Agnes Tirop Memorial Cross Country Tour: Let the race begin

Eliud Kipchoge

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge speaks during the launch of Memorial Agnes Tirop World Cross Country Tour at Lobo Village in Kapseret, Uasin Gishu County on January 04, 2022. 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • It is my hope that athletes who want to qualify for the World Championship in Oregon, USA, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will capitalise on these cross country races to prepare adequately.
  • Regardless, I wish all participants the best of luck as they pursue their respective targets for cross country. As a fan, I am sure we will not be disappointed in matters of entertainment on the course.

Agnes Tirop was a phenomenal woman and a runner. She was one in a long line of athletes who have cemented Kenya’s heritage as a conveyor belt of cross country talents, which includes John Ngugi and Paul Tergat.

And what better way to cement this reputation by going down in history as the second-youngest athlete to become a World Cross Country Championships winner courtesy of her victory in 2015 in Guiyang, China.

This is why the World Cross Country Tour on February 12 has been aptly named the Agnes Tirop Memorial Cross Country Tour.

We decided to name the invitational event after the Tokyo Olympian not only to honour her memory, but as a reminder to upcoming generations.

It is my hope that in many years to come, young long-distance runners from all corners of the country will be inspired by the determination and passion exhibited by Tirop in her short but fruitful athletics career.

Just a month before her demise in October, Tirop had set a new world record in the women-only 10k kilometres race when she clocked 30:01 at the Roads to Records Adizero race in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

This accomplishment will be immortalised through the cross country Tour and passed down to upcoming generations as a reference point of what they can achieve in their careers.

In Kenya, the athletics season often begins with cross country races. Since October, various regions have held Athletics Kenya cross country weekend meetings during which various talents were identified.

Alongside the disciplined forces and universities, 14 regions have begun selecting athletes to represent them at the national cross country championship on January 22 in Eldoret.

The national event will be a dry run from the cross country Tour to be held at the same venue.

Whereas the focus of many would-be naturally towards claiming podium places at these competitions, it would also help to cast our eyes wider to upcoming track and field events.

Due to the diversity of the course, cross country has been shown to build a good foundation for track and road races by sharpening one’s endurance, technical skills, and mental fortitude.

It is my hope that athletes who want to qualify for the World Championship in Oregon, USA, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will capitalise on these cross country races to prepare adequately.

Regardless, I wish all participants the best of luck as they pursue their respective targets for cross country. As a fan, I am sure we will not be disappointed in matters of entertainment on the course.

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