World XC Women — Perfect Score For Kenya

Defending champ Beatrice Chebet and two of her mates broke away in the later stages as Kenya put up a perfect 10-point tally. (MIKE SCOTT)

BELGRADE, SERBIA, March 30 — The Kenyan women put on a monstrous display of dominance, grabbing the first 5 places as they defended their World XC title with the lowest score possible in a 4-athlete tally, 10 points. The 5 Kenyans ran up-front from the very start, daring the rest of the world to come and get them. Three tried, but none succeeded in staying with the torrid Kenyan pace. Ethiopia would finish far back with 41 points, Uganda in 3rd at 44.

Running the same 10,025m (6.23M) course that the men would, the Kenyans ran together for the first loop, then entertained some company on the second. Former Kenyan Daisy Jepkemei, running for Kazakhstan, shot into the lead briefly before being put back in her place. Both Uganda’s Joy Cheptoyek and American Weini Kelati tried to stick with the pack, Kelati holding on until the final loop before fading.

It wasn’t until the bell that the Kenyans decided to race each other and the lead pack started stringing out, with no one else in a position to threaten the Kenyan sweep.

Defending champion Beatrice Chebet didn’t feel the need to make her move until the final 400. The Budapest 5000 bronze medalist produced a blazing 6:42 for the final lap-plus to take the win in 31:05. Lilian Rengeruk crossed 2nd in 31:08 with Margaret Kipkemboi, the Eugene 10K bronze medalist, 3rd in 31:09. Emmaculate Anyango, No. 2 all-time in 10K road running with her 28:57, rounded out the scoring with a 31:24 in 4th. Kenyan champion Agnes Ngetich, the 10K road WR holder, didn’t score in 5th, but still beat the rest of the world with her 31:27. The best of the rest of the world was Uganda’s Sarah Chelangat in 6th at 32:00.

Chebet said, “We won the team title, that showed very strong teamwork. After trials we trained together, we eat the same food. We were a team and being together helped us achieve the best result here.” It was the best team finish since the Kenyans took 1-6 in ’17. Kenya now has 14 wins in the history of the championships, with rival Ethiopia at 12.

“It is not easy to come to a world championship and defend your title,” continued Chebet. “There is a lot of pressure. My target was to be on the podium. I felt I was stronger with about 500m to go. The course was so good, the weather was good like in Kenya, very sunny, and the obstacles were not as hard.”

Kelati staggered across the line to finish 15th in 32:53 after a rough last lap, with European champion Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal (14th) among those passing her in the final stretch. The U.S. team finished 4th with 113 points, with Allie Ostrander (30th), Abby Nichols (33rd) and Emma Grace Hurley (35th) joining Kelati as scorers.

“With one lap to go I was really dead,” Kelati told LetsRun. “My legs were really shaky.” She had no regrets over trying to go with the Kenyans. “At some point I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is not working for me,’ but I’m glad I did it.”

The mixed-sex relay once again was a battle between Kenya and Ethiopia, the latter having a slight edge after the first leg, that both Taresa Tolosa of Ethiopia and teenager Reynold Kipkorir ran in 6:07. On the second leg, Kenya’s Virginia Nyambura edged ahead of Dadi Bube at the exchange. It was Kenya’s Daniel Munguti who broke the race open on leg 3, covering the loop 19 seconds faster than Ethiopia’s Adihana Kasaye. Purity Chepkirui brought home the Kenyan win, 28 seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Biri Abera, 22:15–22:43. Abera ran her entire loop with one shoe, the other one being lost in the exchange when Kasaye inadvertently stepped on her heel.

Great Britain took 3rd in 23:00 and the U.S. foursome of Kasey Knevelbaard, Ella Donaghu, Johnathan Reniewicki and Katie Izzo finished 8th in 23:21.


Teams: 1. Kenya 10; 2. Ethiopia 41; 3. Uganda 44; 4. United States 113; 5. Spain 126; 6. Japan 137; 7. South Africa 149; 8. Canada 174; 9. New Zealand 234; 10. Refugee Team 234.

Individuals (10.025K): 1. Beatrice Chebet (Ken) 31:05; 2. Lilian Rengeruk (Ken) 31:08; 3. Margaret Kipkemboi (Ken) 31:09; 4. Emmaculate Anyango (Ken) 31:24; 5. Agnes Ngetich (Ken) 31:27; 6. Sarah Chelangat (Uga) 32:00; 7. Daisy Jepkemei (Kaz) 32:04; 8. Birtukan Wolde (Eth) 32:14; 9. Loice Chekwemoi (Uga) 32:24; 10. Mebrat Giday (Eth) 32:27;

11. Tadelech Nedi (Eth) 32:29; 12. Meseret Gola (Eth) 32:30; 13. Rachael Chebet (Uga) 32:45; 14. Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal (Nor) 32:49; 15. Weini Kelati (US) 32:53; 16. Annet Chalangat (Uga) 32:56; 17. Cintia Chepngeno (Ken) 33:02; 18. Joy Cheptoyek (Uga) 33:13; 19. Belinda Chemutai (Uga) 33:16; 20. Abbie Donnelly (GB) 33:17;

