The North Rift team led by Isaac Songok, will head to the national cross country championships and trials for the world championships, certain of dominating the one-day meet on Saturday.
Songok who comes from the Rift Valley district of Keiyo, sustained a left ankle injury but said he would run on Saturday. Songok, who has a personal best time of 3:30.99 in 1,500 metres, 3,000 metres (7:28.32) and 5,000 metres (12:48.66), said his injury had healed and hoped that he would do well on Saturday.
The team of 24 athletes, which includes Form Four student, Mathew Kisorio, leaves Eldoret on Friday seeking to defend its titles in the four categories of the meet to be held at Ngong Racecourse.
Songok said he used the Keiyo district’s cross country championship to assess his his fitness and hoped he will be in the team to Amman. He came in sixth in the race in a time of 35:41.0.
Songok has been receiving treatment at Lornah Kiplagat’s High Altitude Training Camp in Iten. He said he did not run as fast as he would have liked so as not to aggravate the injury. “I only came out strongly in the last 200 metres but I can see that the injury is healing well,” he said.
Team manager, Joseph Chemuren, said he expects his team to sweep the senior men’s 12 kilometre, senior women’s eight-kilometre as well as the eight-kilometre junior men’s and six kilometre junior women’s titles.
He said six athletes will take part in each of the four categories and Chemuren said he expects a good number of his athletes to make the Kenya team to the World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan.
“Although we always get a stiff challenge from the Kenya Police, I expect my team to do better than last year,” Chemuren said. During the provincials, which saw 21 districts participating from the region, Marakwet district won the overall title with 140 points.
Nandi Central came second with 216 points while Keiyo came third with 246 points. Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgei, who was the guest of honour during the meet, gave the area Athletics Kenya chairman, Ibrahim Hussein, Sh100,000 to help the team prepare for the trials.