The one outstanding advantage that all the big Kenyan athletics events have is that most of the best runners in the world train nearby, and they won’t need to book plane tickets to arrive at the venues. The Great Chepsaita Cross Country Run, a World Athletics Bronze level event, will arguably attract great competitions next weekend, on the 2nd of December, in Uasin Gishu County. It will also be one of the country’s highest-paying cross-country events, hence an excellent monetary incentive for more elite runners and upcoming talents to turn up in large numbers.
Chepsaita Secondary School, where the event will happen, is strategically located where three counties are close by. Located about 55 km west of Eldoret town, along the highway that connects Kenya and the neighboring country of Uganda, it is at the border between Nandi and Uasing Gishu Counties. While the secondary school is in Uasin Gishu County, Chepsaita village extends across the two counties, and Chepsaita Primary School is in Nandi County. The event’s venue is also just about five kilometers from Kakamega County. In the three counties, there have been campaigns to bring fans into the event, and it promises to be another massive athletics event in the country.The course will be tough; organizers have shortened the senior men’s and women’s categories to about 8 km. The junior categories have also been shortened. The U20 women will cover 4.91 km, while the U20 men will do 6.48 km.

The reigning World Cross Country Champion, Beatrice Chebet; the World 800m champion, Mary Moraa; the 2021 World U20 1500m champion, Vincent Keter; the second-fastest 10K runner in the world, Agnes Jebet Ngetich, and 2021 Kenyan national cross country champion, Sheilah Chelangat were among the elite runners who attended the launch of the event on the 22nd of November. The event was graced by the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Ababu Namwamba.

New talents will be discovered as athletic fans get familiarized –and opportunities to meet in person- with the big names to watch out for in the shape-up to the World Cross Country Championships that will happen in March next year in Belgrade. The top finishers here will also earn places to participate at the Sirikwa Classic World Continental Tour Gold level cross country meeting in Eldoret in February.

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