What you need to know:
- World half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir and 3,000m steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech will take the battle to reigning World Cross Country champion Beatrice Chebet in women’s 8km race that will go down at 11.50am
- The men’s 8km that starts at 12.20pm has a mouthwatering line up with the newly crowned world half marathon champion Sebastian Sawe and world half marathon silver medallist Daniel Simiu highlighting the stellar cast
- The reigning world cross country under-20 champion Ismael Kipkirui is favorite to win the men's under-20 6km race while world under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Jackline Chepkoech should easily put away the women's under-20 5km race
Some of the world’s top track and road elite athletes converge on the inaugural Chepsaita Cross Country Championships at Chepsaita Secondary School, Uasin Gishu, on Saturday.
Close to 3,000 participants had registered by mid-day yesterday, with the organisers expecting the number to swell to 5,000 by the start of the first race at 8am.
Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) will conduct tests and civic education during the one-day championship that has 14 races on card.
World half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir and 3,000m steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech will take the battle to reigning World Cross Country champion Beatrice Chebet in the women’s 8km race that will go down at 11.50am.
Also expected in the race are the world cross bronze medallist Agnes Jebet Ngetich, former world cross country champion Irene Cheptai, former national cross country queen Sheila Chelangat and the 2016 Rio Olympics 3,000m steeplechase champion Ruth Jebet of Bahrain.
Chebet is fresh from winning the Cross Internacional de Atapuerca in Spain last month, while Jebet just won the Lille 10km race in 29:26, missing the world record by eight seconds a fortnight ago in France.
It will be Jepchirchir’s first race since withdrawing from the New York City Marathon on November 5, this year with an injury.
Jepchirchir, 30, had finished third at the London Marathon on April 23 this year on return from an injury before staging a successful defence of her world half marathon title on October 1 in Riga, Latvia.
Chepkoech, the 2019 world 3,000m steeplechase champion, is still smoking hot from claiming silver at the world championships in Budapest in August before setting a new world record in 2,000m steeplechase of 5:47.42 in Croatia in September.
The men’s 8km that starts at 12.20pm has a mouthwatering lineup with the newly crowned world half marathon champion Sabastian Sawe and world half marathon silver medallist Daniel Simiu highlighting the stellar cast.
Simiu’s last race was on October 15 when he won the Delhi Half Marathon in India, while Sawe raced last October 22 when he finished fifth at Valencia Half Marathon in Spain.
Also in the senior men’s mix are 2022 world 5,000m silver medallist Jacob Krop and the two-time world 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto.
Reigning world cross country under-20 champion Ismael Kipkirui is the favourite in the men's under-20 6km race, while world under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Jackline Chepkoech headlines the women's under-20 5km race.
Race coordinator Barnaba Korir said all the anti-doping protocols will be observed by the race being graded to bronze by the World Athletics.
Korir said the Adak officials will conduct the testing and civic education with the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
“We are not leaving any stone untouched in our battle to tame doping,” said Korir, adding that Adak's head of education and research, Martin Yauma, is in charge of the process.
The winners in men's and women's senior races will pocket Sh100,000 and a cow each. The prize rewards trickle down to the top 30 finishers.
The junior men's and women’s race winners will pocket Sh60,000 each. The prize fund will see the juniors finishing 30th earn Sh5,000 each.
Any woman aged 46 and above finishing the race first will receive Sh30,000 and a cow, while men aged 60 and over finishing first will get a similar reward. All senior athletes who finish the race in these categories will get blankets.
Several sponsors have come on board including Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Seed Company Limited, Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Kengen, KenKnit K Ltd, Kalron, Ministry of Youth Affairs, Creative Economy and Sports, New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC), Kenya Dairy Board, Athletics Kenya and Uasin GIshu County Government.