African champion Alice Aprot and two-time World Indoor medallist Augustine Choge won the annual Cross Country Championships in Nairobi on Sunday.
Aprot who finished fourth in the women 10,000m at the Rio 2016 Olympics and Choge outshone stellar line-ups to complete commanding victories in the senior women and men 10km races as the build-up towards the March IAAF World Championships in Kampala, Uganda intensified.
At the Ngong Racecourse grounds in Nairobi, 2006 Commonwealth 5,000m champion Choge delivered a strong statement of intent in staking claim to a place in the decorated national team for the Kampala World Cross during the February Trials when he delivered a gun to tape victory over imposing competition at the Kenya Police meeting.
The 2005 World Cross junior silver winner led from the off but he was forced to deploy the afterburners 300m from the finish to hold off the charging Joseph Kiptum (34:14) and Toronto Marathon titleholder Philemon Rono (34:14) who took the minor podium places by only a second for the victory.
Choge, who stopped the clock at 34:13, credited the win to training together with London and Olympics champion, Eliud Kipchoge as he embarks on kick-starting a stalled career that has largely failed to deliver on the promise of his immense talent.
“My brother and mentor Kipchoge has been pushing me to do better and I was confident I would put together a good performance here today (Saturday),” the World Indoors silver (2012) and bronze (2016) medallist over 3000m told reporters.
“I believed I would have still won even if the course was a kilometre longer. I train with the best marathoners in the world and I hope to have a good performance in Uganda,” Choge added.
Fresh from winning the IAAF Cross Permit meeting in Antrim, Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui broke little sweat in racing clear from her challengers to close a dominant victory in the women’ s senior race.
Chepkoech completed the course in 35:49 well clear of Lucy Chepkorir who led the competition home in 36:11 as the 2003 IAAF World Youth silver winner in 3000m; Pascalia Chepkoech (36:18) rounded the top three.
Across town, Aprot fulfilled her favourite role to perfection in complete a dominant victory in the women 10km showdown at the Kenya Prisons Championships as she unleashed another master class in front running to crush the field in 32:49.
“I have been suffering from malaria and was not sure I could run to the finish. I want to compete at the World Cross in Uganda since the last time I went to Kampala, I had a great time,” Aprot who won bronze at the 2014 Africa Cross Country Championships held in the same city remarked. Enditem