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The 2018 edition of the Ndalat Gaa cross country race will see at least 30 pupils and students benefit from a mentorship program under the Isaiah Kiplagat Foundation.

Betty Kiplagat, daughter to former Athletics Kenya president and race founder, Isaiah Kiplagat said this is in line with enriching the legacy left by their father when he died two years ago.

“The mentorship program is all about personal awareness, personality development and emotional intelligence,” said Betty during the race launch at a Nairobi hotel yesterday. “If you look at the history of our athletes, you realise there is a part of a journey that has been missed. We want to create all-rounded young people who are able to set their own goals and understand what they can achieve in life. We want them to dream big and believe in themselves.”

“We are targeting 30 kids, the first 10 in each of the junior races in the 5-12 year old categories. They be will be taken through training by professionals and fellow athletes. We will start the program in Ndalat area and we hope to offer scholarships for the bright and needy children in future.”

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This year’s edition set for October 13 received over Sh5m sponsorship boost from various institutions with title sponsors, Safaricom offering Sh2m. Race ambassador, world record holder Eliud Kipchoge said he wants to be part of the event in order to inspire young aspiring athletes. “This is a race where we can tap talent and nurture it in a society setting where the whole community can come and participate,” said Kipchoge. He said there is need for anti-doping education at a young age to ensure kids understand the importance of chasing good results as opposed to quick money.

The race will feature eight categories including 4-6 years (500m), 7-10 year (1km), 11-12 years (2km), primary school pupils (4km), secondary school students (6km), junior men and women (6km), senior men and women (10km) and veterans (2km). Race organiser Abraham Mutai said they expect to host more than 4000 athletes now that the event will be celebrating the 10th anniversary.

“Being the 10th edition, we have really hyped the event and we expect an increase in the number of participants. Free registration will start as early as 5:30 am on the day of the race. However, participants in the veterans category must carry their identity cards since this is one race we want to protect,” said Mutai.

Also on offer will be a Mursik challenge (with over 500litres being prepared), two-day medical camp and exhibitions from the various sponsors including Safaricom, Kenya Pipeline, Kenya Seed Company, Amaco Insurance, Kenya Dairy Board among others.

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