•Nandi Hills, Kilgoris, Nyamira, Taita Hills and Bomet have been identified as possible venues for future mountain running events in Kenya
•Mountain running head coach Ngure hopes that mountain running event in Naivasha will unearth more talents in the sport
•AK hopes to send representatives to next year's World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Telfe, Austria
Athletics Kenya are looking beyond this weekend's Mountain Running Championships in Naivasha to popularise the sport in the country.
Nandi Hills, Kilgoris, Nyamira, Taita Hills and Bomet have been identified as possible venues for future mountain running events in Kenya.
"We are working to popularise the sport. AK will be working on a calendar during which we will communicate the dates for these events at the respective venues," head coach Joseph Ngure.
Ngure added that Sunday's event in Naivasha will aid the growth of the sport by unearthing more talents.
"We already have a mountain running camp in Naivasha. It is our hope that the event will raise awareness in the public domain," he said.
Apart from popularising mountain running, the Naivasha meet will also be an opportunity for athletes to sharpen themselves in readiness for next year's World Masters Mountain Running championships in Telfes, Austria.
The event was originally planned for this year at the same venue but was cancelled due to Covid-19.
"During the mountain running championships at Meru early this year, we had identified some talents that we will continue to monitor for consistency in their performance. This weekend's event in Naivasha also offers us a chance to identify other talents," Ngure said.
Athletes hoping to compete in the cross country season — which commences on November 28 — will also use the event to build up their endurance levels.
Meanwhile, Sh500,000 kitty has been established to award different winners across the different categories.
"The committee has set a side Sh500,000 for prize money and the winners in the three categories will walk home with sh20,000, sh30,000 and sh50,000 for 8km junior men, 8km senior women and 10km for senior men respectively,” Peter Angwenyi, the AK Mountain Running coordinator said.
Angwenyi added that a huge number of participants have enlisted for the event, whose registration deadline is on Saturday.
Seasoned mountain runners expected to participate include two-time Mountain Running World Champion Lucy Murigi, Mt Kenya Mountain Running champion Purity Gitonga, Joyce Njeru and Viola Jelagat.
In the men's category, Mt Kenya Mountain Running champion Emmanuel Bor will square off against veteran mountain runner Geoffrey Gikoni in the 10km race that also includes Dickson Simba.