Kamworor stunned! Amos Kirui wins National Cross Country title

IN SUMMARY
  • Kamworor is likely to get a wild card to the event in Denmark.

South Rift’s Amos Kirui stunned a star-studded field that included the World Cross Country Championships champion Geoffrey Kamworor to win the senior men’s 10km race in the National Cross Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club on Saturday.

Deputy President William Ruto made it just in time for the eagerly awaited men’s showdown for a ticket to the World event set for March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark.

Deputy President William Ruto (left) and Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok (right) during the Lotto/Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club on February 23, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Deputy President William Ruto (left) and Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok (right) during the Lotto/Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club on February 23, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

South Rift's Amos Kirui speaks to the press after winning the senior men's 10km race in the Lotto/Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club on February 23, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

South Rift’s Amos Kirui speaks to the press after winning the senior men’s 10km race in the Lotto/Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club on February 23, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kirui clocked 29:50.5 to cut the tape first before the disbelieving eyes at packed Eldoret Sports Club with Evans Keitany second in 29:57.4 while Rodgers Kwemoi settled third in 29:59.3.

It was a tough battle in the senior men’s 10km after the leading group stack together for the first three laps.

Rhonex Kipruto later took control of the race exchanging leads with defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor and Rodgers Kwemoi.

Japan-based Keitany and World Cross Country bronze medallist in the junior category Richard Kimunyan were in tow trying to close the gap.

Geoffrey Kamworor (left) and other athletes clear obstacles during the senior men 10km race in the Lotto/Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club on February 23, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Geoffrey Kamworor (left) and other athletes clear obstacles during the senior men 10km race in the Lotto/Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club on February 23, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kirui told Nation Sport that he had trained for the race for the last four months.

“It wasn’t an easy race but I’m happy my strategy worked. I respect Kamworor he is our role model and that is why I wanted to stick to the leading pack,” said Kirui.

Keitany said he is going to sharpen his skills ahead of the World Cross Country Championships.

“It was tough and I had to put my best to get a slot in the national team,” said Keitany.

Richard Kimunyan, Geoffrey Kamworor and Rhonex Kipruto were in fourth, fifth and sixth.

Dutchman Gert Brienne, a long-serving KLM cargo pilot, was allowed to run alongside the teams at the Eldoret Sports Club, largely thanks to his love for Kenyan athletics. Brienne, nicknamed “Rubani Mkimbiaji” (running pilot) was running in the famous Kenyan singlet, with bib number 367, as a sign of respect to the home of champions.

Dutchman Gert Brienne, a long-serving KLM cargo pilot, competes during the senior men 10km race in the Lotto/Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club on February 23, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Dutchman Gert Brienne, a long-serving KLM cargo pilot, competes during the senior men 10km race in the Lotto/Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club on February 23, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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