Kenya’s party started in the junior races where both their men’s and women’s teams racked up perfect 10-point scores by taking the top four spots in each race. Mercy Cherono, last year’s silver medallist, won the junior women’s 6 km individual title, and teammates Purity Cherotich and Esther Chemtai won the silver and bronze medals, respectively. Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku, the 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships silver medalist at 1500m, won the men’s junior 8 km title followed by teammates Clement Kiprono Langat and Japhet Kipyegon Korir.
Emily Chebet Muge was a surprise winner for Kenya in the women’s senior 8 km race, prevailing over the Race Results Weekly’s 2009 Runner of the Year, Linet Masai in the final sprint by one second. Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu got the bronze, and her teammate, three-time World Cross individual gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba, finished fourth. The Kenyan women went 1-2-5-6 to score a scant 14 points and take the team title. Ethiopia was second with 22 points and the USA, led by national champion Shalane Flanagan in 12th place, got third with 76 points.
The Kenyan team faced their strongest opposition in the men’s senior 12 km race, but still came out on top. Joseph Ebuya won the men’s individual title by a relatively comfortable 6 seconds over Teklemariam Medhin of Eritrea. Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro, last year’s silver medalist, finished another four seconds back. Defending champion Gebre Gebremariam, who was asked by his federation only one week ago to compete, finished tenth. The Kenyan men scored 20 points to win easily the gold by 26 points over Eritrea. Ethiopia was third with 69 points.
Individual winners in the senior men’s and women’s races earned $30,000, and the top senior teams received $20,000.