The race celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Written by: Steve Nearman
(c)2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
ELDORET, Kenya — Geoffrey Kipsang earned a commanding victory over a field of 386 other competitors Sunday at the 20th edition of the Discovery Kenya Cross Country Meet. Kipsang covered the flat, fast 12-kilometer course of six 2 km loops in 36 minutes 14.4 seconds, providing an 11-second cushion of victory in the men’s senior race.
The women’s senior race was much closer, as Priscah Jepleting Cherono hung on for a 1.5-second win in 27:48 over eight kilometers.
Each took home prize money of 20,000 Kenya Shillings for their triumphs (USD 247). Kipsang, 19, drew up alongside eventual runner-up Ismael Rashid after four kilometers, took the lead by six kilometers and pulled 30 meters clear by 10 kilometers. “It wasn’t tough up to 8-K,” said Kipsang, who in November was victorious at the Maasai Mara Half-Marathon in 1:03:40 after running 60:41 at the same distance in April in Nakuru at the Safaricom race. “But I knew [Rashid] and I knew I could beat him.”
Rashid finished 21 seconds behind with marathoner Albert Matebor following in third in 36:44.2. Martin Lel, the two-time ING New York City Marathon champion finished 33rd, while Asbel Kiprop, the reigning Olympic 1,500-meter gold medalist, dropped out. For Cherono, the petite 25-year-old from Eldoret, her 300-meter lead was almost completely erased by runner-up Priscah Jeptoo. “I took the lead at 6-K and I never trailed from there,” said Cherono, bronze medalist at the Osaka World Championships 5,000 meters in 2007, after finishing with a personal best time. “I knew [Jeptoo] was there. I was surprised that I ran that fast and won.”
A total of 1917 runners participated in the annual event sponsored by Nike and comprised of 10 races including the men’s and women’s senior races. The junior races were won by Abraham Kosongor in 24:14.07 over eight kilometers and by Purity Cherotich in 20:32.3 over six kilometers. The other six races pitted Kenyan youth against each other under mostly cloudy skies, light winds and temperatures in the 70s.
Numbers were down from last year’s 2,078 due in large part, according to event founder and organizer Dr. Gabriele Rosa, to the Armed Forces Championships the day before. “There were some new good athletes, some confirmation of the junior series,” Rosa explained. “The races did not have so many runners because of the police championship.”