Japan-based athlete Alex Mutiso on Tuesday timed 24 minutes and 57.02 seconds to win men's 10km race during Kenya Pipeline Company Thange Cross-country meeting held at Maikuu Primary and Secondary School grounds in Kinyambu, Makueni County.
Patrick Mutunga came second in 25:02.2, while Jackson Kavesa took third place in 25:15.06 in the event which was marking its second edition this year.
Mutiso, who trains in Japan, said he was using the race to prepare for the forthcoming national cross country trials.
"The race was perfect way for me to prepare for the national trials and I hope to build on this performance going forward," an ecstatic Mustiso said.
Philip Mulei won men's 8km race in 20:39.04, followed by Benson Ileli (20:53:05) and Jeremiah Kianga (21:07.08) who placed second and third respectively.
Winfred Mbithe clocked 23:03.02 to win women's 8km race ahead of Nancy Nzisa (23:07.09) and Naomi Bahati (23:14.07). Mbithe said she was using the race to train for next year's Commonwealth Games.
Women's 6km title went to Benedeta Mbithe who timed 17:31.09 for victory, with Janifer Mwende (17:48.04) and Ann Mwongeli (17:52.09) second and third respectively.
Former marathon world record holder, Patrick Makau who graced the occasion, urged athletes to keep off drugs. He thanked athletes from the region for staying away from use of banned substances.
"Hopefully in future, the event will attract other athletes from across the country and abroad as we want the event to be competitive," he said.
Winners of senior men and women's races took home Sh25,000, while first and second runners-up received Sh15,000 and 10,000 respectively. The top three in the junior categories took home Sh20,000, Sh15,000 and Sh10,000 in that order. The event, organised by Athletics Kenya (AK) Southern region branch, was part of Jamhuri Day celebration in Kibwezi East.
KPC Managing Director, Joe Sang applauded the local community of Thange and the larger Makueni County for their support during the inaugural cross country races last year.
"We feel proud that we are able to carry out a sports activity that will in the long run see the transformation of young people as they develop their potential in athletics," said Sang.