What you need to know:
- Kandie won the Istanbul Half Marathon in 59:35 in April followed by the The Giants Geneva 10km in 26:51 in October.
- Kandie made his marathon debut at the New York Marathon on November 7 where he finished ninth in 2:13:43.
- Obiri, Chepkemoi, Chepkurui, Chepleting and Kamais will be joined by former champion Joycilline Jepkopsgei, who is fresh from winning the London Marathon in October.
The reigning world cross country champions Hellen Obiri and Kibiwott Kandie will put their Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country Championships titles on the line on Friday at the Moi Air Base.
Obiri, the Olympic 5,000m silver medallist, will be seeking to bag her fifth defence crown, while Kandie, the world half marathon silver medallist, is out to seal his fourth consecutive title.
Obiri, the world 5,000m champion, recaptured the title in January last year when she beat defending champion Joyce Chepkemoi to second place in 33 minutes 25.1 seconds.
Sheila Chepkurui completed the podium followed by Nesphine Chepleting and Irene Kamais in fourth and fifth respectively.
Kibiwott Kandie easily defended his title after leading from start to finish to cross the line in 29:24.5 seconds ahead of Collins Koros, who came in second, while Erick Kiptanui settled for third position.
Kenya Defence Forces Athletics first vice chairman, Alfred Olenawangas, said the cast will read almost similar from last year with Obiri and Kandie headlining the races.
Obiri claimed previous wins in 2014, 2017 and 2019, while Kandie, the former half marathon world record holder, stormed to the national limelight when he won the KDF title in 2019 at Kahawa Garrison. He would defend it at Laikipia Air Base in 2020 and at Moi Air Base in 2021.
“We expect a full house with most of our athletes having resumed training ahead of the busy 2022 season,” said Olenawangas, adding that the races will start at 10.30am.
Kandie and Koros will be up against the likes of Olympic 3,000m bronze medallist Benjamin Kigen, Eric Kiptanui and Abel Mutai among others.
“I am more than ready to defend my title even though my right knee is yet to heal completely,” said Kandie, adding that he plans to focus on the 10,000m this season as he targets the Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships.
World Athletics Championships will be held from July 15 to July 24 in Oregon, United States, while the Commonwealth Games are due from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Iten-based Kandie said that he didn’t perform as expected last year after he fell short in training.
“I think I over-strained and that affected my performance,” said Kandie, who started 2021 with victory in the 10,000m in a personal best of 28:28.0 at the Athletics Kenya Weekend Meeting in February.
Kandie won the Istanbul Half Marathon in 59:35 in April followed by the The Giants Geneva 10km in 26:51 in October.
Kandie made his marathon debut at the New York Marathon on November 7 where he finished ninth in 2:13:43.
Obiri, Chepkemoi, Chepkurui, Chepleting and Kamais will be joined by former champion Joycilline Jepkopsgei, who is fresh from winning the London Marathon in October.