Teenage prodigy Dennis Kipruto needed a sprint kick to beat Africa Cross Country bronze medallist Henry Chirchir in Friday’s Administration Police Cross Country championships.

Kipruto, who holds both Nairobi Standard Chartered and Ndakaini Half marathon titles, triumphed in a tough race staged at the AP Training College ground in Embakasi.

Dennis Kipruto crosses the finish line during the Administration Police cross country. PHOTO: STAFFORD ONDEGO/STANDARD

He flourished in the absence of two times world marathon champion Abel Kirui and 10, 000m national champion Peter Kirui. However, not even Commonwealth Marathon champion John Kelai, could stall his cruise, as he failed to finish in the top 10.

Kipruto, who is in contention for the National cross country jackpot worth Sh250,000 having claimed second slot at the Eldoret Tuskys Cross Country and KCB Sotik race, clocked 35:28.6 to rule the day. Chirchir came in second at a time of 35:41.2, while guest runner Michael Mutai was third in 36:07.0.

Kipruto, who trains at Kapngetuny together with Boston and New York Marathon Geoffrey Mutai, said he was eyeing to make the Kenyan team to the Africa Cross Country Championships by clinching the top slots at the National Cross Country Championships set for February 18.

“I am happy with today’s win and I now want to shift focus on the national championships so that I make the team to the Africa Cross Country Championships,” said Kipruto, who also won the Kass FM Marathon last year as well as the Laikipia Half Marathon.

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A total of 150 runners started the race, but many failed to conquer the test of rising temperatures and dusty course, including 1,500m All Africa Games bronze medallist Collins Cheboi, who had enjoyed the lead in the early minutes of the race.

Kelai said: “I was using the race to keep feet and I didn’t want to push hard because I recently ran a marathon in Singapore where I finished third.”

In the women 8km race, reigning Madoka Half Marathon winner Emily Samoe was in a class of her own as she won in a time of 27:33.0. She was followed by Peninah Kigen in a time of 28:16.5, while Edna Kimaiyo was third in a time of 28:35.7.

AP Athletics Coach Samson Katam said the first six across the line will represent the force at the national event. Today Kenya Prisons hold their championships at Uhuru Gardens while Nairobi Province AK chairman Barnabas Korir said his branch will stage their event at the Telkom Grounds along Ngong Road.

By JAMES WAINDI, The Standard

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