Since 1986, the Kenya World Cross Country team has made an annual pilgrimage to Kigari Teachers Training College in Embu county for residential camp before embarking on their renown world conquering exploits.
Perched on a gently sloping topography within Mount Kenya region, the high attitude camp has hosted every star athlete you can think of who has participated in the world cross country over the past 31 years.
Veteran coach Mike Kosgei, who handled various Kenyan teams between 1985 and 1995, was delighted to visit the camp again.
He is among the first coaches to take a national team for camp there.
The decorated coach has nostalgic memories of Kigari and believes that the terrain holds the secret to Team Kenya’s success.
'DOMINATED THE RACE'
“I am the first coach to guide the winning team in World Cross Country starting with John Ngugi, and we made it after training here in Kigari. Since then, we have dominated the race,” Kosgei said.
Team Kenya head coach Juma Ndiwa also believes that the location of the camp, being far away from Rift Valley, long believed to be the cradle of Kenya’s long distance runners, helps the athletes to concentrate.
College Chief Principal Miriam Koech said the institution felt privileged to host Team Kenya. He added that Kigari was among the best training camps in the country due to its conducive environment and crisp fresh air.
“We really appreciate your decision to choose our institution time and again as your camp to prepare for the world cross country championship. It has been our pride and pleasure to be associated with great men and women and the youth of this country whose prowess has put the nation on the global map. We ask all Kenyans to join us as we pray for the team’s success,” said Koech.
Kigari, set up in 1937, also gives some of its students full athletics sponsorship.