NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto has been appointed the ambassador of Ndalat Gaa Cross-Country ahead of the eighth edition scheduled to run October 15 in Nandi County.
Kipruto, who launched his athletics career at the event in 2010 where he finished fourth in the 4km, confirmed that he will participate in this year’s men’s 12km race as a role model to upcoming athletes.
“I want to compete so that I can encourage and motivate young athletes who want be successful athletes in future. I started my career here way back when I was in primary school and by me participating, it’s enough motivation to upcoming athletes,” Kipruto said.
Kipruto had a successful 2016 season, winning his first Olympic title and the IAAF Diamond League trophy that came with Ksh 4 million cash prize money.
The 21-year-old is now focusing on breaking the men’s steeplechase world record as well as winning the World Championship title next year in London.
This year’s Ndalat Gaa Cross-Country will be held in honour of the late Isaiah Kiplagat who was the founder of the race with organizers saying from next year, it will be changed to be known as the Isaiah Kiplagat Road Race.
“This event has grown significantly over the last seven years. We appreciate the support of our sponsors, partners and athletes who have taken part in the race, which is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated athletics events in Nandi County,” the organizing Secretary of the event, Kennedy Tanui said.
“We are committed to carrying on the legacy of our race founder by ensuring that the effort he put into making this event a success continues to have impact for many years to come,” he added.
Ndalat Gaa Cross-Country is the seventh race in the 2016 Safaricom Athletics Series, in the long distance races category.
As one of the biggest athletics event in the North Rift, it traditionally attracts a large number of participants from all over of the country, with about 5,000 athletes expected to take part in front of a 30,000 spectator crowd.
“Our history with this event dates back to the year 2008, when we sponsored the inaugural cross-country to the tune of Ksh 300,000. Since then the event has grown significantly from the 200 athletes who participated eight years ago,” Safaricom Head of Regional Sales and Operations for Nairobi West, Victor Ngumo stated.
“I’m also proud to say that as the event has grown so has our sponsorship, and I believe that this reflects the growing importance of the race not just to the community, but to Safaricom as a great supporter of athletics in Kenya.”
Unlike the other races in the Safaricom Athletics Series there will be no advance registration for the Ndalat Gaa Cross-Country where Ksh 2million prize money has been set for the top athletes in each race.
The race has produced some of the world Champions including Asbel Kiprop, Prisca Jeptoo, Faith Chepngetich, Caroline Chepkoech, Agnes Tirop and Kipruto.
Other upcoming races in the series this year include, Madoka Half Marathon (Wundanyi), Imenti South Road Race (Meru) and the Kisumu County Half Marathon.