Esmi club’s Josphat Kipchirchir started off his track season on a high by winning the 10,000m race during the first Athletics Kenya track and field meet held at Ruring’u Stadium in Nyeri County on Saturday.
This was the first time the stadium was hosting any track and field event in 10 years after Athletics Kenya approved its use.
In cool morning weather and on a wet track, Kipchirchir maintained a good pace from the start to the end amid strong opposition to finish in 28 minutes, 56.9 seconds.
“The race was competitive and the pace was very high but I am glad that my form was able to sustain the pressure to the end,” he said.
He added that his aim was also to gauge his speed and endurance as he prepares for more road races abroad in the coming months.
Seconds behind him was Afred Barkach of Moi Air Base in 28 minutes, 57.6 seconds as Marsabit-based Abel Mutai managed third in 29 minutes.
In the 5,000m women’s race, Iten-based Dorcas Kimeli from Run Check club impressed while winning a relatively competitive race.
By the end of the third lap, a leading pack including Mary Nyaruai of Nyahururu and Jackline Rotich controlled the pace.
Unfortunately, Rotich tripped and fell in the seventh lap but she managed to get back up and tried to catch up with her rivals but it was too tall an order.
By the bell, Kimeli paced up about five metres ahead of Nyaruai and maintained it to the end winning in 16 minutes 5.5 seconds with Nyaruai second in 16 minutes and seven seconds while Rotich came third.
In the 1,500m women finals, Nakuru-based Betty Chepkomei cruised to an easy victory clocking four minutes 25 seconds ahead of Kericho- based Josephine Chelang who posted four minutes 25.2 seconds.
The discus throw — part of the field events — attracted huge crowds that watched as participants tried to upstage each other up with long throws.
David Limo of Thika threw 47.21 metres to emerge the best as Moi Airbase’s KipKomei Charles managed 46.70 metres to come second. Benson Maina of KDF managed 46.34 for third.
In the women’s category, Kenya Police’s Rose Rakamba had the best throw of 39.11 metres as Roseline Bosibori of Kenya Prisons threw 35.69 metres for second.
Gloria Mulei of Laikipia Air Base proved the best in long jump by posting a 5.6 metre jump as Priscilla Tabuda managed second with a 5.42 metre jump.
At the same time, Athletics Kenya cancelled the 3000m steeplechase event because the water dip was broken and could not retain water.
According AK Central Region chairman David Miano, the status of the pool was a risk for runners saying that the best decision was to cancel the race.
“The attendance is encouraging and the quality of competition is good. We are impressed especially by the high turnout of athletes in the short races and field events,” said Miano.
The event concludes today with the women’s 10,000m race expected to be the highlight of the day’s track action.