Rono opts out of the Africa Cross country championships

By emmanuel sabuni
Feb 21, 2021
  • Philemon Rono has opted out of the Africa cross country championships.

  • Viola Chepchumba won the Eldoret 10km Charity run on Sunday.(Photo by Emmanuel Sabuni)

Philemon Rono has opted out of the Kenya team for the Africa Cross country championships in Yaoundé, Cameroon scheduled for March 12th and will instead chase honours at the First Lady Half marathon.

The Africa cross country bronze medalist, Rono finished 9th during the IAAF cross country permit/national cross country at Uhuru Gardens failing to qualify for continental show but he was shortlisted in the team after three top finishers Geoffrey Kamworor, the world cross country champion, Bedan Karoki, the world cross country silver medalist and Leonard Barsoton, the Africa cross country champion announced they will not run at the Yaoundé meeting.

The renown pace setter has feels the continental event ‘is as good as going for a holiday without payment. “In 2014, we ran very well in Uganda, sweeping the podium but this time, I will not go to Cameroon instead I have directed my energy to compete at the Beyond Zero’s campaigns for First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s 21km race,” said Rono in Eldoret.

“Even if we run at Africa cross country, we don’t earn anything. Since I won bronze, I have never been given anything by the government yet I competed for the nation. I rather run Beyond Zero race knowing I will get some money to sustain my life rather than waste time for African event,” added Rono who has paced for former world marathon recorders holder Patrick Makau and Wilson Kipsang.

“If I compare First lady half marathon with Africa crosses country there are challenges with the later, as the former has money. As an athlete, I have to compete for a race that I know I will benefit. I have put a lot of effort to win the First Lady race, which is more beneficial to me as an athlete,” argued Rono, the diminutive police officer.

But he insisted that some of the upcoming athletes can go for Africa cross to put their names on the African and world map but for established athletes they cannot manage to run the race.

“Right now am working on speed-work, loading to get endurance ahead of the race that I have directed my efforts to win the First lady but for me I will try next year to go for world cross country championships at least that has some dignity and money for athletes,” he said.  

The Chepkorio born athlete has competed in three marathons and managed a podium finish placing third at the Hamburg marathon last year.

Rono trains together with Kipchoge at Global Sports Communication in Kaptagat.

He will be joined by another road race specialist Wilfred Kimitei at the Beyond Zero race. Kimitei has been dominating local races and he wants to do well at the First Lady half marathon set for 6th March in Nairobi.

The Standard Chartered Bank 10km champion, won the Ziwa farmers 10km road race among others.

“I have been training for the race for the past three months and I know there will be too much competition, I will try my best to win the same way I did for Standard Chartered race last year,” said the Iten based athlete.

Jepchumba and Kichumba win Eldoret 10k charity race 

Meanwhile, Udine marathon champion Viola Jepchumba and former Kumning half marathon winner Hillary Kipchumba on Sunday won the men and women’s inaugural Eldoret 10km Charity race. Barely a month after winning Discovery cross country in the 10km senior women, Jepchumba left her closest competitor almost a kilometer behind as she raced for the finish line.

The Nandi-based athlete stepped into the lead at 2km and never looked behind in the slow race that started at Islamic centre, went past KCC, turning to Limo Road, passing Moi Girls and finally ending at Zion Mall, Eldoret town.

As she used the event in preparations for Prague half marathon next month, Jepchumba cut the tape in 30:41.04 followed by China half marathon champion Rhoda Jekorir who came second with a big gap crossing the finish line in 32:47.0 as sensational cross country runner Alicent Rutto returned from a hamstring injury that kept her out of competition for a year to clock 32:47.4 for third position.

“Despite running under hot sun, I did not face any competition from the start to the finish line. It was one of the easiest races for me since I started running,” said Jepchumba, a student at Kaiboi Technical Institute. Jepkorir's who finished third during Berlin 25km road race is on her way to run at Kumning half marathon slated for 28th February in China.

Kipchumba hard to work extra hard to beat road race specialists Shadrack Kimining Korir, Elijah Kipruto, Elkana Arusei among others to claim victory in the men’s.

Kipchumba exchanged leads with Korir, Kipruto amd Arusei but his powerful sprint finish saved him to cut the tape in 27:46.89 followed closely by Korir in 27:54.21 with Kipruto completing the podium in 28:04.08.

“The sun was too harsh for me but I thank God I managed to win against a big turnout,” said Kipchumba. Korir's second finish was at the race was his best finish in his running career after a ninth place finish in the Kisii half marathon.

Africa cross country team  

junior women 1. Chebet Sandra  2. Cherop Mirriam  3. Chebet Emily  4. Cheruiyot Lucy 5. Kite Gloria  6. Winfred Mbithe  7. Lilian Kasait  8. Anne Nyagothe

senior women 1. Nawomuna Alice Aprot  2. Mutai Beatrice Chepkemoi  3. Chepkirui Sheila  4. Jepkemei Daisy  5. Kaveke Pauline  6. Kipyegon Faith Chepngetich  7. Korikwang Pauline  8. Nziza Nancy

junior men  1. Kiplangat Nickson  2. Lorot Andrew  3. Kipsang Isaac  4. Kwemoi Willy Kiprotich  5. Ngeno Alfred  6. Kiprotich Ronald  7. Kiptoo Antony  8. Ledana Wesley

senior men  1. Yosei Mneria Charles  2. Philip Langat  3. Rugari James  4. Koech Geofrey Kimutai  5. Ngetich Cleophas  6. Rono Philemon  7. Arita Stephen  8. Kipkurgat Nicodemus  

officials  1. Angwenyi Peter  Team Leader  2. Mwaringa James Mfae – Asst.Team Manager  3. Odhiambo Jacinta Apuoyo – Chaperone  4. Rono Sammy - Coach  5. Sang Peter - Asst.Coach  6. Kosgei Emily Cherono – Physiotherapist  7. Kenneth Chipkok - Physiotherapist.