Kenya's Philemon Rono wins at the 2013 Obudu International Mountain Race (© Erhan Başoğlu )
The fifth African Mountain Running Championship was held in conjunction again, as it has been since its inaugural year in 2009, with the famous Obudu International Mountain Race in Nigeria and saw race wins for Kenya’s Philemon Rono and Ethiopia’s Genet Yalew on Saturday (23).
Rono, this year’s Kenyan cross country trials winner although he was to finish a disappointing 36th at the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, took the lead early in the race.
Although Ethiopia’s 2010 and 2012 race winner Abebe Dinkesa never threw in the towel, Rono prevailed on the winding 13km course to win in 1:00:43 and end Ethiopia’s six-year winning streak in the men’s race.
Dinkesa, who is the fifth fastest man ever over 10,000m on the track and has a best of 26:30.74 as well as three times finishing in the top 10 at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, crossed the line 14 seconds later.
However, because Rono and Dinkesa were racing as individual runners, in the latter case because Ethiopia had failed to formally enter their teams, the actual title of 2013 African champion went to the third man home, Uganda’s 2013 silver medallist Geoffrey Kusuro, who clocked 1:02:08.
Uganda took the team title with just seven points, regaining the crown they had won in 2010 and 2011, helped by World Mountain Running Championships Philip Kiplimo finishing sixth in the race overall and second at the African Championships.
Ethiopians took the first four places in the women’s race with Yalew winning over 9km in 58:55. Second was Selan Abere in 59:46, Berha Afera finished third in 1:00:00 and a distant fourth was Neda Etenesh in 1:02:36.
In fact, the runners were in this order for the vast majority of the race following the opening kilometres.
However, the title of African champion went to Kenya’s Oltaruesh Perrine Nenkampi, who crossed the line in fifth place with a time of 1:04:29, once again because Ethiopia had not formally entered a team.
With Nankampi followed home by her compatriots Angelina Mutheu and Mildred Chebosis, Kenya took the women’s team title with a perfect six points.
It was the first time that Kenya had entered teams in the competition and a celebrity at the event was their team leader Moses Tanui, the 1991 World 10,000m champion.
Phil Minshull and World Mountain Running Association for the IAAF