Kenya’s cross country events have always been billed as mini-world championships and that is what Kenya Police should live up to today at the Ngong Racecourse in Nairobi.
Today’s Kenya Police championships will feature at least four former and current world champions from world cross, track and marathon races. The elite cast will line up in women’s 8km race at Ngong Racecourse.
Two-time world cross country champion, Emily Chebet highlights the elite field that will witness the return of former World Cross-country champion Vivian Cheruiyot.
Former World junior cross champion, Mercy Cherono (2010) and the 2011 and 2013 World Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat are also in the race that will start at 9am, with defending champion Florence Kiplagat missing in action.
Kiplagat, the 29009 World Cross champion, has opted to prepare for the Barcelona Half Marathon due next month where she intends to improve on her world record time of 65:12min she set on the same course last year.
The men’s battle at Police event is also saturated with stars but focus will be on the return of the Mathew Kisorio, who has vowed to make amends and get a place in Kenya team for the world championships. The world championships are due for March 28 in Guiyang, China.
“I’m determined to make a comeback but I have to be in good position on Saturday to battle it out at the nationals,” said Kisorio, who is from serving a two-year ban for doping.
Police coach Isaac Kirwa has warned that competitors will not have it easy on the flat Ngong Racecourse, with red-hot Janet Khisa and Stacy Ndiwa out to cause upsets in women’s race. Khisa is fresh from winning the 58th edition of the Campaccio cross-country race on January 6 in Italy.
Cheruiyot, who won the World junior Cross title in 2000 and followed it up with World Cross senior title in 2011 Punta Umbria, is making a comeback from maternity leave. The break saw her fail to defend her title in 2013 in Poland and her world 5,000m and 10,000mtitles in 2013 Moscow.
“It’s all about hard work, determination and self belief,” said the 31-year-old Cheruiyot, who is also determined to make the Kenya team for the world championships. “I have trained well since my return and my body feels great.”
Chebet has shown good form after winning Seville Cross last weekend, and is looking forward to defend her World title in Guiyang after her previous exploits in 2010 and 2013 all in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Cherono, who won the World junior cross title in 2010, said her desire is to win the world title. “I want to make a strong statement as a senior starting at home and go all the way.”
Edna Kiplagat, the reigning London Marathon champion, retained her world marathon title in 2013 Moscow after her 2011 Daegu exploits.