At 29, Kiplimo Kimutai doesn’t have many years ahead on the track, but he has not given up the hope of representing his country at the African Athletics Championship in July in Nairobi.
It was, therefore, little wonder that he stunned top names, including world cross country champion Joseph Ebuya, world military champion Mark Kiptoo, Vincent Chepkok and others to win the men’s 10,000 metres race on the first day of the Armed Forces Athletics Championship at the Nyayo National Stadium on Friday.
Kimutai, running for the Laikipia Air Base, took the lead after just 16 laps and help on gallantly to claim the victory in 28 minutes, 25.5 seconds which is within the required 28.38.00 set for the African Championship from July 28 to August 1.
“It was good to run against such classy field and emerge a winner. I never knew that I would win, but I wanted to run a faster time and I have achieved just that,” he said.
Now, there is the small matter of securing himself a slot in the Kenyan team.
With other discipline forces yet to do their championship and the provinces all waiting for the national trials, Kimutai is relishing the challenge as he seeks to run before his own fans at home to prove his worthiness.
William Chebon of Moi Air Base was second having escorted Kimutai for the last eight laps but failed to make the required sprint for the win.
He clocked 28:26.4 to edge out Kiprono Menjo, who was timed at 28:32.5, while Kiptoo had to settle for the fourth slot with 28:37.4, ahead of Shadrack Kosgei 28:43.8 and Barnabas Kosgei 28:48.3.
“It was not bad for me having just recovered from a bout of malaria a week ago. I want to see how my body will react before confirming my participation in the 5,000m race,” said Kiptoo.
In the women’s race, Lineth Chepkurui, fresh from setting a new world 12km record in San Francisco of 38 minutes and 07 seconds, reaffirmed her top form in winning the 10,000m race in a time of 33:50.2 to beat Ines Chenonges 33:52.3 and Sharon Chemutai 33:54.3. Peninah Arusei was the fourth finisher in 33:58.3.
“My time was slow but I am not concerned because I have already hit the required Africa qualifying time,” she said.
Another top performance was registered by Olympic 1,500m champion Nancy Jebet Lagat.
After her top performance in Doha during the Diamond League, Lagat seems to have got the right formula as she chalked up her second victory in as many attempts over the four lap race.
Lagat won her race in a slow time of 4:29.6 mainly because it was a semi-final race and that she lacked the competition and push required to better her time.
Field events record
Alice Waithera was the second in 4:30.3 while Jeruto Kiptum, the 2005 Helsinki, Finland bronze medallist over the 3,000m steeplechase distance was third in 4:31.8.
Gideon Gathimba won the men 1,500m first semi final race in 3:40.2 ahead of David Mukhalia 3:41.3 and Nicholas Melly 3:42.3 while Gabrier Lesegt was fourth in 3:42.6.
But it was the field events that saw a record tumble.
Janet Chepchumba won the pole vault clearing a height of 2:50 metres to set a new national record.
The previous record of national record of 2:40 metres was set in 2001 by Grace Chelengat while the Armed Forces record was help previously by Monica Lagat at 2:20 metres.