By Jonathan Komen
World cross-country champion Vivian Cheruiyot will lead a stellar line-up at the Kenya Police cross-country championships at Ngong Race Course today.
Representing her CID wing, the world 5,000m and 10,000m champion will be up against three-time world cross-country silver medalist Linet Masai at the lush green and well-manicured cross-country circuit.
The spectacle, which often sets the world cross-country title chase on course, brings together best talents in cross-country running.
Florence Kiplagat, the 2009 world cross-country winner in Amman and former ING New York Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat will also spice up the big field.
Cheruiyot and Masai share glaring identities at world cross-country competitions. And will use the event to shake off their long holiday rust.
Both were winners at the world cross-country junior contests, with Cheruiyot a notch ahead after winning the 2011 world cross-country championships in Punta Umbria, Spain.
The pint-sized Kenya Police “pocket rocket” has lofty dreams ahead of Bydgoszcz: “I am ready for the competition. I am longing to defend my title, especially after IAAF turned world cross-country into a bi-annual event. I want to be the first to successfully defend the title in a rather different format.”
And the showpiece will also offer Masai a bearing on her quest to improve her pecking order at the world cross-country, lining up against the mighty police squad.
Other big guns longing to arrest the CID girl Cheruiyot at Ngong include two-time world cross-country champion Mercy Cherono, world 5,000m silver medalist Sylvia Kibet and former world cross-country junior silver medalist Prisca Jepleting.
Former Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, world best marathoner Geoffrey Mutai and Commonwealth 3,000m steeplechase champion Richard Matelong will lead the men’s charges. At the same time, Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country Championship action will light up Thika Barracks tomorrow morning.
World Military Games 5,000m champion Mark Kiptoo will lead the soldiers assault in the senior race.