Double delight for Kenya in Antrim as Kipruto, Kipkirui win

Rio Olympics steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto and former African cross country champion Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui took the men’s and women’s top honours at the Antrim International Cross Country on Saturday in the Northern Ireland.

It marked the first Kenyan double at the IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting since 2002.

Kipruto the 3000m steeplechase Summer Games record holder, stopped the timer at 24:36 to take the men’s 9Km title ahead of Olympians, Kenyan-born Bahraini Abraham Cheroben (24:37) and Briton Andy Vernon (24:56), who settled for the second and third places.

Kirpruto broke away from the leading pack in the second lap of the race and widened the gap further as he dominated the race until the final 200m where he powered on for a strong finish.

“When someone was going to kick, I know that I was going to kick” Kipruto said in his post-race interview. “On the final lap I knew I was going to win because of the gap. I was waiting for someone to kick; I am very good at that,” he added.

The 22-year-old Kipruto who is eyeing the 3000m steeplechase world record of 7:53.63 set by Kenyan born Qatari Stephen Cherono adds that he expected a strong challenge from Vernon.

“On every lap the English people were cheering the English guy. It was clear that he was fighting and I like that. He was very tough,” Kipruto said.

Even as snow and ice lingered, Kipruto was unfazed as he raced to glory.

“I always know the conditions when in Europe, I always fear when it’s snowing, but the rain is okay,” the two-time World silver medalist said.

In the 5.6km women’s race comapatriot Caroline Chepkoech kipkirui gave Kenya her first double win at the IAAF cross country permit meet since 2002.

Chepkoech also took charge of the race in the second lap and dominated it to the end to take the women’s top honors in 18:53 ahead of Ethiopian duo Gotytom Gebreslase (19:35) and Birtukan Adamu(19:38).

“On the second lap, I saw that there was nobody following me. I will soon head back to Kenya to prepare for the World Cross Country,” she told IAAF.


Men (9km)

1 Conseslus Kipruto (KEN) 24:36

2 Abraham Cheroben (BRN) 24:37

3 Andy Vernon (GBR) 24:56

4 Hassan Chahdi (FRA) 25:20

5 Jonathan Taylor (GBR) 25:27

6 Lachlan Oates (GBR) 25:54

7 Jamie Crowe (GBR) 25:58

8 Matthew Bowser (GBR) 26:03

9 Owain Jones (GBR) 26:34

10 Derek Hawkins (GBR) 26:14


Women (5.6km)

1 Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui (KEN) 18:53

2 Gotytom Gebreslase (ETH) 19:35

3 Birtukan Adamu (ETH) 19:38

4 Fionnuala McCormack (IRL) 19:39

5 Pippa Woolven (GBR) 19:50

6 Claire Duck (GBR) 19:57

7 Anculta Bobocel (ROU) 20:08

8 Louise Small (GBR) 20:10

9 Haftamnesh Tesfay (ETH) 20:22

10 Morag MacLarty (GBR) 20:25


-Material from was used to compile this report.

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