World Cross Country champion Emily Chebet and on-the-comeback-trail Matthew Kisorio headline Kenya’s team for the 2014 Chiba Ekiden International Relay Race due in November 24 in Japan.
Athletics Kenya vice president David Okeyo said the pair will lead a strong team of eight that will race in a relay over the marathon distance at the iconic event. However, only three men and three women will make the final team.
Others in the tentative team are Africa 10,000m silver medallist Margaret Wangare, Mercy Kibarus, Maureen Mutindi Muthiani, Henry Sang, Julius Ngalyuka Ndiku and Amos Kiprono Kaptich.
Chebet anchored Kenya to victory in the 2013 Chiba International Ekiden, a six-stage mixed road relay over the marathon distance, for the third consecutive year and improved the course record to 2:03:59.
The feat eclipsed the previous record of 2:04:40 by another Kenyan squad in 2011 and, in contrast to the past two years, Kenya dominated the race from gun to tape.
The 2010 World Cross Country champion Joseph Ebuya, Daniel Muteti, Edwin Mokua, Caroline Nyakagwa and Esther Ndiema are also in the team. The men run stage one over 5km, stage three and five, both over 10km while the women run stage two and four, of 5km each, and the sixth and final stage over 7.195km.
Chebet, who is fresh from winning the Berlin 10km race in a photo-finish with Joyce Chepkirui, won bronze in 10,000m at the Commonwealth games before settling for silver at the Africa Championships in July and August respectively. She won her maiden World Cross title in 2010 before capturing the title again in the previous 2013 edition at the same Myslecinek Park in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Kisorio, who finished serving a two-year ban in July for doping, makes a comeback to he national team for the first time since the 2011 World Championships where he finished fourth in senior men’s 12km race, guiding Kenya to team gold.
The 25-year-old Kisorio has already hit the road running, winning several local road races like the Oginga Odinga 10km, Ndakaini Half Marathon and Family Bank Half Marathon and finished third at Geothermal Half Marathon.
“I am glad to once again don the national colours and I thank God for the selection and honour,” said Kisorio, who will be running at Valencia Half Marathon in Spain on Sunday.