The anticipation surrounding the IAAF World Cross Country Championships is not restricted to host country Uganda, with a whopping 553 athletes having confirmed participation in the affair due March 26 in Kampala.
By way of comparison, this would make the Kampala affair the best attended Championships since the 2006 edition, held in Fukuoka Japan. Last year's event, held in the Chinese city of Guiyang, attracted 410 participants from 51 countries.
Sixty countries have confirmed participation in the 2017 race.
Hosts Uganda have registered a 32-strong ream that will be captained by 25 year-old Timothy Toroitich. The Benjamin Longiross coached runners have been in residential camp since early February and will be desperate to crown the campaign with gold in the senior competitions.
So far, so good.
It was the hope of the local organising committee (LOC) that the Championships would attract a large response and a foreign marketing firm was reportedly hired to promote the race oversees. The response suggests the promotion campaign was money well spent.
Of course, the LOC must now allocate more funds to cater for the accommodation, transport and safety of the athletes.
On Monday Uganda Athletics Federation president Domenic Otucet revealed that sh980 million had already been paid to three hotels (Sheraton, Africana and Imperial Royale) where the athletes will be officially housed.
He explained, "That's the first payment to the hotels, more is on the way".
The cost of hosting the championships is steep but the returns are expected to make it worthwhile.