Hellen Obiri reclaims KDF Cross Country title

Hellen Obiri wins KDF Cross Country

World Cross Country champion Hellen Obiri celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) senior women cross country title at the Moi Air Base on January 29, 2021.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Chepkoech was second in 33:32.6 while Chepkurui clocked 33:47.0 for third place.

Hellen Obiri reclaimed her Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Cross Country title in style under the scorching sun at the Moi Air Base in Nairobi on Friday.

Obiri, who failed to defend her title last year owing to an injury, shrugged off stiff competition from Laikipia Air Base teammate Joyce Chepkoech and Thika's Sheila Chepkurui to win in 33 minutes, 25.1 seconds.

Chepkoech was second in 33:32.6 while Chepkurui clocked 33:47.0 for third place.

Thirteen teams are taking part in the one-day championship part in which top-10 runners qualified for National Cross Country next month.

After being in the lead group of around ten runners for the most part of the race, Obiri upped her pace in the final 2km lap.

Chepkemoi stayed a few strides behind, but Obiri did not relent as she cut the tape seven seconds ahead of Chepkemoi.

The 2016 Africa Cross Country silver medallist Sheila Chepkurui wound up in third spot (33:47.0).

“The race was not easy,” admitted Obiri before adding she was happy to reclaim the title and now targets to guide KDF to the national title in next month’s National Cross Country Championships at Ngong racecourse.

Obiri, who will make her debut in the half marathon in the prestigious Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates on February 19, disclosed that she will start proper preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in March.

“The only medal I’m missing is an Olympic gold which I hope to strike it in Tokyo,” she said as she disclosed that she will not compete at the Africa Cross Country in Lome, Togo in March.

Chepkurui said she is keen on going to Togo to improve on her second-place finish she registered in Cameroon in 2016. “I targeted a top-six finish at the championships and I’m happy to finish in third place. I will fight to get a ticket to represent Kenya at the Africa Cross Country in Togo where I hope to get a better medal than the silver I had in 2016,” she said.