By Joseph Ngure
The eve of Christmas on December 24 will mark the date of Eighth edition of the annual Shoe4Africa Women’s 5km race in Iten with more than 1,000 participants targeted for the event.
Last year over 1,100 women lined up outside the High Altitude Training Centre to take part in the event that was held on the hilly 5km circuit running along the Iten-Eldoret road before turning off on the trails of a small Kenyan village that is dubbed Home of Champions.
The race will be flagged off by Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat in the morning hours, who will be the chief guest.
Athletes such as Sylvia Kibet (twice world 5,000m silver medalist), Dutchwoman Lornah Kiplagat, Berlin Marathon winner Florence Kiplagat, and Edna Kiplagat (not related) have all participated in this annual race.
World marathon major winner Mary Keitany starting her professional career here in 2006.
“It is a race that has molded many stars of today,” said race director Toby Tanser.
“Because there is no entry fee and the prize money encourages upcoming and elite female runners try their luck.”
The race also gives out hundreds of free pairs of second-hand running shoes each year. In addition, this year, one lucky winner will walk home with an Apple Ipad that would be raffled.
Keiyo district athletics Kenya branch chairman and also world record holder opf 3000m, Daniel Komen, said this was the premier 5km road race in the country and encouraged all aspiring participants to register early.
“I advice athletes to register early before the deadline,” he said.
Registration starts on Dec ember 22 at Four Corners Shop at the Kerio View junction, close to the High Altitude Training Camp.
Global recognised heroine Janeth Jepkosgei, Florence Kiplagat, Edna Kiplagat and Mary Keitany will be there to support the ladies who will include women and small girls.
Last year, local sensation Joyce Chepkurui pocketed $1,500 for winning the event and setting a new course record.
Focus will be on new runners who eye to set a fast time and take home the bonus for course record.