NAIROBI, Kenya, February 20 – Paul Tanui and Linet Masai will spearhead Kenya’s challenge at next month’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydogszcz, Poland.Tanui obliterated the rest of the competition in the 12 km senior men’s category by winning the race in 30:12.5 on Saturday, five seconds ahead of second placed Lucas Rotich at the Uhuru Gardens.
“I did not expect to be leading the race for so long. My aim was to keep up with the leading pack and then see what happens from there,” said Tanui.
“When I got to the front I decided to open up the gap because I didn’t want to take any chances because who knew what my counterparts were up to,” said the Nyanza South runner.
Masai also produced a dominant display in the senior women’s race with a superb time of 26:43.0 despite running with one shoe for most of the race.
“Running with one shoe was not very comfortable but I tried my best,” said Masai who was running for Kenya Police.
“I’m very happy with the way the race went today. I planned all along that I would break at the halfway stage and that’s what happened,” added the current 10,000m World champion.
Masai who finished second behind compatriot Florence Kiplagat at last year’s World Cross Country championships in Amman is not wary of the expected potent challenge from the Ethiopians but is more concerned with her form.
“I hope I can win gold this time round. The Ethiopians don’t worry me. I’ll just go there and run my race,” said the 20-year old.
The 27 member strong team will report to Kigari Teachers Training College on Wednesday for camp.
Senior Men: Paul Tanui, Lucas Rotich, Joseph Ebuya, Hosea Macharinyang, Leonard Komon, Richard Mateelong, Mathew Kisorio
Senior Women: Linet Masai, Lineth Chepkirui, Margaret Wangari, Emily Muge, Anne Wanjiru, Gladys Chepngeno
Junior Men: Charles Chebet, Paul Mutero,nCaleb Mwangangi, Japeth Korir, Gideon Kipketer, Isaiah Kiplagat
Junior Women: Nelly Chebet, Purity Cherotich, Faith Chepngetich, Mercy Cherono, Alice Aprot, Esther Chemtai