World Under-20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto and Brilliant Jepkorir are the new winners of the 28th edition of Discovery Cross Country Championships held at Eldoret Sports Club on Sunday.
Kipruto clocked 30:40.3 ahead of his friend and World Under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo, who clocked 30:46.9, while Mosoriot-based Josphat Kipchirchir settled for third in 30:50.5.
The race, which is held annually, saw the upcoming athletes position themselves ahead of the national trials that will be held at the same venue next month on February 23.
Kipruto ran a brilliant race that saw him increase his pace after 4km, with Josphat Kipchirchir, Edward Zakayo, and Uganda's Moses Kibet following him closely.
The Iten-based athlete dropped the other athletes and he was left with Kipchirchir, whom they exchanged leads up to the last kilometre where Kipruto zoomed past him and led to the tape.
Kipruto said the was using the race as part of preparations for the two races ahead - Regionals which will be held in Maralal, Marsabit and the national trials for the World Cross Country Championships which will be held in Eldoret.
"The race was good but I know the real battle will be at the national trials next month. I will use the Regional Cross Country event in Maralal, Marsabit County to fine tune before we meet with other athletes on 23rd February," said Kipruto.
Kipruto added that he will be eyeing a position in the Kenyan team, where he is targeting a podium finish.
"I have a title in Africa Cross Country Championships and my focus now is to win a world title in the race. It will be an uphill task but I believe in my training," said the champion.
On his part, Zakayo said that he was expecting to win the race after good preparation back at home, but was happy with second position.
"I'm a little bit disappointed with second position but I will rectify in the next race where I want to win. It was tough and I really respect my friend Kipruto because he is good and I want to beat him when we go for the Regionals in Maralal," said Zakayo.
In the women category, Jepkorir came home in 27:36.1 ahead of Beatrice Chepkemoi, who clocked 27:42.5, while Dorcas Chepchirchir settled for third position in 27:47.9.
Jepkorir, fresh from winning the Elgeyo Marakwet County Cross Country Championships last weekend, said she was well prepared for the race and is eyeing a place in the Kenyan team for the global event.
"I was in the ninth position in World Cross Country Championships that were held in Punta Umbria, Spain. I want to work hard so that I can get a place in the Kenyan team where I want to make a name by winning," said Jepkorir.
Central Rift Cross Country Championships will be held in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County on February 9, while the North Rift Cross Country Championships shall be held in Maralal, Samburu County.
The South Rift Cross Country Championships shall be held in Londiani, Kericho County on the same date.
1. Rhonex Kipruto 30:40.3
2. Edward Zakayo 30:46.9
3. Josphat Kipchirchir 30:50.5
4. Nicholas Kipkorir 30:56.5
5. Moses Kibet 31:04.9
1. Brilliant Jepkorir 27:36.1
2. Beatrice Chepkemoi 27:42.5
3. Dorcas Chepchirchir 27:47.9
4. Valary Jemeli 27:53.2
5. Racheal Chebet 28:09.6