Perennial athletic rivals Kenya and Ethiopia has been competing on world platforms but come Saturday, the East Africa athletic hubs will be facing off at Baringo Half marathon.
Former world half marathon bronze medalist Pascalia Chepkorir will take on Ethiopian Keneni Germame Korme in the 21km trace.
Chepkorir, the former Berlin Half Marathon champion was placed third last year as well as Nairobi Half Marathon, Udine Half Marathon and the Internacional de São Silvestre.
She will be up against defending champion Edith Chelimo who went ahead to win Fukuoka Half Marathon. Also on the starting lineup will be last year second runner up Lucy Cheruiyot.
Isaac Kipkoech will be defending his man’s title but he will have to deal with Ethiopian Habtamu Asefa Wakeyo, Kenyan Josephat Kimutai who was second in Czech Republic Half marathon and third in Italia 21km race. Kurui Chesang and Sammy Kurui, who placed second and third, last year will be seeking to topple Kipkoech.
The Baringo County event in Kabarnet the race cordinator Simon Chebon, the winners in this year’s edition will pocket Sh250,000 up from last year’s Sh200,000. He said prizes for the runners up and second runners up will remain at Sh100,000 and Sh75,000 respectively.
He noted that all the runners in the top ten position in the main race will be rewarded. The organizers recently received a shot in the arm with gaming company Lotto pumping in Sh5m sponsorship up from Sh4m last year.
Lotto Foundation chairman Brian Walucho said he was delighted to be associated with the event, the continues to unearth world beaters.
“We are pleased to partner with such noble events because as a company, our ambition is to help grow sports in the country. Besides Baringo Half Marathon, we are also looking to venture into new ways of seeing sports grow.
In the exchange programme between Kenya and Ethiopia, two Kenyan athletes will travel for the November 26 Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababa, Africa’s biggest road race with over 35,000 runners.
“I look forward to the challenge in Baringo. It’s my first time to run in Kenya and I’m excited at the prospects,” said with Habtamu who has a personal best time of 28 minutes in the 10-kilometre road race and 61:00 in the half marathon.