National 10,000 metres champion, Pauline Korikwiang from Armed Forces, and the 2011 Africa Cross Country champion, John Mwangangi, will highlight the start of Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series in Machakos on Saturday.
Korikwiang, the 2006 World Cross Country junior champion, is fresh from setting personal best in half marathon in Valencia, where she came fourth in 1hour, 06:31min on October 28.
The 2015 World Military Games 5,000m champion, who claimed Bucharest Half Marathon in 1:10:07 in June this year, will face fellow Armed Forces team mates Perin Nenkampi and Judy Kiyeng.
Also in action in the women’s 10km race will be World Cross Country mixed relay gold medallist, Winfred Mbithe from Kenya Police Service.
Mwangangi, the 2012 World Half marathon bronze medallist, has had a low-key season, having taken part in two races this season, and winning Guadalajara Half Marathon in February in Mexico before finishing second in Abu Dhabi 10km race in March. Mwangangi, who won the 2015 Valencia Marathon in a personal best of 2:06:13, comes up against formidable challenge drawn from the regions and institutions like Kenya Police, KDF and Prisons.
Athletics Kenya senior vice president Paul Mutwii said they have cut down on their National Cross Countries Series to only four events.
Machakos and Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County, will stage the first and second legs of the Cross Country Series on Saturday and December 1 respectively.
This will see Mosoriot Teachers Training College, Nandi and Kisii host the third and fourth legs of the Series on December 15 and January 4 respectively.
The events will as usual be supported by the counties, regional and institutional championships. Nairobi, Sotik, Iten and Kapsokwony won’t be hosting the events.
It will then pave way for the national trials for the World Cross Country Championships planned for February 2 at Eldoret Sports Club. Eldoret’s event that will double up for the National Cross Country Championships will see a team being picked for World Cross Country Championships set for March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark.
This will be the second time Eldoret is hosting a national championship, having hosted the trials for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games at Kipchoge Keino Stadium.