A galaxy of stars are expected to be part of a huge field when the annual Discovery Cross Country Championships go down at Eldoret Sports Club, Uasin Gishu County on Sunday.
Now in its 29th edition, the race has attracted more than 3,000 athletes among them World Half Marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor, World Under-20 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet, World Under-20 5,000m gold medallist Edward Zakayo, Family Bank Half Marathon winner Nancy Jelagat among others.
Brilliant Jepkorir, who was second last weekend during the Houston Half Marathon, will be seeking to defend her title in the 8km senior women race.
Jepkorir crossed the line in 27:36.1 ahead of Nyahururu-based Beatrice Chepkemoi who timed 27:42.5 while Dorcas Jepchirchir finished third in 27:47.9 in last year's race.
In the men’s 10km senior category, World Under-20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto timed 30:40.3 to win the race, beating the World Under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo to second place in 30:46.9 while Josphat Kipchirchir sealed the podium places in 30:50.5.
Jepkorir's title defence faces a serious threat with world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei and Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei in the mix.
“This is part of my training as I am targeting a place in Team Kenya for the Africa Cross Country Championships,” Jepkorir, who trains in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, told Nation Sport.
Preparations are in top gear with the organisers saying that they will continue supporting the upcoming talents in the country.
“We always want to think of the kids who are interested in running and to know the sport and that is why we have been doing this for the last 28 years. I would also love to invite all the elite athletes because it helps them ahead of their major races,” said Piergiuseppe Picotti, an official from Rosa Associatti.
“The Discovery race has always produced the best in the world and that is why it’s always good to participate in such local races to gauge their performance,” said athletics Kenya Central Rift chairman Abraham Mutai.
Mutai said the event will be used to pick a team that will be represent Central Rift in the national trials on February 8 in Nairobi.