Track activities reach the peak this weekend with Eldoret, famed the home of champions, hosting the last Safaricom Athletics Kenya track and field building up meeting in the region reputed as the cradle of running in the country.
And for the first time in the region history, the calendar stopper will be held on tartan track after the completion of Kipchoge Stadium that has been upgraded to international specifications.
The build up competitions, to run on Friday and Saturday, will be overwhelming as the county’s top brass take to the new track and up their endurance and speed ahead of grass root rivalry that will kick-start the programme for the World Champiomships and All Africa Games.
“All is set for the 5th Safaricom Athletics Kenya Weekend Tournament. Many of our top notch and budding runners have assured us of their participation. There are many who have opted out of the Diamond League into to intensify their training locally,” said Kennedy Tanui, Central Rift Region AK Assistant secretary.
Multiple champions Ezekiel Kemboi, Mercy Cherono, Vivian Cheruiyot, Irene Birgen, Geoffrey Kamworor and a dozen elite athletes have been training for the last Meeting and would be cautious of spirited rivalry from new entrants known to cause upsets during local competitions.
Going by the histoty of the region that boast of hosting the highest concentration of top class athletes in the world, an unpredictated number would be in the North Rift Capital and programme should be handle with the precision of a surgeon.
“We are aware of the great number that is going to turn up especially on the first day. We are going to have several heats and semis and officials are to be deligent and fast. We will do our best. The track is ready and we are going to use it for the first time,” added Barnabas Kitilit, the Central Rift Vice-chairman.
During the last outing in Kisii a fortnight ago, World cross country and world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor and former world junior star Caroline Tuikong produced sparkling performance with the former clocking 3:40.7 in 1,500metres.
The upgrading of Kipchoge Stadium to international specification is going to shift the trend of national competitions and boost training of the great number of runners who use the region’s high altitude during their preparations.
This is the first public tartan facility in Kenya. Kenya-turn Dutch Lornah Kiplagat has supplimented government efforts with a similar track in Iten, but run it as a private entity.
Eldoret is going to be last build up competitions after the five series hold up that saw athletes compete in Bondo in Nyanza North, Thika in Central Region, Nakuru in the South Rift and Kisii in Nyanza South.
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