Naples Half Marathon great Kiprono Kurgat and two-time Berlin Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat on Sunday ran away with the senior race titles at the sixth and final AK/KCB Cross Country series meet at the Eldoret Polytechnic ground.
However, the series jackpot winners were not immediately announced with Athletic Kenya saying they needed to compile all the data first and would declare the victors later this week.
The end of the series now paves the way for the Police, Kenya Defence Forces meets before trials for the second Africa Cross Championships slated for March 16 in Uganda.
SENIOR MEN'S RACE
In the 12km senior men’s race on Sunday, Kurgat braved the hard, hilly grass course and high temperatures to finally come top of a stellar cast of runners that included New York Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai.
Kurgat, a North Carolina-based athlete, who trains in Kapsabet under three-time Boston Marathon champion Ibrahim Hussein, stopped the timer at 35:13.90 minutes, trailed by Julius Kogo in 35:25.40 minutes and Charles Chebet 35:39.50 minutes.
The 22-year-old Kurgat said the course was hard and the climbs in it proved a big challenge that lowered his pace and endurance, but it was a good ground to launch the road race season.
Kiplagat proved she is still a women’s cross country force to reckon with when she romped to victory in 26:23.9 minutes, daylights ahead of World Cross Country finisher Beatrice Mutai who clocked 26:34.4 to second, while Jepleting Busienei (26.48.6) sealed third spot in the women’s 8km senior race.
Double World Cross champ Faith Chepng’etich, (Mutai’s younger sister) recovered from a fall to finish fifth in 27:01.3.
Franklin Ng’elel, who won Tuskeys Cross Country last November, floored 200 runners to lift the 8km Junior men’s title.
Nge’lel clocked 23:16.9, while World Cross Country runner Moses Mukono managed second place in 23.21.2 while newcomer Davis Kiplagat was third in 23:23.0.
The 2012 World Cross Country Championships silver medallist Agnes Chebet stamped her promising intentions for the Africa championships when she won the 6km junior race.
Selected results: 12km senior men: 1. Kiprono Kurgat (35.13.9), 2. Julius Kogo (35.25.4), 3. Charles Chebet (35.39.5), 4. Emmanuel Bor (35.45.5), 5. Fredrick Musyoki (35.32.5), 6. Edwin Kiptoo (35.57.6).
8km senior women: 1. Florence Kiplagat (26.23.9), 2. Beatrice Mutai (26.34.4), 3. Jepleting Busienei (26.48.6), 4. Jacline Chepng’eno (26.49.5), 5. Faith Chepng’etich (27.01.3), 6. Vickoty Chepng’eno (27.13.6).
8km junior men: 1. Franklin Ng’elel (23.16.9), 2. Moses Mukono (23.21.2), 3. Davis Kiplagat (23.23.0), 4. Isaac Lang’at (23.26.9), 5. John Lang’at (23.29.4), 6. Hillary Lang’at (23.30.1).
6km junior women: 1. Agnes Chebet (20.04.45), 2. Sheila Chepng’etich (20.08.00), 3. Daisy Jepkemei (20.24.1), 4. Lillian Kasait (20.32.5), 5. Nancy Nzia (20.37.0), 6. Linah Cheruto 20.40.6.