NAIROBI, December 2- Riveting action is in the offing this weekend as the self-styled ‘University of Champions’, Iten hosts the 4th Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Series meeting on Saturday.
Three-time world men 1500m champion and Mombasa 2007 IAAF World Cross junior 8km winner, Asbel Kiprop and African 10,000m champion, Alice Aprot will add the star dust to the senior 12km and 8km races.
Cleophas Ng’etich and Caroline Chepkoech will be the runners to beat in the long races after romping to victory in the opening three meets of Nairobi, Embu and Nyahururu.
Other notable contestants include Dominic Kiptarus who won in Nairobi and came second in Nyahururu and Sheila Chepkirui, the run-away victor in Embu who closed the podium in Nyahururu last weekend.
In the junior events, Alfred Ng’eno, Cyrus Loikong and Andrew Lorot have claimed victories apiece in Nairobi, Embu and Nyahururu for the men while World Junior 2000m steeplechase silver medallist Sandra Felis Chebet, Cecilia Maria and Ivyn Chepkemoi topped in the three opening meets in that order.
The six will vie for honours in Iten as the jackpot race in the seven-meet series takes shape halfway through the domestic cross season.
St. Patrick’s School Iten, the institution where many a champion runners have been incubated over the decades will provide the fitting venue for the cross showdown.
“This time, we have shifted the competition from the traditional Iten playing field because of prevailing weather conditions. Part of the field is waterlogged and not serviceable at the moment,” Elgeyo Marakwet Country Sports Officer George Obumba, said.
“As it has been the tradition, we have endorsement from our world champions, Commonwealth Games winners and those who have won big races here and abroad. This is their home and they will not let their fans down,” North Rift Athletics Kenya Chairman Ma (Rtd) Michael Rotich added.