ALL SYSTEMS GO

600 athletes expected at third leg of AK Cross Country Series in Nyandarua

Machakos and Nandi hosted the first and second legs of the cross country series respectively whereas the national cross country championships will be held on February 19-20.

In Summary

• AK Nyandarua chairperson Mfae describes the warm weather and terrain in the area as perfect for a cross country championship

•AK has been working closely with the Nyandarua County government to institute Covid-19 measures

Sheila Chelangat leads the pack in the women's 10k race during the national athletics championships at Ngong race course on February 15, 2020.
Sheila Chelangat leads the pack in the women's 10k race during the national athletics championships at Ngong race course on February 15, 2020.
Image: ERICK BARASA

About 600 athletes are expected to grace Saturday's Athletics Kenya Cross Country Championships in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County. 

AK Nyandarua County branch chairperson Francis Kamau said the bumper entry into the third leg of the series is due to the venue's proximity to Nyahururu town, a training ground for many athletes. 

"We have an estimated 400 athletes training in the nearby Nyahururu town. Then, there are athletes from other areas who we expect will also want to compete. Registration will be done early morning on the d-day," Kamau said. 

He described the prevailing weather and terrain in the area as perfect for a cross country championship. 

"This time the weather is warm, unlike during previous editions. We have also been inspecting the course and the terrain is very suitable for a cross country event," he said. 

The leg was supposed to be held on January 9 but was brought forward to allow athletes ample rest before they embark on the Country Cross Country Championships, which commence on January 13. 

Nonetheless, Kamau said it is all systems go in readiness for Saturday's event. 

"Today, we have been putting in the final touches including the completion of the podium," he said. 

Kamau added that AK has been working closely with the Nyandarua County government to institute Covid-19 measures in place by setting up the required hygiene facilities at the venue. 

"They have provided us with running water, sanitisation booths for washing hands and sanitisers," Kamau said. 

Machakos and Nandi hosted the first and second legs of the cross country series respectively whereas the national cross country championships will be held on February 19/20. 

In the Machakos edition, Daniel Simiu and Hellen Obiri emerged triumphant in the senior 10km race for men and women respectively. 

In the Nandi edition, former African cross country bronze medalist Charles Yosei and former world youth 3,000m bronze medalist Sheila Chelangat emerged victorious. 

However, Simiu is likely to miss the Nyandarua event since he was scheduled to compete at the San Silvestre Vallecana 10km Road Race, Madrid last evening. 

Simiu — who came fourth in Nandi — hopes to participate in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and the World Cross Country championships and plans to develop a rich vein of form until then. 

His absence from Ol Kalou offers other competitors an opportunity to kickstart their athletics calendar with a podium finish and hopefully maintain the tempo in a packed cross country schedule. 

The championships are meant to prepare athletes in anticipation for the national cross country championships where AK will select a team to represent the country at the Africa Cross Country Championships in Lome, Togo on March 6.