Cheruiyot and Kipkoech wear crowns: Breeze along forest stretch offered athletes perfect conditions

Lucy Cheruiyot crosses the finish line during the 2017 Baringo Half Marathon on November 18, 2017.[Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

Newcomers emerge, top guns fail to impress at Lotto Baringo Half Marathon.

Little-known Isaiah Kipkoech and Lucy Cheruiyot yesterday upstaged classy line ups to win the Lotto Baringo Half Marathon in Kabarnet.

Cheruiyot, who is fresh from winning Valencia Half Marathon, strutted her stuff to win the race in 72.19. She shot to the front at the five-kilometre point and stepped on the gas pedal to victory. Naomi Chebet (72.12), Joy Kimuma (72.52), Maureen Jepkemoi (74.0) sealed the top five spots.

Cheruiyot said she used the contest as a dress rehearsal for 2018 Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) 21km race in United Emirates in February.

“I enjoyed the race, especially the morning breeze at Ossen Forest. I never felt the tedious hilly conditions as I train in Kapng’etuny in Uasin Gishu County, which has similar topographical settings,” Cheruiyot said.

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In the men’s front, Kipkoech defended his title in 61.47. It was not easy for him as runner-up Isaac Kibet (61.54) kept a close tab until the home stretch. Sammy Kiprono was third in 62.02 ahead of Ezra Sang (62.12) and Donald Mitei (62.42).

Shadrack Kiplagat (62.54), Abel Kipkemboi (63.10) and seven-time world cross country runner Hosea Mwok Macharinyang (63.15) followed.

Kipkoech, who won Madoka Half Marathon last month, said the hilly course was tough and he used it to prepare for other races that will earn him a spot in the team 21st Commonwealth Games Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, in April.

Sports Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia, Baringo Central MP Joshua Kandie, NOC-K President Paul Tergat, London Marathon winner Mary Keitany and AK chief Jack Tuwei attended.

“I will strive to make the team to the Commonwealth Games in Australia. I want to run the 10,000m race during trials and ensure I make the team,” the Kericho-based athlete said.

Former world under-18 steeplechase silver medalist Sandrafelis Chebet chalked up women’s 10km victory in 33.11.

Dorcas Jepchirchir (33.50) and Caroline Jepkemoi (34.09) emerged second and third, respectively, as Nancy Kirop (34:15) finished fourth and Beatrice Chebet (34:26) was fifth.

Vincent Kiprotich won the men’s 10km race in 29:18 ahead of Bernard Kimeli (29:32) and Emmanuel Bor (29:38). Stephen Chesang (29:41) was fourth and Robert Kipchirchir (29:42) was fifth.

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