The Seven Cross-country series heads for the homestretch with the curtain coming down this Saturday at Kabianga Universty in Sotik in the South Rift Athletics Kenya Region.
Principal dominant forces Cleophas Ngetich, Dominic Kiptarus, Caroline Chepkoech and Sheila Chepkurui underline the start-lists in the senior men and women events in a must-win contest to remain at the helm of the series for the overall crowns.
But the front-runners will have to keep their bags of winning tricks closer to their heels as they compete against headwinds likely to be mounted by new forces from Philip Langat and Faith Chepngetich who have been sitting on the fence but wish to reaffirm their authority on the grounds with victories in a repeat of last year during a similar race in the area.
Closer home, the quartet of Sandra Chebet, her sister Emily Chebet, Alfred Ngeno and Andrew Lorot will be leaving nothing to chance as they seek their last victories as juniors before moving up to the senior ranks later in the season.
The Sotik Meeting will conclude the seven country-wide competition build-up segments, paving way for the Kenya Defense Forces National Cross Country Championships on January 15th that will signal the start of all the conglomerate contests in the country.
As indicated in the Athletics Kenya calendar of events, the Kenya National Police Service Cross-country challenge will follow on January 16th, Prisons Service on January 23rd and all the other Regions on January 30th.
The seven-tier pointers have witnessed different individuals emerge from the training valves to win in different races since the series begun on November 7th in Nairobi until the last Meeting last Saturday at Kapsokwony in Mt Elgon.
The bulk of the participants will be expected to come from the training outlets in the Region such as Kericho, Keringet, Olenguruoni, Bomet, Kuresoi, Nakuru as well as from institutions like Police Service and the Prisons who have been hosting the event.
Naomi Chebet, who finished second during the 4th Premium cross-country in Iten, won in Mt Elgon with new entrants Charles Chemengich beating Nairobi winner Dominic Kiptarus to second place in the senior men 10kilometres.
Sheila Chelangat and Isaac Kipsang dominated the junior races and it will be curious to see who will carry the day in Sotik if other victors Cecilia Maria (Kangaru), Ivyn Chepkemoi (Nyahururu) and Sandra Chebet (Nairobi and Iten) compete in the final leg on Saturday.
Dominic Kiptarus, Cleophas Ngetich and Emmanuel Kipsang have won in Nairobi, Embu, Nyahururu and Iten while Caroline Chepkoech, Sheila Chepkurui and Pauline Korikwiang won the senior women 10kilometres in Nairobi, Embu and Iten.
The cross country running series plays an important part in the preparation as athletes use them to build on their endurance ahead of major global championships.
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