Justin Lagat visited the 31st NIKE Discovery Cross Country event this past weekend in Eldoret, Kenya. He sent us this story and photos this morning, and we thank Justin for his love of the sport and his enthusiasm.
“These are the runners who will comfortably be running under 1hr and 59 minutes when we retire,” one elite runner observed as young children competed in their respective race categories at the 2023 Nike Discovery Cross Country event in Eldoret that happened this weekend.
Senior women’s leading pack, photo by Justin Lagat
One of the reasons it has always been called the biggest cross-country event in Kenya is because it has different categories for children to run in. There were the 5 -7 year-olds, 8 – 10-year-olds, and 11 -14-year-olds running their respective races and distances.
It was a great atmosphere at the Eldoret Sports Club, as usual, with exciting competitions in the senior and the U20 races.
Francine Niyonsaba, photo by Justin Lagat
Immaculate Anyango defeated a stellar field that included Francine Niyonsaba, the World and Olympic silver medalist from Burundi; Cynthia Limo, the world half marathon silver medalist; and Qualine Kiprop, the All African Games’ 1500m champion, among others.
Anyango used the last lap to open up a gap on her competitors and maintained it to win the 8km race in 27:49.4. Catherine Reline was second in 28:02.3 while Christine Njoki completed the podium in 28:19.9.
The 10km senior men’s race was the highest quality and quantity. Three hundred sixty-eight men turned up for the race, the highest number of entrants in all the race categories of the day.
Weldon Langat (30:31.2), Bravin Kiprop (30:38.1), and Rhonex Kipruto (30:44.1) eventually emerged on top of the podium in the tough race ran under the scorching afternoon sun. Some notable names that finished in the top 50 positions included the former World half Marathon champion, Wilson KIprop, and the U20 World 5000m champion, Edward Zakayo.
Kiprop, a past winner of the Discovery Cross Country, was so happy to finally come back into competitive running after injuries laid him off running for some years. “I now know that I still stand a good chance to win a major race again, and I will be going back to work on my speed as I look forward to future competitions this year and next year,” said Kiprop.
Maurine Jemutai, after a three-way battle with Debora Chemutai and MIrriam Chemutai, sprinted ahead in the last 500m of the race to emerge victorious in the women’s U20 race.
Kevin Kiprop emerged victorious in the men’s U20 race beating Amos Kiprotich and Gilbert Kiprotich to 2nd and 3rd positions, respectively.