World cross country champion Joseph Ebuya and world 10km and 15km all-time best Leonard Patrick Komon will headline the 54th Campaccio 10km run in San Giorgio Su Legnano, Italy, next Thursday.
The two world beaters alongside former 10km record holder Micah Kogo and world junior 5,000m champion David Bett will line up against the Italian top cream in the famous cross-country race.
Braved muddy course
It also features European 10,000m bronze medallist Danielle Meucci, former European Junior under-23 cross-country champion Andrea Lalli and Italian marathon runner Ruggero Pertile, last month’s European Athlete of the Month.
Ebuya, who braved the muddy course to victory at the world cross-country championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, has announced his intent to defend the title.
“The Italian race is a pointer to my plans to defend my title. Komon stands out a threat as he is a road race master. I respect his achievement but I will do my best,” Ebuya told the Daily Nation after his raining session at Kipchoge Stadium, Eldoret, on Friday.
He was alongside her younger sister Alice Aprot, a prospect for the Sh1 million Athletics Kenya and Kenya Commercial Bank cross country series jackpot and Rwanda’s John Uwajeneza, who was the Africa Senior Athletics Championships 5,000m final.
The global cross-country star, who has five European cross-country circuit wins in his legs this season, said he was in top form for the conquest at the Italian city and only prays God to maintain the great shape.
“Every morning I pray to God to guide me. I know Kenyans expect a lot from me.
Last October, the Kenyan dynamo claimed a new UK allcomers’ record at the Bupa Great South Run in Portsmouth.
He finished in a time of 45 minutes and 16 seconds and smashed the previous record held by Benson Masya in 1996 by 40 seconds.
He outclassed world 3,000m steeplechase record holder Saif Saeed Shaheen and Vincent Yator, who clocked 46 minutes, 37seconds and 47:28 respectively.
His 45:16 mark on his debut over the distance stands out as the quickest in the world this year and was exceptional considering he ran the last six miles on his own.
The five-star performer, who used to herd goats in Turkana before taking up running, said he will honour his pledge to promote athletics in the area and will organise a 10km run in Baragoi, Turkana, this year.
He said: “I want to be a role model to my former goat herders. I am planning to stage a race in Turkana and I pray God that my dreams will come true,” said Ebuya.
Ebuya said although he was tipped at Berlin worlds, he was eyeing also a slot at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics Championships in Daegu, Korea, next July.
“I want to emulate my training mate and mentor Benjamin Limo. He helped me with running shoes and suggested that I step into his shoes and pick his mantle,” he said.
US Women Athlete of the Year
Meanwhile, versatile sprinter Allyson Felix was voted US Women Athlete of the Year 2010 by Track and Field News unanimously as all 24 international panellists went for her (240 points).
In total, 16 athletes received votes.
Second Brittney Reese (183) was only 8 ahead of Chaunte Lowe (175) and 11 ahead of Carmelita Jeter (172). Fifth Lashinda Demus (158) with big margin over 6th Kara Patterson (96).
Seventh Lolo Jones (81) over Debbie Dunn (68), Alysia Johnson (63) and Molly Huddle (25). (Additional reporting by EME News)