The Athletics Kenya Regional Cross Country Championships take centre stage this weekend across the country as athletes focus on getting slots for the national championships cum trials set for later this month.
The North Rift region which comprises Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana and Samburu counties will hold their trials in Maralal, Samburu County. World under-20 5000m champion Edward Zakayo will seek to continue his exploits as he sets his eyes on the prize.
The form three student at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo Marakwet County will be competing in the senior men's race as he gets ready for battle at the national trials.
"I'm looking forward to a good run and my goal is to lead the race though I know it will be tight given that we are in the same region with the World under-20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto," said Zakayo.
The two athletes also met at the 28th edition of the Discovery Cross Country Championships in Eldoret two weeks ago where Kipruto took the win and cut the tape in 30:40.3 ahead of Zakayo who clocked 30:46.9.
"Kipruto is a tough athlete and I would love to beat him when we line up for the regional championships. I gauged my performance and I have since rectified the mistakes and I hope it will work for me," said the soft-spoken athlete.
In the women's senior category Brilliant Jepkorir will also be eyeing a repeat of the Discovery race where she won in 27:36.1 beating Beatrice Chepkemoi who clocked 27:42.5.
"I have done good preparations and I will be looking forward to a good race. This will pave way for the national trials where I want this time to be in the team that will be selected for the World Cross Country Championships," said the athlete.
AK North Rift region Public Relations Officer Boniface Tiren said that preparations are complete and they expect stiff competition among the athletes with a shot at a national trials ticket on the line.
"North Rift has strong athletes and we expect to conquer the trials in Eldoret," said Tiren.