Kenya Defence Forces champion Hellen Obiri and her Kenya Prisons counterpart Alice Aprot go head-on at the second leg of Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series planned for Saturday at the Ol Kalou Sports grounds, Nyandarua County.
It will be Obiri's first race this season since the Ostrava IAAF Continental Cup on September 8, where she settled for bronze in the 3,000m race.
"I am ready for the challenge and especially Aprot, who I should say has more cross country experience," said Obiri, who declared her interest both for the National and World Cross Country women's 10km titles.
"I have never participated at the National Cross Country Championships trials save for last year when I took part in the relays. I want to go for the major one now" declared Obiri, the reigning World 5,000m champion.
Obiri, who won the Commonwealth Games and Africa 5,000m titles in April and August this year respectively, explained that she will skip the IAAF World Indoor Tour next year to concentrate of the World Cross Country Championships, World Championships and Africa Games.
"I want to go for all the titles next year God willing. I want to go for my maiden World Cross title, then defend my World title in Qatar, before seeking my first African Games crown," said the 28-year-old Obiri, who hinted at scaling to 10,000m ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Aprot, the 2017 World Cross Country silver medallist, dared Obiri saying she is ready for the challenge.
"It will be an interesting battle since this is the first time we shall meet in cross country," said Aprot, who won the Africa Cross Country and Africa 10,000m titles in 2016.
"The most important things is to prepare well since I want to upgrade the World Cross silver I got in Uganda in 2017 to something better," said the 24-year-old Aprot, who finished fourth in the 10,000m at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Aprot opened her season at the Tuskys Wareng Cross Country Championships on Sunday, where she finished 11th.
"I was just testing my strength. It's too early in the season to say anything. I hope to pick well in January in time for the Nationals and perhaps World Cross Country," said Aprot.
Aprot leads a strong contingent from Kenya Prisons that includes former Prisons 10,000m champion Nancy Nzisa, Mercyline Ondieki and Caroline Biwott.
The men's 10km race has attracted an array of stars from Kenya Prisons including 2016 Africa 10,000m silver medallist Wilfred Kimitei and 2016 Africa 5,000m bronze medallist Mangata Ndiwa.
Experienced middle distance runners Anthony Chemut and Boaz Kiprugut will field for Prisons in the mixed relays.