World Cross Country silver medallist Alice Aprot eased to her third consecutive victory while Cornelius Kangogo claimed his maiden crown as Kenya Prisons Service Cross Country went down on Saturday at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi.
Headquarters’ Aprot opted not to go for her typical front-running style but rather stayed in the pack for the better part of the race only hitting the front in the last lap to win the women’s 10km race in 33 minutes and 30.9 seconds.
Aprot, the Africa 10,000m champion, who represented Kenya over the distance at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2017 World Championships in London, edged out 2017 World Cross Country Under-20 bronze medallist Cellphine Chespol (Prisons Staff Training College) to second place in 34:09.2.
Former Paris Marathon champion Visiline Jepkesho (Eastern) came in third in 34:38.0.
“I am still not at my best but I hope to pick up on time for the Nationals,” said Aprot, who is looking forward to defend her Africa Cross Country title on March 17 in Chlef, Algeria. “I still have some work to do to be in great shape.” The National Cross Country Championships-cum-trials will be held February 10 at Uhuru Gardens.
Aprot said that Chepsol has great potential, having tested the senior level for the first time during the race. “She has a great future ahead in athletics,” said Aprot, who also targets a place in 10,000m team for the Commonwealth Games due April 4-15 in Gold Coast, Australia.
“It’s a good start for me this being my first race as a senior,” said Chespol, the 2015 World Under-18 2,000m steeplechase and 2016 World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase gold medallist.
Chespol, who turns 19 on March 23 this year, is still eligible to defend her World Under-18 title, but she wants to take a shot at the 3,000m steeplechase title at the Commonwealth Games.
“The Commonwealth Games come much earlier and that will be my focus," said Chepsol, who finished sixth at the World Championships last year.
Kangogo (Coast), the 2015 Africa Cross Country silver medallist, staged a gun-to-tape show, clocking 29:41.0 to win men’s 10km race, beating Africa 5,000m bronze medallist Mangata Ndiwa (Western) and Africa 10,000m silver medallist Wilfred Kimitei (North Eastern) in 29:46.7 and 30:04.2 respectively.
“This is a good victory since the battle was stiff but I had trained well,” said Kangogo, 22, who is now eying success at the nationals and continental races.
1. Cornelius Kangogo (Coast) 29:41.0, 2. Mangata Ndiwa (Western) 29:46.7, 3. Wilfred Kimitei (N/Eastern) 30:04.2, 4. Guest 30:13.8, 5. Emmanuel Ngatuny (PSTC) 30:16.7, 6. Fredrick Musyoki (Nairobi) 30:22.8, 7. Timothy Cheruiyot (PHQ) 30:23.5, 8. Oscar Kipkarat (Eastern) 30:31.4, 9. Guest 30:42/6, 10. John Mwangangi (Nyanza) 30:45.6.
1. Alice Aprot (PHQ) 33:30.9, 2. Cellphine Chespol (PSTC) 34:09.2, 3. Visiline Jepkesho (Eastern) 34:38.0, 4. Caroline Biwott (PSTC) 34:42.0, 5. Nancy Nzisa (N/ Eastern) 34:49.3, 6. Guest 35:49.6, 7. Catherine Syokau (Nairobi) 35:49.6,
8. Nancy KImaiyo (Nyanza) 35:58.6, 9. Pauline Wangui (Western) 36:10.8, 10. Mercyline Ondiek (36:20.7)