The final leg of Kenya Cross Country Championships will be held on Saturday in Kisii as athletes prepare for next month’s national trials.
The cross country championships kicked off in Machakos then action moved to the Rift Valley town of Ol Kalou before winding the year on the slopes of Mt Elgon at Kapsokwony. The series will pave way for Disciplined Forces and Counties championships that will be held on January 25 and 26 respectively.
After the departmental races, there will be regional cross country championships that will see each region pick a team that will participacet in national trial set for Eldoret. The trials will be used to select the national team that will travel to Aarhus, Denmark for IAAF World Cross Country on March 30.
Among the athletes expected to light up the Kisii meet are the Bomet-based team that has formed a relay team under coach John Kimetto. The Bomet relay team include Winfred Mbithe and Bernad Kipkorir who were in the victorious Kenyan team at the 2017 World Cross Country Championships in Kampala. They will team up with World Under-20 1,500m silver medalist Miriam Cherop and World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist Leonard Bett.
“I have decided to form a relay team as we are approaching the national trials. It will be competitive and that is why we are using the Kisii series so that we can see where to rectify in terms of speed,” said Kimetto.
Bett said that he will be using the relay race as speed work as he looks forward to participate in the 8km junior category during the trials.
“My training has been going on well and I will be looking forward to a good run on Saturday in the relay race,” said Bett.
Other athletes who are expected to grace the Kisii meet include World Under-18 800m silver medalist Lydia Jeruto and her brother Gilbert Kimunyan, Sheila Chelangat, Josphat Kipchirchir, Michael Kibet, Beatrice Mutai, Alice Aprot among others.
A number of star athletes will however miss the last series due to the Sports Personality of the Year Awards event going down in Mombasa on Friday.
Meanwhile, Central Rift Athletics Kenya chairman Abraham Mutai confirmed that next month's national trials will be held in the afternoon just like international events.
“The trials which will be held at the Sports Club in Eldoret will take place in the afternoon just like the international events. This will give time to the athletics fans to travel and be there on time to watch the event,” he said.