Big shots set for grand clash at Ndalat Gaa race

By Jonathan Komen: Thursday, October 11th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Ladies participate in senior women 8 kilometers race nduring Ndalat Gaa Isaiah Kiplagat memorial 9th edition cross country in Nandi County yesterday. 14.10.2017. PHHOTOS BY PETER OCHIENG/STANDARD.

More than 5,000 athletes are expected at the 10th Ndalat Gaa cross-country meeting at Ndalat Gaa Girls High School in Nandi County on Saturday.

The race has been renamed Isaiah Kiplagat Memorial, in honour of former Athletics Kenya President.

Kiplagat founded the race in 2009 and has served as a platform to inspire and encourage young athletes to take up athletics.

The showpiece, which attracts more than 40,000 spectators, sets stage for Kenya’s bid to defend the overall title at the 43rd IAAF world cross country championships in Aarhus, Denmark, on March 23.

The spectacle, which is billed as the biggest cross country meeting in terms of entries and spectator attendance, also serves as a dress rehearsal for the 17th IAAF world athletics championships at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on September 27- October 6.

Ndalat Gaa has turned out as a local take-off point for athletics talent to flourish.

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This is where budding athletes are nurtured and sanctified to conquer the world.

Joseph Ebuya won the 2009 Ndalat Gaa meeting and went ahead to bag the world cross-country title in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in 2010.

Home-girl and 2011 London Marathon winner Prisca Jeptoo won in 2012 after claiming silver medals at Daegu worlds while Vivian Cheruiyot went ahead to strike two gold medals in 2011 and crowned the world cross-country title.

Eliud Kipchoge, who set the new world marathon record of 2:01.39, is the meet ambassador.

Top marathoners will also use the meet to gauge their form ahead of the Amasterdam Marathon (October 21), Frankfurt Marathon (October 28) and New York City Marathon on November 4.

The race will feature different categories: Boys and Girls, 2km 4-6 years boys and girls (school teams), 4km 7-10 years boys and girls (school teams), 6km secondary school girls (school teams), 8km secondary school boys (school teams), 4km senior women (elites), 4km senior men (elites), 6km senior women (elites), 10km senior men (elites), 4km senior women (35-45 years), 2km senior women (46 years and above), 4km senior men (40-50 years), 2km senior men (46 years and above).

Noah Kipkorir and Sandra Cherono will defend their senior race titles while World under-20 5,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto is expected to star in men’s junior race.