Bett wins Iten cross country

Leonard Bet from Bomet County celebrates after winning AK Cross Country race in Iten Elgeyo Marakwet Country yesterday. 04.01.2020. PHOTOS BY PETER OCHIENG/STANDARD

World Junior Under-20 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist Leonard Bett and former world junior runner Betty Chepkemboi are the winners of the Iten Premium cross country.

The race held yesterday at Iten Sports Ground in Elgeyo Marakwet County is the fifth and last leg of Athletics Kenya Cross country Championships.

After graduating into the senior ranks, Bett, who is also the World Under-18 2,000m champion faced stiff competition from the in-form Daniel Simiu, who last weekend ran the 2019 Corrida De Houilles 10km Road race in a course record of 27:12 and Abel Kipsang.

Bett took his time before unleashing his kick in the last corner to bag the title in 28:06.1 and get his win after unsuccessfully launching his senior career at the cross country season opener in Machakos by finishing third.

“This is my year of graduation after I raced in Machakos last year. I am doing this in preparation for the Africa Cross country as well as the Olympic Games.

“It was a challenging race because my opponent Simiu is strong but I thank God I have made it,” Bett said.

Bett chased the leading park of Simiu, Kipsang and Erick Tirop who finished second, third and fourth in 28:13.2, 28:17.8 and 28:25.2 respectively.

In the 10km women race, Chepkemoi, who finished sixth at last year's World Cross Country Championships defeated experienced runners like Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei, Monica Chirchir and Dorcas Kimeli.

Chepkemoi, who stepped into the lead with just two kilometers, kept a high tempo to win the title in 32:14.9 as she plans to make the cut in Kenya’s team for both Africa cross country in Lome, Togo and Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.     

She improved on her second position ran in Ol Kalau meeting a fortnight ago.

“I thank God for winning this race today," she said.