Preparations for the annual Ndalat Gaa Cross Country event scheduled for Saturday October 19, in Paul Boit Farm, Ndalat Hills in Nandi County are almost complete, race organisers said on Tuesday.
And being the 11th edition the event is now christened Isaiah Kiplagat Memorial Cross County to honor the departed long serving former Athletics Kenya Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat, who pioneered the event 11 years ago to nurture talent from the area.
The race has become a major stepping stone for Kenyan athletes since it was launched in the year 2008.
The event’s coordinator Abraham Mutai said the race has been moved to a new location due to a growing number of participants. Mutai intimated that they are expecting 5,000 runners which will be an increment from 1,500 last year.
“The event will feature six categories and the registration will be conducted on the morning of the event. Since the event began in 2008, we have seen growth in the numbers of competitors which has consequently necessitated us to move to a bigger venue,” noted Mutai.
On Friday, the annual race received a major boost when seven companies unveiled Sh7.5 million sponsorship for the event.
Safaricom, Kass Media and Nandi County Government gave Sh2 million each, while Kenya Pipeline and Mosop Constituency CDF have donated Sh500,000 each. Athletics Kenya gave Sh300,000 and Silverstone Air Sh200,000.
“This is one of the most interesting races in the Safaricom Athletics Calendar, because it involves the community at all levels. With a strong foundation laid by the late Isaiah Kiplagat, the annual cross country meet continues to breed great talents such as Agnes Tirop and Conseslus Kipruto who have gone as far as representing the country in international races .” Said Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom
The race categories are; 500M for 5-9 year old children, 4KM for 10-14 year old boys and girls, 6KM for secondary school students, 8KM for junior men and women, 10KM for senior men and women, and 2 KM for Veterans.
Mutai said that the top placed 10 youngsters will undertake a mentorship programme that will be running for the second consecutive year at the late AK president Isaiah Kiplagat’s residence.
Cash prizes amounting to Ksh. 1.5 Million will be up for grabs while community members will also get a two day free medical camp on 18th and 19th October.