Veterans Stephen Arita and Katui Muia are set to lead a classic battle for supremacy in Machakos during the 6th Athletics Kenya Cross Country Challenge before the year come to an end.
The pair, together with local talents Caleb Mwangangi, Nancy Nzisa and Eunice Kioko, will be the leading light in the Southern Region Meet, the fifth leg in Athletics Kenya Calendar that will also mark the endn of 2016 local cross country running on Saturday.
Preparations to host the race are in top gear with expectations of high turn-out from the disciplined forces that have pitched training camps across the country ahead of their championships slated for January next year.
“The Machakos race is very important for us. Our athletes are now sharpening for cross-country and we will make them compete in this meeting before they break their training for Christmas,” said a coach from KDF, remaining anonymous owing to his junior rank.
Last year in the same place, Stephen Arita beat Franklin Ngelel to win the senior men 10km while Caroline Chepkoech won the senior women title ahead of Margaret Chelimo.
Sandra Chebet and Nicholas Kosibei claimed the junior titles and it would be exciting to see new winners carry the day in the Athletics Kenya sponsored jackpot series that started in Nairobi at the beginning of November.
Katui Muia, Japhet Korir, Geoffrey Koech, Emmanuel Kipsang and Noah Kipkemboi have registered victories in Nairobi, Kilgoris, Nyahururu, Iten and Mt Elgon in the senior men while Olympian Helen Obiri, Winfrida Moseti, Jackline Chepkosgei, Immaculate Chebet and Jackline Atudonya have won women editions apart.
Five of the seven races have been held in Nairobi, Kilgoris, Nyahururu, Iten and Kapsokwony in Mt Elgon.
Sotik in the South Rift will follow Machakos on January 7th before the grass-root competitions that will culminate with the selection of the national team to the IAAF World Cross-country championships on February 18th in Nairobi.