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Kimeli, Jepchirchir to chase Discovery cross country titles

Reigning Leiden Golden Spike 10km champion Nicholas Kimeli and BOclassic 10km silver medalist Dorcas Tuitoek Jepchirchir will be chasing the the 30th edition of Discovery Cross country title.

The Sunday event at the Eldoret Sports club will see Kimeli, the Africa Junior cross country champion write history in defending his 10km title as he plans to compete for Kenya at the Africa Cross country championships.

Kimeli who ran the Leiden race with a record of 26:58.97 said his mission will be to defend his title. The two time Maria Soti cross country champion will be facing off with top runners in the country.

“My focus is to defend my title and guage my body response since there have been less races in the country compared to other years. I started training two weeks ago after holidays and gym work,” said Kimeli.

The Global Sports Communication based runner said that he has been in good health in readiness for the title defence.

“I had good results at the Mosoriot cross country, finishing third and heading to the Discovery I want to do my best ad=fter finishing second at the Valencia 10,000m where Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei broke the world record. Winning my second title will be good for my career,” he said.

It will be exactly one month since Jepchirchir finished second at the BOclassic 10km Road Race in Bolzano, Italy.

Jepchirchr will be yearning to compete for Kenya at the Africa Cross country championships in Lome, Togo said her ambitions are to run better times in one of the most competitive cross country meets in the country that enters its 30th edition.

“Discovery cross country is one of the best cross country in the country and running the race gives me an upper hand against my opponents in the next meeting, be it track or road races,” said Jepchirchir who finished second at the BOclassic 10km race behind reigning world 5,000m silver medalist Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi.

She added that even if she finishes in top ten, she would have won what she wanted in the championships.

“The race normally attracts top athletes in the country and when I manage top ten, that will be an achievement because the speed and endurance that I will gain will guide me to compete well at the North Rift athletics Kenya championships ahead of national trials as I seek national team slot to Africa,” added Jepchirchir.

Meanwhile, the race organizers have increased the prize money for this year’s event where the winners of the 10km senior men and women races will now bag Ksh25000 up from the previous Ksh20000.

This will also be trickled down to the junior races who compete in 8km boys and 6km girls who will pocket Sh15000 from sh10000.

According race director David Letting, said top ten finishers in each category will also earn cash prizes with those who finish in the top 50 also entitled to be rewarded.

“We have decided to increase the prize money in this year’s event since we know that our athletes have suffered a lot due to challenges brought about by Covid-19. We therefore urge athletes to turn up in numbers as we do not charge anything for registration. Our intention is actually to support our athletes,” Letting.

This year, there will be no children and fun races that have been associated with the race since inception 30 years ago.

“We have also set up measures to conform to the Ministry of Health protocols to contain Covid-19 and I want to assure our athletes of their safety,” said Letting.

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