World Athletics and the local organising committee (LOC) for the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2022 have agreed to postpone the championships, which was scheduled to be held in Bathurst, Australia on February 19, 2022.
The event will now take place on February 18, 2023 in Bathurst.
The postponement is due to the biosecurity measures and travel restrictions currently in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Australia. Australian borders are closed to international visitors.
“Athletics Australia and the LOC are delighted that World Athletics and its partners have agreed to the postponement, which allows us to plan and deliver a world-class celebration of cross country running in February 2023. This is one of the most exciting athletics events in the world and the iconic course at Mount Panorama will see some incredible racing,” said LOC Co-Chair and Athletics Australia Board Member Jill Davies.
“We would like to thank World Athletics and the New South Wales Government for their continued confidence in our ability to deliver a world-class event in February 2023. We will continue to work hard over the next year to be ready to welcome the world’s best cross-country athletes and athletics fans to Bathurst for a global celebration of cross country running.”
The World Athletics Cross Country Championships is regarded as the toughest race on the calendar, combining the world’s greatest distance runners and challenging terrain to create a unique spectacle in sport. The 2023 event will be the 44th edition of these storied championships and will welcome more than 550 elite athletes from more than 60 countries to the famed Mount Panorama venue at Bathurst.
“We’re looking forward to hosting the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in 2023,” said Mayor Ian North of Bathurst Regional Council. “Mount Panorama is a world-famous international racing track venue, attracting competitors from across the globe and is the perfect backdrop for the most important cross-country event in the world.”
World Athletics and the LOC are committed to the responsible planning and delivery of the event, which includes ensuring that athletes from all international federations are able to participate and enjoy an experience that is befitting of a World Athletics Series event. The health and safety of the entire running community and the host region is at the forefront of this postponement. While it is acknowledged that international events are currently scheduled for early 2022 in Australia, the 14-day quarantine requirements for international visitors to Australia are not practical for a one-day event.
The World Athletics Cross Country Championship Bathurst 2023 will comprise the U20 men’s (8km) and women’s (6km) races, the universal mixed relay (8km) and the senior individual men’s and women’s races (10km). These World Championship events will be supported by a series of mass participation races.
Information regarding ongoing event planning, including ticket sales, course information, mass participation events and entertainment, will be provided regularly on the event website and social media channels.
Double All Africa Games bronze medalist Pauline Korikwang will defend the Family Bank Eldoret Half-Marathon slated for October 7th.
Korikwang who won a gold medal in the World Cross Country championships in 2006 has conformed participation in the 12thedition of the Half-Marathon, themed ‘Champions Run for Autism’, which will be held on in Eldoret town.
The organisers who have rebranded the race to Family Group Eldoret Half-Marathon have adopted a new and more competitive route that is geared to raise more money towards promoting inclusive education.
The new route unveiled will see the 21km men and women race commence at Tendwo High School, Talget and end at Zion Mall while the 5km corporate race will commence at Kao la Amani Church and also culminate at Zion Mall.
The winners of the men’s and women’s 21km race will take home KES 250,000 each while the 1stand 2ndrunners-up will take home KES 150,000 and KES 90,000 respectively.
Registration is currently open online at www.familygroupmarathon.com and through all Family Bank branches countrywide. Registration fee is Kshs 1000 for corporate teams and Kshs 500 for individual runners.
Last year, Korikwang made a comeback in the Eldoret Half Marathon after a four year injury lay off to win the women’s title.
Korikwang led all the way to breast the tape 73 minutes, 8.7 seconds ahead Josephine Jepkoech (74:47.06) as Winny Chepkorir clocked 75:29.06 to finish third.
In the men’s category, Joram Lumbasi, who was second in the 2017 Copenhagen Half Marathon, clocked 63:47 to make it two wins in a row as Isaac Kipkoech came in second in 63:48 while Daniel Kipkosgei finished third in 63:58.
