- She recently made her half marathon debut, clocking 1:11:37 in Boston earlier this month.
- Kurgat placed third in Austin last year, finishing 12 seconds adrift of eventual winner Alicia Monson.
Mercy Chelangat will lead Kenya's medal hunt at the World Athletics Cross Country Tour in Texas, USA on November 30.
Chelangat will however face stiff competition from US cross-country champion Ednah Kurgat who will look to improve upon her third-place finish from last year as well as USA’s Krissy Gear.
Chelangat has won NCAA titles over 10,000m (2022) and at cross country (2020). She recently made her half marathon debut, clocking 1:11:37 in Boston earlier this month.
Kurgat’s last cross-country race was at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, where she placed 18th in the senior women’s race.
She went on to enjoy a strong track campaign in 2023, setting PBs for 5000m and 10,000m, and taking bronze in the latter distance at the Pan-American Games.
She has also excelled on the roads, winning the US 6km title and picking up national medals over 10km and 20km.
Kurgat placed third in Austin last year, finishing 12 seconds adrift of eventual winner Alicia Monson, but she’ll feel confident in her chances of improving upon that on Thursday.
Gear, meanwhile, won the US steeplechase title earlier this year, clocking a PB of 9:12.81. Thursday’s race will be her first competitive outing since the World Championships in Budapest.
In the men's category, the likes of Wesley Kiptoo, Olin Hacker and Adriaan Wildschutt will also return to Austin where they’ll face the likes of Charles Hicks.
Kiptoo and Hacker were separated by just two seconds in the men’s race in Austin last year, finishing sixth and seventh respectively. Both will be targeting podium places, having enjoyed strong seasons so far in 2023.
Kiptoo, the 2021 NCAA indoor 5000m champion, made his marathon debut in Chicago last month, finishing 12th in 2:10:28. Earlier this year, he clocked a PB of 1:00:35 when finishing second at the Houston Half Marathon.
Hacker, the 2022 NCAA 5000m champion, has this year set PBs for the 1500m, mile, 3000m and 5000m. More recently, he placed 14th over 5km at the World Road Running Championships in Riga.
Britain’s Charles Hicks will likely be a tough opponent. He won the European U23 5000m title earlier this year, but he excels at cross country too, having won two European U23 titles on that surface, as well as the 2022 NCAA title.
Other contenders include Kenya’s 2018 NCAA 10,000m silver medallist Vincent Kiprop, and USA’s Pan-American 1500m bronze medallist Casey Comber.
The Texas championship is the only US-based Gold stage of the World Athletics Cross Country Tour.