Organisers are racing against time as the clock ticks on next week’s Memorial Agnes Tirop World Cross Country Tour which will be staged at the Lobo Village in Eldoret.
The National Cross Country Championships which were held at the same venue acted as a dress rehearsal for the memorial race set for February 12.
The Eldoret showpiece is the last of the 14 World Cross Country Tour series, with a strong field of world class athletes preparing for a clash in the invite-only competition. It is the only meeting in Africa. Four-time world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor and world record holder in 5000m and 10,000m, Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia are among big shots who have already been invited to the global showpiece named after athlete Agnes Tirop, who was found murdered in her house last October.
According to the organisers, 20 top male and a similar number of female cross-country have been invited for the senior categories.
Last month, during the official launch of the World Tour, Athletics Kenya indicated that top finishers at the National Cross Country, which took place on January 20, would be entered in the memorial race.
Former junior cross-country national champion Samuel Chebolei and Joyce Chepkemoi of Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), who stunned strong fields to win the senior 10km races at the recent National Cross Championships, said they were eying slots in the World Tour.
With a deep mud pit, two soil heaps and a hay barrier, the Lobo Village course proved, during the National Cross Country Championships, to be one of the toughest.
According to AK Executive committee member and Youth Development director Barnaba Korir, the Local Organising Committee is adjusting the course to make it less challenging.
“We will re-look at the depth of the muddy ground. We will make it a little bit shallow so that athletes don’t leave their shoes behind,”Korir said.