There was an air of excitement at the Lobo Village, the venue where the Memorial Agnes Tirop World Cross Country Tour event will happen near Eldoret town, during its launch. The big event will happen on the 12th of February and will mark the first time that Kenya gets to host one of the World cross country tour series.
“Given the success that Kenya has shown over time in the cross country discipline, it was overdue for Kenya to be included in the world Cross country Tour series,” Paul Mutwii, Athletics Kenya vice president said during the launch.
Elite runners already confirmed to participate in the event are the three times world cross country champion, Geoffrey Kamworor and Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey who is fresh from setting a sensational world record of 1:02:52 for the half marathon on 24th October last year. The event organizer, Barnaba Korir, said that they shall be announcing more names in due time.
“I look forward to running here, to gauge my speed and endurance early in the season,” Kamworor who was present during the launch said.
Dignitaries present, that included Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage and Culture, Dr. Amina Mohammed; the Athletics Kenya president, Major Jackson Tuwei, and the Uasin Gishu County Governor, Jackson Mandago were taken on a tour of the course before the launch.
Eliud Kipchoge, Faith Kipyegon, Geoffrey Kamworor, Milcah Chemos, Moses Tanui, Jonathan Korir, Alice Aprot, Geoffrey Mutai, Leonard Komon, and Rhonex Kipruto were some of the active and retired athletes present during the launch.
The event has been named in memory of Agnes Tirop who was murdered and most of the speeches during the launch touched on that.
During his speech, Kipchoge urged everyone to be part of the solution to avoiding the unfortunate incidences like that which happened to the late Agnes Tirop.
“It is sad to be naming races under young runners who would still be running them. It would be understandable if the deaths were as a result of an accident, or an illness,” Kipchoge said. “If we want to change Kenya, we don’t have to be leaders holding any office, because if we don’t hold any offices, we have families to lead. We need to have values that reflect us.”
Tuwei said that the consultative meetings that happened across the country following the death of Tirop have so far yielded some results and already two athletes who were in a similar situation to Agnes have been saved.
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