Kenyan Police XC champs story, by Munene Kilongi
Defending police cross country champion Geoffrey Kipsang, ran a commanding race leading from start to finish in a time of 36.45.7 to take the Police national title for a third consecutive year.
The front running Kipsang took the lead from the 2 kilometer mark and opened the race with a gap of nearly 300 meters between him and the nearest challenger in the final lap of the 12 km men’s race.
New York City marathon champion and course record holder, Geoffrey Mutai, came in a distant second after narrowly beating a resurgent Augustine Choge in the last stretch in a time of 37.25.0 to Choge’s 37.25.3.
“Now I’m training for cross country races before I head for the Tokyo Marathon,” said Kipsang who placed third in last year’s Paris Marathon and hopes to win this year’s Tokyo event. He also plans to run the world half-marathon Championship.
Mutai who for the second year running has placed second in these championships had come to gauge his fitness.”I am still out of shape but I expect to get better. I am targeting a major marathon this year, a jackpot race,” he said.
In the women’s 8 kilometer race, Florence Kiplagat, made her intentions known when she burst out from the start and left the rest of the field trailing in her wake as they were left to compete for the second place. Kiplagat won in a time of 27.44.0. Irene Chelagat romped in a distant second in a time of 28.28.7 after overtaking Edith Chelimo (28.32.0) near the final bend.
” For now I do not see myself breaking the world record but I hope to go to the London Marathon,” Kiplagat said. With her confidence on a high, Kiplagat, is also waiting for an invitation to run in the Barcelona Half-Marathon.
Police Head coach, Isaac Kirwa is optimistic about his team that has a galaxy of international stars dominating at the national finals. “Our athletes are good and now they have more time to improve for the national championships,” he said.
The Kenya police service championships were held today in preparation for the national finals to choose a team for the Africa Cross Country Championships to be held this year in Uganda and the Commonwealth games later in the year.