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International entries for Karura XC

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NAIROBI, Kenya, July 26- International entries from Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland are among the over 450 registrations received for Saturday’s G4S Karura Cross Country Challenge.

Olympics legend led by Matthew Birir (1992 steeplechase gold) William Tanui (1992 800m gold), Douglas Wakiihuri (1988 marathon silver), Jonah Birir, Sally Barsosio and Paul Koech will also participate in the race that aims at raising funds and awareness for the forest.

Organisers are expecting their cap of 600 to be met in the run-up to the event that shall see participants tackle the main 16km race, 9km run and the 5km corporate event at the forest located 9km from Nairobi’s Central Business District.

British envoy, Rob Macaire who will participate in the 5km corporate run emphasised, “I less delighted to have been included to run in the British High Commission team but I will do my best for this event aimed at publicising conservation of an important forest.”

“We are ready for the forest and the forest is ready for you. We did a trial run over the weekend and the course is challenging, with steep up hills and down hill in addition to sharp corners,” Katie Kitonyo, the G4S marketing and communications manager said on Tuesday.

“Very few spaces are left because we cannot sign up more than 600 due to the ecosystem of the forest. We 15 corporate teams signed up,” she added.

G4S will also sponsor a team from the Mathare Youth Sports Association to compete at the even where both men and women winners in the main 16km race will take home Sh50,000 each while victors in the 9km event will pocket Sh25,000 a piece.

The races will be flagged-off from 7pm with all runners timed to have returned to the start area by 11am when prize giving will commence.

Organisers have called on participants to read the course maps keenly although the route will be sufficiently marked to prevent getting lost in the expansive woodland.

“During the trial run, some of the athletes in the 16km route got lost and the same can happen on Saturday if the runners are not careful,” Kitonyo warned.

Race Director, Robert Obanyi announced the race course will start at the Kenya Forest Environmental Education Trust Centre, proceed through a riverside with a descent to a bridge crossing past a butterfly pond and back to the centre through the Lily Lake.

“There will be a 3km flat sprint section along the race course, leading to an acute corner that will take the runners through the creepy Mau Mau trail (for which the 16km race is named),” said Obanyi.

Security arrangements will be handled by G4S with ambulances and a fire engine on stand-by for any eventualities.

The Karura Cross also received Sh600,000 in cash from the British High Commission, petroleum firm Shell and insurance provider AON Minet with other firms supporting it in kind on Tuesday.

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