By Joseph Ngure

Africa cross-country champion Joyce Chepkurui and the World Youth 3,000m champion launched their cross-country season with sparkling performances in Ndalat on Saturday.

Fresh from winning this year’s Family Bank Half Marathon last week, the talented runner won the senior women’s 8km with blistering finish.

Under an overcast weather, the star, also All African Games 1,500m silver medalist, pulled away from her rivals from the gun and went through the circuit to win the race in 26:01.5 and claim Sh20,000 for her effort.

“It was an easily victory for me. Nobody pushed me. I love the course and the cheering by the fans,” said Chepkurui, so far unbeaten in local races.

But she is not going to relax in her effort to win all local events as she trains her eyes on the World cross-country title next year in Poland.

During the race held at Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat home village, Beatrice Jepkemoi, hitherto unknown, and Irine Jebet, finished second and third.

Jepkemoi managed 26:37.5 after failing to narrow the gap between her and the winner while Jebet finished in 26:51.6.

In the junior women’s 6km race, Mercy Chebwogen, the reigning World Youth 3,000m champion, dethroned World Junior cross-country champion Faith Chepg’etich.

In her front-running style, Chepg’etich beat more than 150 participants and looked determined to take the title, but Chebwogen overtook her in the last 1km to win in 19:37.5.

Chepn’etich timed 19:59.0 in second, while Sheila Chepn’getich was placed third in 20:03.3.

In senior 12km, new catch Isaac Korir, who came into the limelight during the National Bank Athletics Kenya Weekend Meetings this year, claimed the title.

He clocked 34:40.4, beating Hillary Kemboi and Daniel Sale, who trailed in second and third after timing 34:52.0 and 34:58.7 in the race start off by Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.

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Joyce Chepkurui Ndalat cross-country