“As Family Bank, we are proud to provide a platform where talent has been discovered, nurtured and gone on to conquer the world. Walking with our sister companies into another decade of Marathon greatness, we look forward to doing more to impact the sports industry as well as touch communities around us,” said Family Bank’s Chief Operations Officer Mr. Godfrey Kamau during the launch event.
The Family Group Eldoret Half Marathon has been sponsored by Family Bank Limited and its sister companies – Kenya Orient Insurance, Kenya Orient Life Assurance, Daykio Plantations and Alpha Africa Asset Managers to a tune of KES 10 million. Other sponsors of this year’s Marathon include AAR Insurance, Radar Security, BrainWave Communications Limited and Maisha Water.
After being overlooked for his exploits by the Kenya Police Service, three time World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor caught the eyes of journalists and was feted for bringing honour to the country.
The athlete who also doubles up as a track star was a recipient of the StarTmes/Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) Sports Personality of the month award.
Kamworor was recognized for his exploits in long distance running and specifically the 2018 World Half Marathon championships in Valencia, Spain where he successfully defended his title for the third consecutive time.
A panel of Sports journalists settled on the 25-year-old as the month of March, 2018, Sports Personality in favour of four times Africa Rally Championships (ARC) champion motorsports ace Carl Tundo who sealed his fifth Safari Rally title.
Kamworor becomes the ninth recipient of the award given in partnership between the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya and pay tv company StarTimes.
Kamworor who is managed by Global Sports Communication based in Kaptagat Uasin Gishu County received a 42-inch digital television set and KSh100, 000 courtesy of StarTimes.
“I want to thank journalists for recognising me with this award and Kenyans who have supported me all these years but I am unhappy that my employer has never seen anything good in me,” also the 2017 New York City Marathon champion.
Despite winning the World Cross Country Championships and World Half Marathon Championships titles thrice, and the World Championships’ 10,000 metres silver once, Kamworor, nicknamed “Man of all Surfaces” for his prowess in the track, cross country and road running competitions, is disappointed that his employer, the National Police Service, is yet to recognize and appreciate him for the honour he has brought to the country and Police force.
Kamworor complained that he has competed for the National Police Service for many years but has never promoted him despite his achievements.
“My Kenya Police colleagues have been promoted several times yet I have achieved more than them. It’s not about the money, but a pat on back in recognition of someone’s effort,” said Kamworor.
“The monthly award is a modest token to show that efforts by our athletes do not go unnoticed which will motivate other up and coming sportsmen and women to excel in their respective fields,” said SJAK President Chris Mbaisi.
When Sam Chelanga was growing up in the village of Kabarsel, just north of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, Paul Tergat would stop by the house as Chelanga tended to the animals on his family’s farm.
In a country known for its distance runners, Tergat is one of Kenya’s greatest ever — a two-time Olympic medalist, five-time world cross country champion, and former world record holder in the marathon. Tergat was a training partner of Chelanga’s brother, Joshua (a 2:07 marathoner), and treated Chelanga like a younger brother — he’d give him 1,000 shillings in pocket money, and in return Chelanga would ferry around the runners in Tergat’s group and drop off water on training runs in Tergat’s Toyota Land Cruiser.
“He would never let anyone [else] drive but he said, ‘Hey Sam, come drive my truck,’” Chelanga says.
Sometimes Tergat would ask Chelanga what he wanted to become when he grew up. Chelanga’s answer was always the same: a lawyer. Chelanga’s home village was poor and lacked reliable access to safe drinking water and hospitals. Chelanga hoped that a law degree would help him to deliver social justice.
But a law degree requires going to college, and college costs money. Tergat told Chelanga that there was another route to college: running. Reluctantly, Chelanga took up the sport, setting in motion a 13-year journey that included a decorated collegiate career at Liberty University and professional stops in Eugene, Ore., Hanover, N.H., Tucson, Ariz., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
On Thursday, one day after finishing 4th at the USATF 10k Championships at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Chelanga, 33, announced that he has retired from professional running in order to enlist in the U.S. Army. On July 29, he will report to Fort Jackson in South Carolina for basic training; once he completes that, it’s off to Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia, beginning October 15. Chelanga would like to specialize in military intelligence.
