NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – World 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot will team up with Commonwealth Games tittle holder, Elijah Manangoi and 800m runner Edwin Meli to compete against the Norwegian Ingebrigtsen brothers in a virtual race June 11.
The virtual race will be a 2,000m event christened ‘Maurie Plant Memorial Race’.
The Ingebrigtsen brothers, Jakob, Filip and Henrik will run in Oslo, while Cheruiyot and his compatriots will race at the Nyayo National Stadium with the two events, also christened ‘The Impossible Games’, set to be shown on international TV as a split screen competition.
“We are proud that we were chosen and identified by Norway to participate in this race. This is a vote of confidence in our country and all of us and our dedication to sportsmen and women,” Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed stated.
Each of the teams will have two pacesetters and team Cheruiyot have settled on Timothy Sein and Vincent Keter. The five athletes, coached by Bernard Ouma started their training at the Nyayo National Stadium on Tuesday.
“It feels so good to be back on the track and training again. It had been difficult training in isolation but we are so glad to be back here. We will be ready for the competition and we are doing all we can to get our bodies in shape,” Cheruiyot, the team leader stated.
With most of the Diamond League races disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Oslo Diamond Leage organizers have decided to organize the race to pay tribute to legendary Australian athlete Maurie Plant, who passed away in January this year.
Both teams will start with five runners and will have to finish with three.
The winner of the match-up will be the team with the best overall time for three runners, with the individual times set to count as well.
The Ingebrigtsen brothers will also be looking to break the European 2,000m record of 4:51.39, held by British legend Steve Cram. Interestingly, the Briton will also be commentator for the race.
“Maurie loved middle distance running and he loved Bislett. But he also loved nontraditional arrangements of events. Our idea is to honor him with such an event which is completely in line with everything he loved,” meet director Steinar Hoen said.
It will be another record attempt by one of the Ingebrigtsen’s with Jakob having earlier broken the Norwegian 5km record last week running alongside elder brother Henrik.
For the Kenyans, especially Manangoi who is coming off a long injury lay-off, this will be an opportune moment to build up for the new season and test himself against fitter athletes.
The race will be the first major event at the Nyayo National Stadium whose renovation is set to be completed by the end of the month.