As Athletics Kenya prepares to stage the National Cross Country Championships at the Lobo Village, Uasin Gishu County, coach Julius Kirwa is optimistic of staging a successful event.
This will be the second time the national event moves from the capital Nairobi to the Central Rift region and as such, pressure abounds to ensure the federation ticks all the boxes.
In addition, the event will be used to gauge the country’s preparedness for the Agnes Tirop Memorial Cross Country Championships – part of the World Cross Country Tour – next month.
The seasoned Kirwa – with more than two decades of experience – observed that taking the competition to different regions will make it have a national outlook.
“It is the second time the cross country is held outside Nairobi with the Eldoret Sports Club having hosted the first (on February 23, 2019),” Kirwa observed.
“Most athletes are based outside Nairobi and we would like to see them compete thoroughly in their regions. Next year we might take it to Nyahururu or anywhere else, outside Nairobi.”
Kirwa added: “Some athletes are unable to raise funds to travel to Nairobi for competitions and the idea of having events at the regions, especially cross country, is the best gift we can give them as part of their training.”
Kirwa, however, warned athletes to brace for a tough season, urging them to take the cross country series seriously since it is the best build-up for track, where major events like Commonwealth Games, World Championships and the usual Diamond League circuit await.
Kirwa was speaking at the venue of the national and World Tour events where a team from from Athletics Kenya has been camping for over two weeks.
“We are doing really well with our preparations and the course is almost complete,” said Kirwa. “Being a new venue, we have had to arrange and rearrange the obstacles as wellbas watering the grass to ensure it reaches the best of standards when the day of the event comes.”
Kirwa derived pride in being part of the team mandated with developing a course that everybody will be proud of on January 22 and during the World Tour.
“We are certain everyone one will be happy with what we are working on,” he concluded.
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