The conclusion of the KCB/AK Cross country series at the weekend paves way for the Kenya Police Service Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Ngong Racecourse.
And Kenya Police head coach, Isaac Kirwa, has warned athletes to expect a tough competition, with a stellar field expected in men’s 12km and women’s 8km races.
The 2011 World Cross country junior champion, Geoffrey Kipsang, and Lucy Kabuu will face a tough test as they seek to defend their titles and claim third consecutive victories from 8.30am.
WON A BRACE
After claiming a brace each last year, Kipsang and Kabuu won the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in February last year with impressive times.
Kabuu chalked a new personal best of 1hour, 06:09min, just 19 seconds off Mary Keitany’s world record while Kipsang glided to a new PB 58:54, just two seconds outside the course record.
Kipsang will be up against Wilson Kipsang who set a new World marathon record of 2:03:23 in victory at last year’s Berlin Marathon, New York Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai who is fresh from the last leg of the KCB/AK Cross in Eldoret and World 5000m bronze medallist Isaiah Kiplangat.
The race will also see the return of the 2009 World 10,000m bronze medallist Moses Ndiema Masai and 2009 World Cross Country junior champion Titus Mbishei.
Mbishei is also set to make his presence known in the event several athletes will use as a build up to forthcoming races, including the Diamond League and the Commonwealth Games this July in Scotland.
Olympic and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi, World 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop, Augustine Choge, Nixon Chepseba and Paul Kipsiele Koech will use the championship to prepare for the new season.
KABUU IN FIELD
Kabuu who is also the 2006 Commonwealth Games champion has a battle at hand against World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat, 2009 World 10,000m champion Linet Masai and Berlin Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat who has won a series of KCB/AK Cross events, including last weekend’s in Eldoret.
Also in the mix is the World 5000m silver medalist Mercy Cherono who won the Cross Internacional de Venta de Banos in Spain a fortnight ago. The two-time World junior 3000m winner is preparing for the Commonwealth Games.