THREE Kenyan runners will be out to upstage the best of local and national talent when they line up for the start of the seventh B&E Launceston Ten today.
Hailing from Eldoret in western Kenya, Geoffrey Birgen, 29, Samson Tenai, 30, and Charles Kipsang, 23, warmed up for the race yesterday and will join six New Zealanders as an international contingent among about 2000 athletes expected to take part.
Birgen was coy about their chances of taking out the men's 10km, which doubles as the Tasmanian and Oceania championships, but said they hoped to do well and run a quick time.
``It might depend on the weather and how cold it is, but we hope to run 28 minutes,'' he said.
``We have come from Kenya and competed in Singapore on the way.
``After this I will go back home for training and come back for races in Melbourne and Sydney in two months.
``I would like to congratulate the organisers of this event for supporting us and helping us with transport and accommodation to come for this race.''
Birgen said he hoped good performances could help their chances of selection in the Kenyan team for the 10,000m at the next world championships.
Launceston Ten organiser Rob Gillard said: ``We had some Tanzanian runners take part in our first year in 2007 but this will be our first real international year with the Kenyans and New Zealanders.
``We hope to have a total turn-out over the three events of 2000, which is on a par with last year and our previous record.
``We have about 1350 in the 10km and 400 in the 5km, and we're happy we didn't lose many from the 10km with the introduction of the five.''
Victorian athlete Liam Adams and South Australian Jess Trengove will start as favourites in the elite 10km events.
Race day should see a cold start warming up to about 13 degrees with a 3-4km wind, which Gillard said would be perfect conditions for a quick race.
WHAT: 2014 B&E Launceston Ten.
WHO: 2000 athletes.
WHEN: Today, 2km (9am), 10km (10am), em5km (10.20am).
WHERE: Town Hall start.