The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Mt. Elgon Cross Unveil New Star

Magdalene won the senior women's 8km race in a time of 29 minutes52.06 seconds to gate crash the big league early in the season. Magdalene capitalised on the absence of 2010 World Cross senior women champion, Emily Chebet who has won the opening three rounds of the series in--Nyahururu, Machakos and Kisii--respectively to steal the show.

Magdalene was followed in second place by Nancy Chepkwemoi who clocked 29:55.75with Purity Cherotich third in 29:57.77. Masai, 19, who trains with her sister Linet at PACE Iten camp registered her first win in the series to make her potential prospect for gold medal at the world junior cross country championships in Poland.

AK western branch chairman, Henry Alukhaba lauded the former student of Kibuk Girls Secondary at the top of Mt. Elgon for unveiling talent glut that abounds in Mt. Elgon.

AK public relation officer Peter Angwenyi, who graced the event, said Magdalene's win left no doubt that Mt. Elgon which is the home of legendary Ben Jipcho and Shem Kororia is endowed with talents which need to be tapped.

Hosea Macharinyang Muok clocked 37:24.1 to win the senior men's 12km race. Machariyang is one of the top cross country runners in the country, having featured in a record seven world cross appearances. Hosea Nailel (37:38.0) from West Pokot and David Maru (37:40.3) finished second and third respectively.

They stunned world junior 10,000m bronze medallists Geoffrey Kirui who came fourth in 37:50.5. Peter Matelong, the winner of the Nyahururu series did not show up in Mt. Elgon.

New sensational Moses Mukono shrugged off a field of 24 athletes to win the junior men's 8km race in 24:44.90. Mukono also won the event in Kisii a week ago.

Newcomer Walter Kipkoech from Mt. Elgon was send in 24:54.48. Sheila Chepng'etich, 17, who finished sixth in the 2011, won the junior women 6km in 21:52.6, her second win this season.

Agnes Chebet, the winner of the first series and third finisher in the second and third, bettered her position to finish second in 21:53.98. Barcelona 3000m world junior champion, Mercy Chebwogen was beaten to fourth place in 22:04.73. She was, however, unperturbed with the performance and vowed to be back at the peak during national trials next February.

The series has a Sh1.2m jackpot to be shared among the four categories--senior men's 12km, senior women's 8km, junior men's 8km and junior women's 6km races.

Chepng'etich and Mukono joined Chebet as the favourites to share the jackpot following their victories ahead of the three races in Embu, Eldoret and Kericho.

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