Double Olympic and world 1,500metres champion Faith Chepng’etich obliterated a strong field to win the senior women’s 10 kilometres race at this year’s Sirikwa Classic World Cross Country Gold Tour at Lobo Village, Eldoret on Saturday.
Chepng’etich took charge three kilometres into the race, charging past Commonwealth 3,000m steeplechase champion Jackline Chepkoech to claim victory in 33 minutes and 50 seconds.
It’s Chepkoech, who shot to the lead at the gun for a 30 metres lead but Chepng’etich patiently waited to gradually narrow the gap before striking to lead just before the tent.
Chepng’etich, the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo 1,500m champion, would build her lead to over 600m to win beating Chepkoech, the 2022 World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion to second place in 34:52.
The 2022 World Under-20 3,000m Zenah Jemutai exchanged second position with Chepkoech before running out of gas to settle third in 35:08 as Kenyan-born Roselida Jepketer of Bahrain came fourth in 35:13.
“Ok, this victory is kind of a surprise for me being my first cross country race in six years,” said Chepng’etich, who last competed at the 2017 World Cross Country Championships in Kampala where she finished sixth in the senior women’s race, adding that the receptive fans pushed her to victory.
“The thunderous cheering really motivated and encouraged me to push on in my lonely battle at the front,” said Chepng’etich, the 2017 London and 2022 World 1,500m champion.
Chepng’etich said the race marked the start of her season as she looks forward to a fruitful year on the track where she hopes to seal her third world 1,500m victory in Budapest, Hungary in August.