Kenyans watched in dismay as a new champion trounced their athletes at the 40th edition of the IAAF Gold Label road race in Chicago on Sunday.
USA's Galen Rupp and Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia humbled renowned athletes including defending champion Abel Kirui who was a favourite to win the race.
But all was not lost
In France, Collins Chebii and Josphat Kiprono Menjo were out to bag medals.
The road seemed clear for the Kenyans after the defending champion Frenchman Mourad Amdouni withdrew from the 20km IAAF Bronze Label road race citing lack of form.
Stephan Ogari and Alfred Cherop who finished second and third respectively last year were expected to fight for the first position but Chebii, who emerged fourth then, embarrassed them.
Ogari led the pack and as the team crossed the five-kilometre mark French marathoner Hassan Chahdi took up the lead and increased the pace of the road race.
As the team crossed the 18km mark, 20-year-old Chebii sprinted off to record his first victory in the road race in 58:28.
“I’m very happy with this success. I wanted to win and I started pushing hard at the 18km. My next goal is to run a half marathon but I don’t know yet which one,” said Chebii.
Menjo came in second, six seconds later while Frenchman Florian Carvalho, who had never raced farther than 10km, crossed the finish line clocking with a time of 58:40.
Rwanda’s Felicien Muhitira clocked 58:43.
In the women’s race, Kenya’s Susan Jeptoo, a favorite in the race, destroyed Ethiopia’s dream of decorating the podium.
Jeptoo came in 14 seconds later after Ethiopia’s Gebayanesh Ayele who clocked 1:06:02.
Ethiopia’s Gudeta Bekelech and Chaltu Dida had to contend with the third and fourth positions.