LITTLE-known Hosea Nailel from West Pokot clocked 62.32.5 to win the Safaricom Baringo Half Marathon yesterday in Kabarnet. Nailel was followed closely by Jackson Limo, who placed second after posting 62:38.3 with Kenneth Kipkemoi third in 62:42.5.
Peter Kosgei (62:49.5), David Maru (62:53.0) and Gilbert Maina (62:55.0) completed the top six places in that order. Nailel and Limo stuck with the leading pack of about ten athletes until the 6km mark before breaking away.
The two ran neck-to-neck for the better part of the race, occasionally exchanging their lead in the race which started at Kabartonjo and ended in Kabarnet town. With 100m to go, Nailel still had a lot in his reservoir and shocked his opponent with a killer sprint that saw him win the title.
"The battle was hard considering everybody was in good shape. I was about to give in to Limo but it downed on me that he could be thinking the same in my favour hence decided to go for it," Naile said.
In the women's category, the world cross country runner Philomena Cheyech carried the day in 71:15.3 minutes, beating Margaret Akai to second place in 73:13.2.
Beatrice Cherop finished third in 74:05.6 while Elizabeth Chepng'eno (74:07.3), Florence Chepterbon (74:35.6) and Lina Jeruto(74:40.2) closed the top six places.
It was rather an easy win for Cheyech, who looked confident all the way. She stuck with the leading pack until the 13km mark before breaking away alongside Akai and Cherop. However, she did not stay long with the two as she engaged another gear with 5km to go, leaving no doubt about her current form.
Cheyech, who finished 8th at the 2009 World Half Marathon, said she will use the AK/KCB cross country meets to gauge a performances ahead of next year's World Cross Country Championships.
"My aim is to make the team to the World Cross Country Championships in Poland next year. I want to take part in at least four cross country meets in a bid to build-up my form," said Cheyech, who finished second at this year's Family Bank Half Marathon.