Over 1,500 athletes have confirmed participation in the inaugural Mt Kenya Mountain Running Championship which will be held next Saturday in Meru County at the foot of the scenic Mt Kenya Forest.
Among the star athletes expected to headline the race are former World Mountain Running Association World Cup winners Lucy Murigi and Geoffrey Gikuni together with twin sisters Purity Gitonga and Caroline Gitonga who shone in the 34th World Series in Canillo, Andorra.
Former Paris Half Marathon winner Morris Munene alongside Dennis Kyaka and Fred Morang'a will also be among the elite runners.
At least 10 ambassadors and foreign dignitaries will also participate in the championship being sponsored by various organisations, among them Nation Media Group.
Meru Sports Chief Officer Mery Ndiira said preparations were complete, with the technical committee and some of the runners visiting the area to have a feel of the course.
The championship, which is set to be the first in Africa, is aimed at mobilising funds to set up cancer institute in Meru, boost tourism and help accelerate conservation activities around the Unesco World Heritage site.
Ndiira said there will be races for both young and old, with the elite race being 12,000 metres ran at 2,800 metres above sea level.
There will also be the junior category of six and eight kilometres, a fun race dubbed "keep the doctor away", corporate, masters and institutions of higher learning runs.
Winners of the elite race will pocket Sh500,000, first runners up will receive Sh250,000 while third place finishers will walk away with Sh100,000.
The participants will be accommodated at the championship village situated at Kenya School of Adventure and Leadership.
Meru intends to have the championship included in the World Mountain Running Association World Cup series.