Upstarts Timothy Kiptoo and Phanancier Jemutai won the senior races in the fourth leg of Kenya Commercial Bank and Athletics Kenya Cross Country series in Mount Elgon on Saturday.
Homegirl Jemutai, the Chepkoilel meeting winner, stunned a stellar line-up in the women’s senior race, winning it in 29 minutes 30.1 seconds.
She was ahead of World Junior 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Purity Cherotich (30:49.5) and Elizabeth Chemutai (31:10.1).
Former World Junior 3,000m and 5,000m champion Beatrice Chepchumba (31:25.0) faded to sixth-place.
World Cross runner Alice Aprot and new talent Leonard Barsoton also shone in the junior races at the windswept Kapsokwony High School course.
Kiptoo, second in Chepkoilel two weeks ago, beat former World Cross silver medallist Titus Mbishe as he made his intentions for next year’s Africa Cross Country gala in Cape Town clear.
The prison warder pulled away from the leading pack halfway through the race with homeboy Mbishei and upcoming athlete Abraham Tanui in tow.
Dominated leader board
Having dominated the leader board at last season’s jackpot race, Kiptoo, also second in Utrech, the Netherlands, this year, produced a solid run to win in 38:38.54.
Mbishei (39:11.9), Tanui (39:24.5) and Stephen Arita (39:32.5) followed.
He said: “I now plan to race in the Kisii meeting to battle series leader Nicholas Togom. I want to win the jackpot this time.”
Barsoton (25:16.7) won the men’s 8km race ahead of new catch Justine Cheruiyot (25:22.1), World Youth 2,000m steeplechase silver medallist Gilbert Kirui (25:36.3) and Isaac Lang’at (25:50.1).
“I feel good winning at home and this has raised my hopes of winning the jackpot,” said Jemutai, an alumnus of the nearby Kibuk Girls High School who trains with her rural home neighbour and World silver medallist Linet Masai in Iten.
Aprot, a younger sister of former World Cross champion Joseph Ebuya, won the 6km race in 21:56.0 ahead of Ever Cherono (22:12.3) and Eastern Africa Youth 1,500m champion Sheilla Chepng’etich (22:29.1).