NAIROBI, Kenya, December 10- New Delhi Half Marathon champion and 2006 Commonwealth Games gold winner, Lucy Kabuu will headline Saturday’s Safaricom South Imenti Road Race that runs from Kanyakine to Nkubu.
Kabuu, who also won the women’s 8km senior race during opening leg of the AK National Cross Country Series in Tala, Kangundo (November 5), skipped the Nyahururu edition last weekend to recover from her Delhi win where she breezed to a 1:07:06 triumph.
“I can confirm that Kabuu will run and her presence will be a good boost to the profile of the event. She is the kind of athlete we are aiming at attracting to aid in the growth of the race as one of the best 10K runs locally,” AK Eastern Branch chair, Joseph Kinyua, said.
Organisers are expecting 800 competitors across the events on the cards that include the men and women elite 10K races, junior runs and veterans’ race where area MP and Minister for Energy, Kiraitu Murungi is penned to run.
Kabuu will have to ward off the attentions of defending titleholder, Magdalene Syombua, who won the event in 34:45 last year who was until the late entry of the Melbourne Club Games 10,000m titleholder, was the favourite to defend her crown.
In the men’s Patrick Mutunga who anchored the winning Kenyan side to the Chiba Ekiden in Japan a fortnight ago returns to record his name in the event’s history as the first repeat winner.
Mutunga stopped the timer at 29:23 in the hilly course that runs from Kanyakine to Nkubu to trounce a deep field and he is primed for the repeat performance.
The World Youth 3000m silver winner blasted to 28:08 in the third 10km stage of the marathon relay in Japan to aid his team to the title.
Fellow Machakos based runner, Cosmas Kyeva, returns to the race he finished third last year aiming for the title at the event where world 3000m record holder, Daniel Komen and the 2005 World 5000m champion, Benjamin Limo will grace.
Home hero and last year’s Hong Kong Marathon winner Cyprian Kiogora will spearhead the local challenge with strong entries expected from Southern, Central, North Rift and South Rift regions.
Race organisers received Sh1.330m backing from title sponsors Safaricom (Sh750, 000), Kiraitu Murungi (Sh200,000), Kenya Volleyball Federation chair, Waithaka Kioni (Sh100,000), Athletics Kenya (Sh100,000), AK treasurer Kinyua (Sh50,000) and two parliamentary aspirants who added Sh30,000.