By Joseph Ngure

 Africa 10,000m champion Kenneth Kipkemoi launched his cross-country bid with unmatched victory in Eldoret over the weekend.

Kipkemoi, who made his first international debut during the Africa Senior Championship in Benin this year, displayed his cross-country talent by winning the senior men’s 12 km in the inaugural Eldoret Educational Resource Centre race.

He clocked 35:45.3 in the category with more than 100 participants after being flagged off by Kenyan born Dane Wilson Kipketer and going through the windy course at the institution located 6km east of Eldoret town.

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“I am now training for the World cross-country next year and today, the win has given me the message. I can run and win the cross-country world title,” said Kipkemoi, who trains at Strawburg Training camp in Kaptagat.

During the charity race, retired athletes Patrick Sang, William Mutwol and others joined upcoming runners in the gesture to aid uplift lives of needy children in the society.

Upcoming marathoner Daniel Kipkemei checked in second, timing 36:08.4, while last year’s Africa cross-country silver medalist Stephen Kiprotich of One4One Athletics club came third in 36:13.5

1,000 participants

Commonwealth 10,000m silver medalist Daniel Lamashon Salel finished fourth in 36:15.8 ahead of Victor Kipchirchir (36:27.2) during the event that attracted more than 1,000 participants spread in 10 running categories.

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In senior women, cross-country jackpot chaser Farida Chelanga stole the show, beating Beatrice Jepkemoi in the class that assembled 57 participants.

The winner stopped the clock at 27:27.3. While trailer Jepkemoi crossed in 27:40.4 with Pricilah Lorchima sealing the podium in 27:42.5 for Bronze.

Recent discoveries Stacy Ndiwa and Eunice Chebichii finished fourth and fifth timing 27:49.3 and 27:59.3 in that order respectively.

In the junior categories, new faces made their presence felt in the men’s file, while jackpot winners maintained their cross-country mastery.

Moses Letoyie won the junior men’s 8km title in 24:03.9 and was trailed by Amos Lagat (24:11.4) and Titus Biwott (24:17.8). Christopher Kipruto and Julius Tangul timed 24:23.1 and 24:26.5 to occupy the first five slots in the race that saw 157 participants take part.

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Mercy Chebwogen, this year’s cross-country jackpot winner, was in a class of her own, taking the 6km junior women’s trophy in 21:13.5.

Brilliant Chepkorir, Edna Jepkemoi and Eralyne Jelagat arrived in that order, registering 21:15.5, 21:19.5 and 21:32.7 respectively.

Cross-country regular Vicoty Chemweno finished fifth in 21:38.4 during the occasion graced by Higher Education Minister and local Member of Parliament Prof. Maragret Kamar

The Eldoret meet signaled the beginning of cross-country season and would be followed by the third edition of Safaricom Ndalat Gaa event next month in Nandi County.

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ATHLETICS Kenneth Kipkemoi Eldoret town