By Joseph Ngure

Preparations for the annual Safaricom Ndalat Gaa Kids Cross-country are ready with over 2,000 participants expected to compete on Saturday.

The event, which will be kick-starting the cross-country season, has attracted heavyweights with double world champion and reigning world cross star Vivian Cheruiyot confirming participation.

Abraham Mutai, Athletics Kenya Nandi North Chairman, said the cross-country course would be adjusted to suit all categories of runners.

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“We want all participants to have fun while running in their respective categories. There will be 12 categories with special attention going to the young kids,” said the Mutai.

The race, in its fourth edition, will have 12 different classes with kids aged below seven years competing in 500 metres at the course spread at Ndalat Gaa Girls playing grounds.

“Our main aim is to encourage kids to develop interests in athletics. We want them to enjoy the sport and discover their talents,” added the official.

Apart from 500 metres, kids aged between eight and 10 years would run 1km both boys and girls while those in 11 and 12 years bracket will do one loop covering 2km.

In addition, boys and girls aged between 13 to 15 years will cover 4km by going through the course two times.

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“Schools would be doing the normal junior cross-country courses with girls running in the 6km and boys 8km junior men. We have invited several institutions and we want to encourage them to take advantage of this race,” said the chairman.

Stiff rivalry will provide the climax of the championship where the senior women would be covering the traditional 8kilometres and senior men 12km.

Apart from Vivian Cheruiyot, Olympics marathon silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo, reigning Africa cross-country champion Joyce Chepkurui and former World half marathon champion Wilson Kiprop have confirm their participation.

Women aged 45 years and men above 50 will run 2Km and those between 30-45 (women) and 40-50 (men) will compete in 4km special categories.

Schools will be benefit more as the winning team will claim Sh60, runners up Sh40,000 and number 3 Sh30,000. The fourth and fifth team takes to school Sh20,000 and Sh10,000.

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In the individual categories, winners would be pocketing Sh20,000 and the prizes spread to the 10th who will take home Sh1,000.
Last Month, mobile phone service provider Safaricom, the main sponsors, gave the event a boost with Sh750,000.

Other sponsors include National Bank of Kenya, Kenya Seed Company, Nike, Coca Cola, Kass FM and Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat, who is also the patron.

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