21. Girmawit Gebrzihair (Eth) 33:22; 22. Miku Sakai (Jpn) 33:24; 23. Anjelina Nadai Lohalith (ART)) 33:26; 24. Carolina Robles (Spa) 33:36; 25. Bekelech Teka (Eth) 33:43; 26. Irene Sánchez-Escribano (Spa) 33:55; 27. Erika Tanoura (Jpn) 34:00; 28. Kyla Jacobs (SA) 34:07; 29. Azusa Mihara (Jpn) 34:09; 30. Allie Ostrander (US) 34:11;

31. Paige Campbell (Aus) 34:19; 32. Glenrose Xaba (SA) 34:20; 33. Abby Nichols (US) 34:27; 34. Aydee Huaman (Per) 34:28; 35. Emma Grace Hurley (US) 34:32; 36.. Seema (Ind) 34:35; 37. Majida Maayouf (Spa) 34:36; 38. Glynis Sim (Can) 34:37; 39. Isabel Barreiro (Spa) 34:37; 40. Cacisile Sosibo (SA) 34:40;

41. Georgie Grgec (NZ) 34:43; 42. Leslie Sexton (Can) 34:55; 43. Shellcy Ester Sarmiento (Col) 35:00; 44. Kate Ayers (Can) 35:04; 45. Lauren McNeil (GB) 35:05; 46. Alice Goodall (GB) 35:10; 47. Cecile Jarousseau (Fra) 35:10; 48. Laura Maasik (Est) 35:15; 49. Karabo Mailula (SA) 35:17; 50. Kate Bazeley (Can) 35:17;

51. Ankita Dhiyani (Ind) 35:26; 52. Micheline Niyomahoro (Bur) 35:38; 53. Melissa Duncan (Aus) 35:40; 54. Mikaela Lucki (Can) 35:42; 55. Annika Pfitzinger (NZ) 35:50; 56. Margarita Hernández (Mex) 35:53; 57. Silvia Patricia Ortiz (Ecu) 36:06; 58. Cailie Logue (US) 36:14; 59. Momoka Kawaguchi (Jpn) 36:15; 60. Suárez Nuñez (Per) 36:17;

61. Katie Newlove (Can) 36:19; 62. Farida Abaroge (ART) 36:33; 63. Fiona Everard (Ire) 36:35; 64. Layla Al-Masry (PLE) 36:53; 65. Danielle Donegan (Ire) 37:01; 66. Meliza Estefany Casaico (Per) 37:23; 67. Lisha Van Onselen (SA) 37:58; 68. Anneke Arlidge (NZ) 38:13; 69. Joan Makary (Leb) 38:33; 70. Katherine Camp (NZ) 38:45;

71. Caitlin McQuilkin-Bell (NZ) 40:13; 72. Chirine Njeim (Leb) 40:42; 73. Eliana Silvera Silva (Uru) 40:49; 74. Esterina Irino Julius (ART) 41:13; 75. Perina Lokure Nakang (ART) 41:48; 76. Vanessa Lee Ying Zhuang (SGP) 41:59; 77. Nathania Tan (NMI) 42:13; 78. Nada Kurdi (Leb) 42:15; 79. Sladjana Perunović (Mne) 43:53; 80. Anjali Kumari (Ind) 44:02;… dnf. Katie Camarena (US). (84 started; 80 finished)


1. Kenya 22:15 (Raynold Kipkorir, Virginia Nyambura, Daniel Munguti, Purity Chepkirui); 2. Ethiopia 22:43 (Taresa Tolosa, Dadi Bube, Adihana Kasaye, Biri Abera); 3. Great Britain 23:00 (Thomas Keen, Alexandra Millard, Adam Fogg, Bethan Morley); 4. Morocco 23:08 (Hafid Rizky, Rahma Tahiri, Hicham Akankam, Kaoutar Farkoussi); 5. Uganda 23:10 (Hosea Kiprop, Linda Chebet, Sam Kapkerung Kiprotich, Knight Aciru); 6. France 23:17 (Nicolas Daru, Charlotte Mouchet, Romain Mornet, Flavie Renouard); 7. Japan 23:18 (Yutaro Niinae, Nozomi Tanaka, Naoki Takada, Yuya Sawada); 8. United States 23:21 (Kasey Knevelbaard, Ella Donaghu, John Reniewicki, Katie Izzo); 9. South Africa 23:37 (Christopher Swart, Danielle Verster, Boikanyo Motlhamme, Simonay Weitsz); 10. Serbia 24:31 (Elzan Bibić, Milica Tomašević, Nikola Raičević, Teodora Simović);

11. Mexico 25:06 (César Gómez, Margarita Hernández, Emmanuel Reyes, Miranda Duran); 12. Kazakhstan 25:31 (Maxim Frolovskiy, Tatyana Neroznak, Vadim Levchenkov, Nurmamet Akbayan); 13. Fiji 28:51 (Evueli Toia, Adi Fulori Masau, Vishant Reddy, Adi Ama Masau). ◻︎