Multiple World and Olympic track champion Mo Farah, along with fellow Briton and women’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe, will be the main attractions in Iten this weekend at the official opening of the Lornah Kiplagat Sports Academy’s new tartan track.
The Saturday morning ceremony will be followed by the global unveiling of this year’s elite field for the Virgin London Marathon which will be run on April 13 on the streets of the English capital.
Ironically, construction work at the Lornah Kiplagat Sports Academy tartan track was launched less than 12 months ago and is now complete – from scratch - with a budget of less that Sh80 million, while plans for putting up a similar track at the already developed Kipchoge Keino Stadium have been abandoned despite over Sh150 million having been allocated for work on the stadium in the heart of Eldoret town.
A battery of British journalists, including teams from BBC TV, Sky TV, The Daily Telegraph, Times of London and The Independent, is expected to arrive in Kenya today for Saturday’s activities at the Lornah Kiplagat Sports Academy that will be covered live from Iten to global audience.
CLINCHED A DOUBLE
Farah, who clinched a double in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres races at the 2012 London Olympics, is already in Iten training for his marathon debut at the April London race where he will come up against a stellar field that includes Kenya’s Olympic bronze medallist and world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang, World and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, London Marathon course record holder Emmanuel Mutai and Geoffrey Mutai, the New York Marathon title holder, all of whom will be at the weekend ceremony.
Radcliffe, who holds the world record of two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds, has struggled with a leg injury and is yet to announce plans for her future in distance running having not yet retired officially.
Farah’s priority will be to make an impact on his marathon debut and go for Steve Jones’ British record of 2:07.13 set way back in 1985.
The London Marathon are among the financiers of the Lornah Kiplagat Sports Academy’s tartan track and will be represented this weekend by race director Hugh Brasher and former long-time director David Bedford.