nelson Kogei (Langata) 33:23.0, 4. Elphas Langat(Westlands) 33:25.7, 5. Geoffrey Korir (Njiru) 33:30.0, 6. Abel Rop (Langata) 33:41.6, 7. Hillary Yego (STarehe) 33:46.6, 8. William Nguruabe (Makadara) 33:66.0, 9. Barnard Mureithi (Dagoretti) 34:03.2, 10. David Kiplimo (Westlands) 34:04.5
Women’s 8km: 1. Pauline Muchiri