Wilson KIprop and Priscah Jeptoo Emerge winners at Nike Discover Kenya XC, by Justin Lagat

Wilson Kiprop duking it out with Bedan Karoki, 
photo by Justin Lagat

Priscah Jeptoo wins Prisons XC, photo by Justin Lagat

Justin Lagat wrote this piece on Saturday, January 25, 2014, about the Nike Discovery Kenya Cross Country race held in Eldoret, Kenya. The pictures of the event are also by Justin Lagat.  
January 26, 2014, Eldoret, Kenya

Wilson Kiprop and Priscah Jeptoo Emerge winners at Nike Discovery Kenya Cross Country, by Justin Lagat

The 10km senior men's race today at sports club Eldoret was simply amazing. It was one of the most grueling battles I have ever seen and one that I will live to remember for a very long time. It would only seem like Wilson Kiprop and Bedan Karoki had both sworn to win this race, judging from the way they both ran, but given that the winner had to be one person, it was Wilson Kiprop who managed to hold on fast up to the finish line.

The start of the race was fast and furious. I have attended many cross country events here in Kenya and have observed how Asbel Kiprop, the 1500m world champion, starts his races and what each start means. Today, he flew ahead of the field and opened up a 50m gap, followed closely by other middle distance runners that included his usual pace makers during the IAAF Diamond League races and I immediately knew he wasn't going to finish this particular race. Sure enough, he was swallowed up by the chasers after about 3km and he soon dropped out.

Des Davila in Kenya.jpg
Des Davila watching a cross country race, 
by Justin Lagat

Coming towards the 4th kilometer mark, the real contenders finally appeared in the leading pack. They included Bedan Karoki, Isaac Korir, Joseph Kiplimo, Wilson Kiprop and Stanley Biwot, among others. But after another 2km lap, only four athletes remained in the lead before Wilson Kiprop and Bedan Karoki finally broke away from the rest charging the crowds with a lot of excitement.

Wilson stayed slightly ahead, but whenever he tried to pull himself away, Karoki would react and close the gap. The last 2km was a very long sprint as Kiprop tried to shake Karoki off before they could approach the last kilometer, but the later just kept his ground behind him. The crowd went wild cheering, some supported Bedan, and others supported Kiprop while the rest were just excited by the intense moment when it was not easy to guess who was going to win. The crowd could hardly be contained as the two athletes reached the last 500m. Fans started to run amok and jumped the barriers as they ran along and behind the two athletes cheering. I could hear the announcer over the microphone reminding the fans that there were still other athletes running behind, and that the field should be left orderly, but all was seemingly falling on deaf ears as some tapes were already getting destroyed by people rushing to watch the ending of the race.

With about 50m to go, they were still shoulder to shoulder. Shouts and screams rented the air as Kiprop finally managed a strong sprint that separated them by a close margin. He crossed the finish line, followed the finish tunnel almost to the end, then supported himself with the sticks that held the tapes and looked back at where he came from, in awe. Bedan Karoki had also passed the finish line and was leaning on a post too as they looked at each other. For a moment, I thought there were both going to collapse. The whole place suddenly felt silent as though a storm had just passed. The rest of the athletes began to arrive.

Wilson KIprop in finishing chutes, 
photo by Justin Lagat

The senior women's race too contained a strong field with Priscah Jeptoo and Rita Jeptoo being the favorites to win.

 It was Rita who had taken an early lead around the first 2km, but a very strong squad was just behind her. Priscah was just behind this strong squad and kept on moving to the front slowly by slowly until she was the one in the lead. She began to open a gap with 2km to go and Jemima Sumgong followed as Rita slowly began to lose some ground in third place, almost getting overtaken by a junior athlete towards the finish line. 

Priscah Jeptoo won the race comfortably.

Below are the results;

10km senior men:
1. Wilson KIPROP 
2. Bedan KAROKI 
3. Stanley BIWOTT 
4. Joseph KIPLIMO 
5. Isaac K. KORIR 
7. Daniel KIPTOO 
8. Cyprian KOTUT 
9. Julius KOGO 
10. Philemon RONO

6km senior women:

1.Priscah JEPTOO 
2. Jemima SUMGONG
3. Rita JEPTOO 
4. Margaret CHELIMO 
5. Gladys YATOR
6. Georgina RONO

8km junior boys:

1. Emmanuel KIPRONO
2. Alfred BARGACH
3. James MWANGI 
4. Nicholas KOSIMBEI 
5. Reuben KEMBOI 
6. Edwin KOSGEI 

6km junior girls:

1. Lilian KASAIT 
2. Caroline CHEPKOECH 
3. Miriam MUTHONI
4. Susan WAIRIMU

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