Seasonal Cross-country stars Nancy Nzisa and Eunice Kioko will be the star attraction when Machakos host the last Athletics Kenya Premium off-road contest of the year this Saturday.
More than 500 athletes are expected to grace the cross-country meeting after the last competitions in Iten where 480 participants turned up for the 4th Leg held at St Patrick’s High School Playing Grounds in Elgeyo Marakwet County.
The year-ender, the 5th in a series of 7, will also be providing platforms for new contestants with participants expected from the hosting region of Southern, Central, Nairobi and the Eastern regions of the Athletics Kenya affiliates before the series take a break for Christmas.
The duo of Nzisa and Kioko, who have shown some element of consistency in the off-road races, will be the opponents to beat as they enjoy home-ground advantage but expect equal challenge from cross-country front-runners.
Peter Wambua, Fredrick Musyoki and Ephrahim Mwangi will take into the senior men battle where Cleophas Ngetich, Dominic Kiptarus and Emmanuel Kipsang are in the leading positions after winning in the first four preceding legs.
So far, Caroline Chepkoech, Sheila Chepkirui and Pauline Korikwiang have claimed the podium middle positions with the former winning in Kangaru and in Nyahururu while Sheila won in Nairobi when the seven series started. Korikwiang triumphed in Iten early this month.
Nzisa has finished second twice in Nairobi and Embu while Kioko has claimed the 5th position two times in Nairobi and Embu while Mary Njoki Ndung’u and Pauline Wangui have been in vintage view in the circuits.
Sandra Chebet (Nairobi and Iten), Cecilia Maria (Kangaru) and Ivyn Chepkemoi are the front-runners in junior women 6kilometres so far where Alfred Ngeno (Nairobi), Cyrus Loikong (Kagaru), Andrew Lorot (Nyahururu) and Peter Kipserem (Iten) boast of a single victory each in the previous 4 weekend competitions.
Other favourites in the junior battle ground include Nicholas Kemei who finished second in Iten, Moses Koech, runners up in Nyahururu and Nicholas Kosilbet and Joshua Nakeri, second and third in Kangaru and Nyahururu.
Immaculate Chepkirui, Veronica Masya, Miriam Cherop and Emily Chebet are other serious contestants for the junior women overall title alongside Betty Chepkemoi and Daisy Jepkemei after finishing in the top positions Nairobi, Kangaru, Nyahururu and Iten and respectively.
The Machakos Premium Cross-county, coming after the best performers of the year were feted during the AK Gala in Nairobi last week, will be marking the end of the 2015 Athletics Kenya local competitions.
Kapsokwony in Mt Elgon of the Western Athletics Kenya region and Sotik in the South Rift will play hosts to the remaining two cross-country meetings in the New Year. The races will be held on 2nd and 9th January 2016.
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