By Rebecca Gichana

Organisers of Sunday’s Great Lakes Kisumu City Safaricom Marathon race are targeting more than 500 athletes to participate.

Athletics Kenya (AK) Nyanza North vice chairman Bernard Ndere said they are expecting the number to rise, adding that the course has also been changed due to the construction of Nakuru -Kisumu Highway.

“The route has changed because of the highway construction that is underway and we saw that it was not conducive for athletes to use previous route. Preparations for the marathon are complete  and we are just waiting for the certification of the course this Thursday,” said Ndere.

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Ndere added, “We will also be using this marathon to encourage the youth in the area to embrace the sport.”

AK Secretary General David Okeyo said a special 5km category for the locals  has been put in the programme.

“The first local to finish the main marathon will also walk away with Sh5,000 in prize money,” said Okeyo.

AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat pointed out that dope tests will be mandatory for the athletes who will be taking part in the marathon.

Kiplagat was speaking when he received a cheque worth Sh.1.5 million from Safaricom towards the event.

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“This will be the second year running that we will do the antidoping excise at Kisumu marathon. We will continue with the exercise in other races in the future,” said Kiplagat.

Winners will get Sh200,000, second place Sh100,000 while  third place finishers will take home Sh50,000. Registration fee is Sh300 on Friday morning at Kisumu Sports Grounds and ends on Sunday just before the race starts.

Joseph Kibiwott won last year’s race in 2:13.41 with Benjamin Koech second with 2:14.13. Irene Mogaka won the women race in 2:38.0.

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Marathon race athletes Kisumu marathon