We need more Kenyans in mountain running

 AK Mountain Running Championships

Athletes tumble down, and race up the course during the AK Mountain Running Championships 10km race in Tindiret, Nandi on January 2, 2021.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Likewise, Geoffrey Ndung’u finished third in the men’s division. In 2018, Lucy Murigi conquered the World Mountain Running Championship.
  • With these pieces of evidence abound, I am convinced that more of our athletes can excel in mountain running. Considering the synonymy between Kenyans and athletics, involvement in these championships will help raise the profile of the sport.

The busy athletics calendar in Kenya and internationally is officially in full swing, barely two weeks into the new year.

The past weekend, different regions and affiliates to Athletics Kenya were busy selecting their representatives to the national cross country championship set for January 22 in Eldoret.

Listening to media interviews with different athletes, a pattern emerging is that many are focused on the World Championship in Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which will be the two major athletics events in 2022.

Of course, locally, Kenya will be host of two major international meetings: Agnes Tirop Memorial World Cross Country Tour and the Kip Keino Classic World Continental Tour.

As we have previously reiterated, we are privileged to be staging these events and are working round the clock to ensure successful and memorable competitions.

However, hidden deep within the calendar of events is mountain running, which can be another avenue for athletes to get more competition under their belts.

Mountain running is a sport that involves off-road running, mainly on mountainous terrain.

It has been in existence for decades and is governed by the World Mountain Running Association, which is affiliated to World Athletics, the body responsible for athletics matters worldwide.

For athletes who may not be able to qualify for the World Championships, Commonwealth Games or even the Cross Country Tour, mountain running presents an opportunity to quench your thirst for glory and cap off 2022 on a high.

Some of the global events lined up for this year include: World Masters Championships; World Cup Series; and World Mountain and Trail Running Championship. Locally, AK have lined up a series of mountain running weekend meetings including in Nandi, Meru, Mt Longonot, Nyamira and Taita Taveta, among others.

Such events will not only provide competitors with the chance to not only add to their medal collections, but to better their physicality for other types of races by working on their strength and conditioning.

Granted, mountain running is not for the faint-hearted considering the treachery of most of the terrain. However, we can take comfort in the fact that Kenya is similarly a powerhouse in this race.

Last year, Joyce Muthoni Njeru was crowned the WMRA World Cup Champion after excelling in the seven of the 16 races staged as part of the series.

Likewise, Geoffrey Ndung’u finished third in the men’s division. In 2018, Lucy Murigi conquered the World Mountain Running Championship.

With these pieces of evidence abound, I am convinced that more of our athletes can excel in mountain running. Considering the synonymy between Kenyans and athletics, involvement in these championships will help raise the profile of the sport.

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