World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri from Kenya Defence Forces and Kenya Police’s Emmanuel Bett ripped their respective fields apart to triumph during the second leg of Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua on Saturday.
At the same time, World Under-18 and Under-20 800m silver medallist, Lydia Jeruto proved untouchable in women’s under-20 6km race as Gideon Rono ran away with the men’s under-20 8km top honours.
Obiri, who is also the Commonwealth and Africa 5,000m champion, upheld her form from last year, to destroy the field in 33 minutes and 37.3 seconds.
Obiri, the KDF Cross Country champion, edged out former international Beatrice Mutai to second place in 33:55.4, as the 2017 World Cross Country silver medallist Alice Aprot came in third in 34:14.0.
Obiri and Aprot, the 2016 Africa Cross Country and Africa 10,000m champion, faced off for the first time in the cross country race.
Obiri affirmed her dream for the season.
“I am focused on winning the National Cross Country title on to the World Cross Country,” said Obiri, who is yet to compete at the National Cross Country or World Cross Country.
But first things first, Obiri intend to defend her KDF title on January 26, before taking shot at the National Cross Country honours on February 23 in Eldoret.
The World Cross Country is planned for March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark.
“I won’t take part in the World Indoor Tour this time just to concentrate my energies on the cross country season,” said Obiri, who will grace the fourth and final leg of the AKL Cross Country Series on January 12 in Kisii, before the KDF battle.
Bett, who won the Wareng and Kapsokwony Cross Country races last year, dominated to defend his title in 29 minutes and 45.8 seconds, beating Leonard Kirui of Keringet in 29:47.3.
Shadrack Kimutai stopped the clock in 29:50.2 to settle third.
Bett brothers – Josphat and David, the 2010 World Under 20 5,000m champion, finished fifth and sixth in 30:09.2 and 30:22.3 respectively.
Emannuel Bett now targets his second victory in Kisii before the Kenya Police Service Cross Country Championships on January 26 at the Ngong Race Course.
Rosa Torongo’s Rono clocked 23:37.4 to win the men’s junior race, beating Kelvin Biwott from Elgeyo Marakwet in 23:46.0 as Narok’s Gedion Kipketer in 23:51.5.
Jeruto, who is also from Torongo, romped home in 20:26.2 to brush aside Dolphine Omari from Keroka in 20:30.5. Torongo’s Quarline Kiprop came in third in 20:32.3.