Kenya: Ak X-Country Series Starts in Machakos

22 November 2019

People's Park in Machakos will be the venue for the opening leg of Athletics Kenya (AK) Cross Countries Series on Saturday morning.

AK Southern Region chairman Paul Mutwii disclosed that they have moved from the traditional ground of Machakos Teacher Training College (MTTC) to the People's Park since it has more challenging obstacles and features.

"The new course is somewhat hilly and we have been allowed to introduce some obstacles to make the event more appealing unlike the flat ground at MTTC where we were not allowed to introduce anything foreign,," said Mutwii.

"After the race, people can enter the People's Park to rest and enjoy."

Mutwii, who is also the AK senior vice president, said they are in discussions to introduce cash jackpot so as to encourage more athletes to take part in the AK Series that will have five legs.

The Series will act as a precise build up to the National Cross Country Championships on February 8 in Nairobi, where a team will be picked for the Africa Cross Country due March 1 in Lome, Togo.

Team Kenya will proceed for residential training from February 10 at the Kigari Teachers Training College, Embu.

From Machakos, the cross country series will head to Sotik on December 14, with the third and fourth legs being staged in Ol Kalou on December 21 and Kapsokwony on December 28 respectively.

The fifth and final leg will be staged on January 5 in Iten, and will pave way for the counties and institutional cross country championships.

Kenya Prisons and Kenya Police events will be staged on January 11 at Uhuru Gardens and Ngong Racecourse respectively with the Counties also holding theirs the same day.

Kenya Defence Forces will stage their Cross Country event on January 24 followed by the Regions on January 25. All these events will coincide with doping awareness campaigns.

Bomet's Julius Tanki and Wilfred Mbithe from Kenya Police Service will defend their senior men and women's 10km race titles.

"I was bogged down by a series of injuries after I won last year, but I am back to my previous good form," said Tanki.

"I missed the World Championships this year but I really want to make it to the continental event in Togo."

Tanki should brace up for a thrilling battle from teammate and World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist, Leonard Bett, who won the men's Under-20 8km last year in Machakos.

Bett would finish fourth in Under-20 race at the World Cross Country Championships in Denmark, before going on to win Africa Under-20 3,000m steeplechase in Cote D'Ivoire.

He finished fourth at the African Games in Rabat and ninth at the World Championships in Doha.

Also in senior men's mix is the 2015 World 5,000m silver medallist Caleb Mwangangi, who is making a return and 2011 Africa Cross Country champion John Mwangangi.

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