The Star (Nairobi)

31 January 2013

Kenya: Elites for Discovery

LONDON Marathon champion Wilson Kipsang and the 2006 Beijing winner, James Kwambai are expected to face off in the Nike International Discovery Half Marathon this Sunday in Eldoret.

The race, which will be mark its 22nd edition is also expected to attract top road racers in the country as build-up for the April spring marathons hots up.

Kipsang holds the sixth fastest time of 58:59 in half marathon and has a marathon personal best of 2:03.42, which he posted in 2011 in Frankfurt. The time ranks him second fastest marathoner of all time, behind the world record holder, Patrick Makau who holds the top mark of 203:38.

He made his debut in marathon in 2010 at the Paris Marathon, finishing third and won Olympic bronze last year in London .

Kwambai, who comes from Marakwet on the other hand, basks in the glory of his marathon experience and victories he has secured over the years. Last year, he finished third at the Seoul International Marathon and has many titles tucked under his belt in half marathon.

His victory of 2.04.27 at the 2009 Rotterdam marathon made him the third fastest marathoner at that time. Organisers said the men's event is expected to attract over 800 athletes compared to last year's 600 entrants.

The 21-Kilometre contest is sponsored by Nike International and organised by the Italian Rosa Associati.

"We expect more marathoners since the season for the World Marathons Majors is on. We expect most marathoners to use Discovery race a testing ground," chief organizer, David Letting said.

The race will start at Eldo Centre before covering a 3km loop seven times. The race ends at Eldoret Municipal grounds.

"Registration will start early because of weather and we expect the race to kick off at 9.00 am," Letting said.Meanwhile, former two-time world cross country champion, Phillip Mosima, will be a star attraction at the Nyanza South regional championships tomorrow in Gucha.

"The regional championships will be held at Tendere High School on the outskirts of Ogembo town," said Athletics Kenya Nyanza South treasurer Charles Obwogi.

He said the trials will bring together athletes from Nyamira, Kisii and Migori counties. "All the sub counties will send teams but we have opened the championships to allow athletes who did not take in the trials," he added. He said stiff competition is expected in the senior men and senior women's races.

"Mosima is likely to face off with seasoned athletes like Wesley Ochoro and Jairus Chanchima," added Obwogi. In the women's category, stiff competition is expected between Irene Mogaka and Damaris Areba. He said teams will pay a participation of Sh300 while individual athletes will pay Sh50.

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