The simply concluded Nationwide Cross Nation Championship was, to say the least, one of the best in current reminiscence.
In hindsight, the Covid-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguis to the championships that had been additionally trials for the Africa Cross Nation Championships.
They are saying, “you by no means know what you’ve till it is gone”, and contemplating the starvation and fervour exhibited by the roughly 300 athletes on the muddy and moist Ngong Racecourse terrain, it appears a lot of them had missed the exhilarating feeling of being on the observe.
The intriguing story-lines earlier than the occasion and the twist and turns thereafter can solely be matched by the 1999 World Cross Nation Championships in Belfast, Eire the place Paul Tergat received his fifth consecutive world title.
For anybody who might haven’t made it to the venue, this comparability is proof of the world class competitors on show as most athletes battled tooth and nail to make up for a misplaced yr, the place the pandemic halted many actions.
It appeared as if God had heard our prayers for a memorable occasion and opened up the skies the evening earlier than, abandoning a treacherous course so as to add to the cut-throat competitors.
The course was no respecter of fame or titles as was attested to by many athletes who discovered the large puddles of muddy water too scorching to deal with — by no means thoughts the chilly climate.
In my later years, will probably be an honour to recount to our nice grandchildren the to-and-fro battle between Rodgers Kwemoi, Mike Kibet and Kibiwott Kandie for the primary place earlier than Kwemoi took the lead for retains within the final lap.
Additionally unforgettable was the extraordinary battle within the senior girls’s 10km race between defending champion Sheila Chelangat and Daisy Cherotich.
So exhausted had been the 2 that they collapsed on the end line having pushed themselves to the restrict in pursuit of glory.
Above all, what fills me with hope for the long run are the junior athletes within the under-18 and under-20 classes who curtain-raised the occasion with virtuoso performances.
Regardless of the large duty of setting the tone for the championships being placed on their younger shoulders, the kids duly delivered, displaying maturity and dedication past their years.
With a little bit fine-tuning –as Athletics Kenya is at the moment doing –the nation can relaxation straightforward within the information that Kenyan athletics expertise manufacturing facility shouldn’t be about to close store.
As we savour one of the best Nationwide Cross Nation Championships in current reminiscence, our minds because the athletics fraternity is laser-focused on the upcoming Africa Cross Nation Championships in Lome, Togo.
We’re beneath no phantasm that the arduous work begins now; turning into a world cross nation big is simple however sustaining an iron grip on the throne is not any stroll within the park. Many different nations are enviously eyeing this crown and are working arduous to grab it from us.
With the plans AK and different stakeholders have in place for athletes — each upcoming and elite — these pretenders to the throne have quite a bit to do earlier than their goals materialise.