Strong field expected at Southern Region Cross Country

Japan-based Alexandar Mutiso, Jonathan Ndiku, Jackson Kavesa and Pauline Kaveke-will headline the Southern region cross country to be held Saturday at Machakos People’s Park, Machakos County.

The quartet will lead some other 150 athletes drawn from Machakos, Makueni and Kitui counties in the event which will also be used to select the region’s top guns for the National Cross Country slated for February 13 in Ngong Race Course, Nairobi.

Mutiso, who was among the top four finishers in the Valencia Half Marathon last year and who-led by Kibiwott Kandie-beat the previous record of 58:01 set by Geoffrey Kamworor in 2019, will be main attraction at Machakos alongside former Commonwealth Games 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Ndiku.

2018 Youth Olympics 3,000m champion Kavesa who moved to Japan early last year will also line up in the men’s 10km race while 2018 World Half Marathon bronze medalist Pauline Kaveke will lead the women’s senior event.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, Mutiso said he will use the event to gauge his preparedness ahead of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon set for February 19.

Mutiso, 24, earlier this week was added to the stacked fields for the race which will also feature three-time world half-marathon champion Kamworor and world half-marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie among others.

“I’ll be participating but I’ll not be in any pressure since I’ll just use the race to gauge my body because I’ve just resumed training recently after family engagement since late last year. My focus is on the February marathon and my target is to win it although we’ve strong names like Kamworor and Kandie, but I’ll try my best,” said Mutiso.

Athletics Kenya (AK) Southern region chairman Paul Mutwii, is optimistic of a huge turnout in the event which starts at 8am.

“We expect around 150 athletes who were selected from the three counties during county cross countries to attend but also the event is open for everyone from the region. We hope to get the best squad for the nationals,” said Mutwii who also doubles up as the AK senior vice-president.