What you need to know:
- Located in Chepsaita that seats on the border of Nandi, Kakamega and Bungoma counties, the challenging course has three steep hills and several turns that will be a test to any seasoned runners
- Runners will start the race at 2,049m and are expected to gain an elevation of 29 metres within the course
- The race will be officially launched on Wednesday in Nairobi with heft prize moneys expected to be announced
The newest cross country race in Athletics Kenya calendar, the Great Chepsaita Cross Country Championships is so tough that organisers have been forced to reduce the competition distances.
Located in Chepsaita that seats on the border of Nandi, Kakamega and Bungoma counties, the challenging course has three steep hills and several turns that will be a test to any seasoned runners.
Speed as much as strength will be at play here and, you feel, only the toughest runners of them all will survive.
The cross country meet will be held on December 2.
The senior men’s and women’s race will cover five laps that translates to 8.05km with the Under-20 women’s category running three laps covering 4.91km. Under-20 men category will tackle four laps covering 6.48km.
Add the high alttitude 2,100m and the toughness reality leaps on the athletes.
Runners will start the race at 2,049m and are expected to gain an elevation of 29 metres within the course.
Little wonder that Athletics Kenya officials led by the CEO for the race Barnaba Korir, unanimously agreed that the course is one of the toughest in the country.
“Athletes who will be competing in the race must brace themselves because it is a tough one that can be compared to what we have witnessed in the 2019 World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark," said Korir.
That global race then was held in challenging conditions, due to the very muddy course and steep hills. The winning times were 31min 40sec (Joshua Cheptegei, UGA) men’s 10km, 36.14 (Hellen Obiri, KEN) women’s 10km, 23.52 (Milkesa Mengecha, ETH) junior men’s 8km and 20.50 (Beatrice Chebet, KEN) junior women’s 6km.
“We have also shortened the traditional measurements because of the tough course. We believe we shall be able to get new talents during the event,” said Korir during a tour of the course on Saturday.
He was accompanied by the race patron Farouk Kibet, President Ruto’s aide, who said: “We are at a high altitude region and bringing the race to the ground will give a chance to those who have been trying to compete but they don’t have a chance. There will be scouts and you never know. Some of the athletes will get a chance to board a plane for the first time if they perform well and join the national team.”
Kibet urged the youth to venture into sports and earn a living from it.
The race will be officially launched on Wednesday in Nairobi with heft prize moneys expected to be announced.
Korir said that those who will win in the inaugural Chepsaita Cross Country could make Kenya’s World Cross Country Championships team. The World Championships will be held in Belgrade, Serbia next year.
The AK Central Rift region chairman Abraham Mutai, who was also in the inspection tour, urged local runners to showcase their talent at the race.