Even though Chelanga says he grew to love running, he was never motivated by medals or glory. As he went on to win four NCAA titles at Liberty and five U.S. titles on the roads as a pro (he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2015), many things drove him: a college degree, helping his family and home village back in Kenya, representing the United States, supporting his wife, Marybeth, and their two sons, five-year-old Micah and one-year-old Noah. But he wasn’t the guy who went to bed every night dreaming about Olympic gold. When he and Marybeth started dating, Chelanga never spoke about running. When I ask him what his proudest accomplishment in running was, he tells me that it wasn’t a race, but instead the moment when he realized he was actually going to graduate with a college degree “because that is why I started running.”
Chelanga’s retirement announcement prompts several questions. The most obvious: why now? Chelanga, who has trained with Scott Simmons‘ American Distance Project in Colorado Springs since 2016, was the top American finisher at last year’s World Cross Country Championships, finishing in 11th place. This year, Chelanga ran a half marathon personal best of 60:37 in Houston in January, finished 14th at the World Half Marathon Championships in March (again, he was the top U.S. finisher), and won the U.S. 25K title in May. He has plenty left in the tank.
Which is precisely why Chelanga felt it was important to join the Army now.
“I’ve done everything that I wanted to do in running,” says Chelanga, who achieved personal bests of 13:04 in the 5,000m and 27:08 (still the collegiate record, set in a very famous race where Chris Solinsky ran 26:59 and Galen Rupp 27:10) in the 10,000m. “I’ve got more than I asked for when I came in…I don’t want to wait until I’m old or something. I feel young, I feel fresh, I feel like I have a lot of energy and I want to take this job when I’m going to serve at the best level of my ability.”
There’s also this fact: Chelanga no longer has an endorsement contract, as his Nike deal expired at the end of 2017 (Nike did offer to renew it, but Chelanga turned them down).
Chelanga, who considered joining the Kenyan Air Force as a teenager, has always been inspired by men in uniform. He was also born with a desire to serve, and that desire was not being met as a professional runner.
“I left running because I wanted to do something [where] every morning, I wake up and feel fulfilled,” Chelanga says.
Chelanga’s path to the Army is untraditional, especially when contrasted with the journeys of his training mates in Colorado Springs. Several of them, such as Shadrack Kipchirchir, Leonard Korir, and Paul Chelimo, joined the Army as a way to acquire U.S. citizenship and continue their running careers representing the United States. Chelanga had to wait five years to become a naturalized U.S. citizen and decided to join the Army three years later.
Chelanga says that former Army WCAP coach Dan Browne did try to recruit him to join the Army while he was in college, but Chelanga says he was told by a recruiter that he could only enlist if he was a U.S. citizen or was in possession of a green card. That was not actually the case — the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program under which Chelimo and others gained their citizenship was established in 2009 — but regardless, Chelanga signed a contract with Nike when he exhausted his eligibility in 2011 rather than attempt to enlist in the military.
Chelanga has not forgotten his home village back in Kenya. During his professional career, Chelanga sent water filters back to Kabarsel so that every family had access to clean drinking water. Recently, he heard about the death of a neighbor, who passed away at the same hospital where Chelanga’s father died and hopes that one day he may be able to help upgrade it.
“I’ve always wanted to do something about that hospital,” Chelanga says. “It’s the only hospital in my district and it’s not even good.”
But Chelanga has other priorities, too. He’s a grown man, a family man, and believes he must do right by the country that has given him so much.
“I got into running with the mindset that I was going to help my community back in Kenya,” Chelanga says. “But now I have two kids, and those kids are going to grow up in the United States. This is their new community, this is my new community…Leading young men and women for the United States in the Army, it’s the biggest honor I would have ever asked. Not that I underestimate that what running has done or can do, but I just feel in my heart that this is a calling for me.”