Corporal Hellen Obiri from Laikipia Air Base fired early warning ahead of the National Cross Country when she eased to victory in the women’s race at the Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country on Friday at Thika Garrison.
Superintendent Emmanuel Kipsang from Mtongwe retained the men’s title in 29:19, beating Frankline Keiotany from LAB to second in 29:20.0.
Obiri was simply in a class of her own to win the race in 32 minutes and 49.08 seconds, beating Olympic champion Corporal Jemimah Sumgong to second place and reclaim the title she last won in 2014.
Sumgong, from Moi Air Base, glided home second in 33:16.9, Joslyn Jepkosgei settled third in 33:29.08 as defending champion Sheila Chepkirui finished fourth place in 33:48.01.
It was Obiri’s fourth victory in three months, having won two legs of Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series in Nairobi in November and Machakos in December before proceeding to win the Campaccio Cross Country race in Italy on January 6.
“My body is feeling great and I just can’t wait for my maiden World Cross Country,” said Obiri, who will be taking part for the first time at the National Cross Country Championships on February 18 in Nairobi. “I have never taken part at the event but I am focused.”
Gladys Cherono, winner in 2013, was fifth in 34:02.08. It was Cherono’s second race in a month, having finished fourth in Machakos, her first race since March last year. Sela Jepleting, who won in 2015, came in ninth place in 34:46.01.