Ndalat Gaa to start X-Country season this weekend

With the 2019 athletics track and field season done and dusted, focus now turns to cross country which will culminate with the 2020 Africa Cross Country championship to be hosted by Tanzania. As usual the first on the calendar is the annual Ndalat Gaa Cross Country event scheduled for Saturday October 19, in Ndalaat Gaa Girls High School in Nandi County. And being the 11th edition the event now christened Isaiah Kiplagat Memorial Cross County to honor the departed long serving former Athletics Kenya Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat, who pioneered the event 11 years ago to nurture talent from the area, the event has grown through leaps and bounds with over 7000 athletes expected this time round; a huge increase from the 6000 who took part in the 10th edition, according to the race organisers. “Registration is absolutely free, and as you now this is the event that taps talent from this athletics rich region; we expect the number to be higher considering it’s the first cross country event before the new season,” said coach David Letting who is among the organizers. Defending champion Rhonex Kipruto is yet to confirm his participation in this year’s event while Sandra Chebet will be out, taking part in the New Delhi Half Marathon leaving the mantle to her younger sister, the world junior cross country champion, Beatrice Chebet who won the junior category last year but has since graduated to the senior ranks. Kipruto, fresh from winning bronze in the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar won last year’s event in 30:52.4 as Bravin Kogei won the junior men’s race in 25:09.6. World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge who last weekend became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours who is the race ambassador is expected to grace the occasion. There will be more than 12 categories with young kids and veterans and elders above 40 years covering different distances ranging from 500m to 10Km with age classification. The winners in all race categories will go home with cash prizes and material awards.

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