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Cheruiyot, Kipsang crush opposition

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 4- World Cross senior women champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, powered to a scorching debut over 10000m as fellow Punta Umbria junior men titleholder, Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor bagged the Berlin Half Marathon title.

At the same time, former 10km men world record holder and Olympics 10000m bronze medalist, Micah Kogo, blasted to a world leading 27:15 when he cruised to victory at the Parelloop (Pearl Run) 10Km in the southern Dutch town of Brunssum to cap yet another outstanding weekend for Kenyan runners in Europe.

Running at the front from the second kilometer, the reigning World Cross and 5000m champion clocked 31:07.02, the fastest performance of the young season at the Trofeo Iberico in Ponteverde, Spain, on Saturday to make her debut over 25 laps an auspicious one.

Her performance was well inside the 31:45.00 ‘A’ qualifying standard for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu (27 August-4 September) thus becoming the first Kenyan female athlete to qualify for the marquee event at the distance.  

Cheruiyot’s time was virtually identical to her best over the distance on the roads, where she clocked 31:07 to win the World’s Best 10K in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2010. In another largely solo effort, Vincent Rono made it a sweep for Kenya with his 27:52.19 victory in the corresponding men’s race although the mark was below the Daegu ‘A’ Standard of 27:40.00.

In Berlin, the Kipsang steamroller sustained its momentum when the teenager stole the show at the 31st edition of the Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon on Sunday.

Running in warm temperatures approaching 20° Celsius in the shade and a slight wind, recently-minted World junior Cross Country champion won the men’s race in 60:38 while compatriot and fellow teen Valentine Kipketer was the surprise women’s winner with 1:10:12. Both winners are just 18 years old.

“These are the two greatest wins of my career so far,” Kipsang told IAAF. “I didn’t mind the warm weather, but because of this the overall pace was a bit too slow.”

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And in the Netherlands, Kogo stopped the clock in 27:15, the fastest in the world this year. He was 11 seconds ahead of compatriot Mike Kigen, who finished second.

Kogo set a World record of 27:01 on the fast Brunssum course two years ago (29 March 2009) and together with Kigen got off a blistering start, passing the five kilometre mark in 13:29.

At that point another Kenyan, Stanley Salil, was already fifteen seconds back in third. Kogo continued to press the pace and in the end he was too strong for his compatriot.

Meanwhile two other Kenyans, Mark Kiptoo and Philip Langat, were sprinting for the third place position. Kiptoo won that battle to finish third with Langat, who finished second in last week’s Venloop half marathon (1:02:32, PB), ending fourth.

The 24-year-old Kogo lost his World record last year in The Netherlands to compatriot Leonard Komon who raced 26:44 on September 26 at the Utrecht Singelloop.

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