Japan-based Alex Mutiso clocked 24 minutes 57.02 seconds to win men’s 10km race during the Kenya Pipeline Company Thange cross country in Makueni on Tuesday.
The event, which was organised by Athletics Kenya (AK) Southern region branch, formed part of the Jamhuri Day celebration in Kibwezi East.
Patrick Mutunga was second in 25:02.2 while Jackson Kavesa finished third in 25:15.06 during the second edition of the races.
The competition attracted athletes from different counties from lower Eastern after most of last year's winners failed to turn up.
Mutiso, who trains in Japan, said he was using the race as a build-up ahead of the forthcoming national cross coutry trials.
“This race is perfect preparation for the trials and I hope to build on this performance going forward,” he added.
In men’s 8km race, Philip Mulei won the race in a time of 20:39.04 as Benson Ileli (20:53:05) and Jeremiah Kianga (21:07.08) placed second and third respectively.
Winfred Mbithe clocked 23:03.02 to emerge winner in women’s 8km. Nancy Nzisa, who returned 23:07.09, finished second, while Naomi Bahati completed the podium in 23:14.07.
Mbithe said she was using the race to train for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
In women’s 6km race, Benedeta Mbithe won in 17:31.09 with Janifer Mwende (17:48.04) and Ann Mwongeli (17:52.09) finishing second and third respectively.
Former marathon world record holder, Patrick Makau who graced the occasion, urged athletes to keep off drugs as he congratulated local athletes for staying away from the doping menace.
“Hopefully in future the event will attract athletes from other parts of the country as we aim to make the event more competitive,” he said.
"If possible, we can also invite foreign athletes."
Winners in senior men and women categories won Sh25,000, while first and second runner-ups received Sh15,000 and 10,000.
The top three in junior categories pocketed Sh20,000, 15,000 and Sh10,000.
KPC managing director, Joe Sang, applauded local community for their huge support during the inaugural cross country races last year.
“It is our corporate tradition to always partner with communities who host us and our facilities through various strategies of mutual benefit,” said Sang.
"It is through such events that we help lay a foundation to budding athletes, while at the same time, encouraging them to take up sports as a way to making a living."