By Joseph Ngure
The race for the KCB Athletics Kenya Sh1.2 million end on Saturday with South Rift hosting the last meeting in Kericho.
The meet, to be staged at the traditional Kericho Teachers Training College, concludes the seven- race competition with no clear favourite particularly in the senior men race.
The South Rift meet is going to be a must-run for Mt Elgon winner Hosea Mwok Macharinyang and likely rival Geoffrey Kirui who clinched the title in Machakos.
Macharinyang and Kirui have competed in three previous meetings and have collecting five and 10 points and the fourth competition is mandatory if they wish to have a share of the cross-country jackpot this year.
Macharinyang, a cross-country championship material, entered the jackpot race in Nyahururu when he finished second to Peter Mateelong before wining in Mt Elgon.
There was a repeat of the Nyarururu performance in Embu with Mateelong taking the title.Kirui won in Machakos, finished fifth in Mt Elgon and Embu. For Mateelong, despite collecting two points from two encounters, he cannot qualify as the rule demands one to participant in at least four out of the seven-leg meetings.
A first place finish means one point which means the lower the points tally then the higher the chances of bagging the jackpot.
In the senior women race, competing in Kericho would also see 2010 World Cross Country champion Emily Chebet, Iten-based Phanencer Chemutai and marathoner Beatrice Chepkemoi as the finalists.
Chebet is the undisputable bet, outclassing her opponents with three victories (three points) after winning in Nyahururu, Machakos and Kisii.
Chemutai, third in Kisii, fifth in Mt Elgon and third in Embu lies second with 11 points whereas Chepkemoi is the third finalist with 15 points collected from position six in Nyahururu, Embu and third in Eldoret last weekend.
Sheila Chepng’etich, Agnes Chebet and Moses Mukono are the frontrunners in the junior cross-country battle with four competitions tugged under their belts.
The three have run in the minimum four competitions and only point differences would be deciding the winner.
Chepng’etich won in Nyahururu, Mt Elgon (two points) and ranked fourth twice (8points) in Embu and Eldoret and ties with Chebet who has similar points.The latter won points in Nyahururu (three), Kisii (three), Mt Elgon (two), Embu (two) and Eldoret where she finished third.