This story, from Justin Lagat, our weekly correspondent from Kenya (who manages the Kenyanathlete.com.
This piece is about the Uasin Gishu Country XC, which was held last weekend, January 16, 2015.
Joash Kogo, photo by The Kenyan Athlete
Uasin Gishu County selects their Cross Country team ahead of the national trials next month, by Justin Lagat
"So, it is possible that when one joins a good training group and trains very well he can make a breakthrough in running!" One athletics fan wondered aloud as Joash Kogo came in to cut the tape in the senior men's race at the Uasin Gishu County cross country championships in Eldoret this weekend.
Joash, who was hardly known till after the race, beat a strong field to finally get his name entered in the list of the champions in the county. He chose the right moment, after about 3km into the race, to flee from the chasing pack and quickly built a sizeable gap before the rest of the field could respond. Lewis Korir made the race interesting in the last 2km loop as he seemed to be slowly gaining on the leader and the fans were not sure whether he was going to catch him. There were fans cheering Joash to maintain the gap and those cheering Lewis to close it. But, Joash had already made enough gap earlier on in the race to ensure that he was safely ahead and able to win the race comfortably. Lewis came in second. John Ekimat completed the podium positions.
The women's senior race was poorly attended with only eight athletes toeing the start line. Six of the athletes managed to finish the race with Doreen Cherop emerging as the winner as Caroline Jepchirchir and Susan KIplagat followed to take second and third positions respectively.
However, the disappointing number of senior women in the race can be understood given that the defense and discipline forces were also conducting their own championships elsewhere in the country and that the greater number of runners in those forces is from Uasin Gishu County. Vivian Cheruiyot, for example was out there winning the Kenya Police championships while the county championships were taking place here closer to her home.
Also, because of the fact that the venue was not advertised well in time, the number of athletes who turned up was relatively low, but more than three nationalities were present in the races. The notable ones included Benjamin Kiplagat, the Olympic 3000m steeplechase runner from Uganda and Luca Noti, an up and coming runner from Switzerland, among others.
Contrary to the senior women's, the junior women's race was fairly attended and the race was quite interesting to watch. Gloria Kite, who is being coached by Brother Colm at St. Patricks in Iten, ran sensationally to win the race far ahead of the rest of the field. Roselida Chepketer finished second and Vivian Chepkemei took third.
Two of the three boys I picked up earlier in the morning when they had no idea where the venue for the championships was, actually made the team to the regional championships in the junior men's race finishing third and sixth. Nicholas Rotich won the race followed by Rhazas Lokitam and Silas Keitany respectively.
KEN-KNIT, a local company in Eldoret town sponsored the championships. Isaac Meli, the Senator for Uasin Gishu also graced the event as one of the guests and used the occasion to heap praises on Kenyan runners saying that they are the true ambassadors of the Kenyan nation and that he will always be with the athletes in championing their rights to get the recognition and the respect they deserve.
Regional championships will take place next weekend in Eldama Ravine ahead of the trials that will happen at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi on 13thnext month.