The Sirikwa Classic World Cross Country wants to be a key event in the World Cross Country Series. Justin Lagat has been following and updating RunBlogRun on all the events in the cross-country circuit this season in Kenya. Justin loves the sport and is a keen observer for all of us who can not be at the events in Kenya.

How good will the Kenyan team be in Australia? We will just have to wait and see, but, along with the steeplechase, the tradition of excellence in Kenya is demanded in cross country. 

Thanks to Justin Lagat for this presser update. 

Faith Kipyegon and Waithaka Mburu were featured at the press conference at the Bomas Inn in Eldoret ahead of the Sirikwa Classic World Athletics Cross Country Tour gold event that will happen tomorrow 4th February 2023.

“Thanks for inviting me to the event. I am glad to be part of the Sirikwa Classic Cross Country which will act as a good build-up for me ahead of the track season. Cross country helps a lot in building endurance,” Kipyegon said.

Faith Kipyegon, photo by Justin Lagat

“I am not a good steeplechase runner, but I am looking forward to trying the steeplechase at the Sirikwaa Classic tomorrow,” she added, talking about the barriers that have been erected on the course..

Asked, by Ayumba Ayodi of Nation Media, about her plans for the year and whether she was going to attack the world record, Kipyegon said that her reparations to run well this year are good and that she is still working on building endurance. “I am glad to be back. We shall go to the drawing board with my coach and see how we shall go towards a world record.”

Patrick Sang, photo by Justin Lagat

She was speaking right next to her coach, Patrick Sang, who went further to paint the possibility of a world record happening this year. “She came so close to the record in Monaco, and I believe that with good preparation, we can cross our fingers and wait for something good in the Horizon,” said Sang.

Stanley Waithaka Mburu was happy to return to the Lobo village in Eldoret. He is also glad that the muddy section on the course where he “almost drowned” last year has been removed.

Stanley Waithaka, photo by Justin Lagat

“I am looking forward to a good run. Last year was an amazing season for me, and it all started here in this cross-country event,” said Mburu, who went ahead and won a silver medal for Kenya at the World Championships in Eugene. “Cross country is not just physical but also a mental toughness test,” he added.

Ibrahim Hussein, Boston Marathon champion extraordinaire photo by Justin Lagat

Mburu who is hoping to qualify to represent the country at the world championships and hopefully end the 10,000m draught for Kenya said that he learned a lot from the last season. He also saw a sign.

“ The silver medal in Eugene was as smoke, and it shows there will be fire. The big drought in the 10,000m will come to an end,” Mburu said.

Celestine Karoney, a veteran sports journalist from Kenya, was the moderator.

Patrick Sang, the legendary coach of Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon;  Ibrahim Hussein,  former marathon runner, 3 – times Boston winner,  and AK president  Gen. Jackson Tuwei.

Tuwei was the first to speak, using the opportunity to welcome everyone to tomorrow’s event.

“This is an event we did everything possible to ensure we acquire it. This year, it is going to be bigger. We started working on this in 2018, and Sirikwa was the initial name we had given out to World Athletics while seeking the permit,” he said.

However, as the preparations for the inaugural event were on, the unfortunate incident where Agnes Tirop lost her life happened, and the organizers requested WA to change the name in honor of Tirop.

Second to speak was Hussein Ibrahim, who thanked AK for bringing the event to Eldoret. “It is an honor to me to be hosting it,” said Hussein.

Hussein also talked about how they have designed the course to be exciting, with a steeplechase water barrier on the course and even runners having to run through a restaurant on the course.

Patrick Sang talked about how the Cross country event has helped runners from the past and present to develop “strength and endurance.” “John Ngugi, among others, built up from the cross country to become a good 10,000m runner,” he said.




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