Having a national trial to decide who runs for an Olympic squad is a common procedure for most national squads. However the prestigious Kenyan 10k Trials for London will not be held on Kenyan territory. In a stranger than fiction scenario, Athletics Kenya chose Eugene, the American home of track and field, and its Prefontaine Classic to play host to the deciding race that will select their 25 lap competitors. The men’s race it should be both exciting and memorable for the athletes and the Eugene audience which knows how to respect a distance race.
A mixed bag of runners come from the lucrative purses of road races, cross country champions who wish to emply their skill set on the rubber and 5000 meter runners moving up to double their workload. Whichever group the individual belongs to, they have a tall order to fill once they begin to seek a top three spot.
The fastest PR coming into the race is Micah Kogo, already a bronze medalist at Beijing, seeking another chance at gold.
The season’s best belongs to 19-year-old Geoffrey Kirui who ran a 26:55 and should be a threat despite being the youngest in the group.
Former world champion and Olympic silver medalist at 5k, Eliud Kipchoge is moving up in distance in hope of grabbing an elusive gold. With his raw speed and past work being unquestionable, watch out for this guy despite being under most people’s view.
African 10k champion Wilson Kiprop remains a threat due to the mere fact of winning what may be a race harder than a global title.
Among these runners is a pair of brothers Dennis and Moses Masai who can really make it a family feud for the team with Dennis fresh off big junior races and Moses a known commodity in international races.
Similar to the American system the top three finishing athletes will be the Kenyan representatives in London. Unlike the marathon selection process which has been shrouded in controversy, the athletes in the 10k will be clamoring in a head-to-head confrontation which will leave no doubt who belongs at the oval come July. Regardless, very fast and competent runners will be left home as the 10k is an embarrassment of riches for the nation of Kenya as observed by the entrants and their times.
The team that is selected will be primed to medal but cannot discount emerging threat Mo Farah and the ever looming presence of Kenya’s vaunted neighbor Ethiopia which has had lock at the distance for several games behind the efforts of Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele. However it shakes out, it will be a gift to watch what will be an unquestionably captivating race.