Date: 19 January 2017 13:31
Some of the world’s finest athletes, Olympic champion Jemimah Sumgong and Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri will clash Friday at the Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country at Thika garrison.
Obiri, who won the women’s championship in 2014, is among five athletes that have dominated at the Forces cross country including defending champion Sheila Chepkirui. Others are Linet Chepkirui, who won in 2011, the 2015 Berlin Marathon champion Gladys Cherono, a winner in 2013, and the 2015 champ Sheila Jepleting.
Most of these athletes are currently enjoying good form, having won several races locally and on international scene.
Obiri won two legs of Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series in Nairobi in November and Machakos in December before proceeding to triumph in Campaccio Cross Country race in Italy on January 6.
“My body is feeling great and I just can’t wait for my maiden World Cross Country,” said the eager Obiri who will be taking part for the first time at the National Cross Country Championships on February 18 in Nairobi. “I have never taken part at the event but I am focus this time around.”
Sumgong returned to Brazil where she won the marathon title in August for yet another victory at the St. Silvester road race in Sao Paulo on New Year’s Eve.
Competing in her first race since March, Cherono, who is the 2014 World Half Marathon champion, finished fourths during in Machakos.
Also seeking to raise dust in the women’s race are former World Cross Junior silver medallists Veronica Nyaruai and Pauline Korikwiang and steeplechaser Mercy Njoroge.
Nyaruai, making her first international outing in four years, won Houston Half Marathon on Monday while Korikwiang claimed victory at the Sotik leg of AK Cross Series.
The men’s field is also saturated with stars including defending champion Emmanuel Kipsang, 2013 champion Leonard Oloitiptip, veteran Mark Kiptoo, Steve Arita, Geoffrey Kirui and Vincent Kiprop.