The Eldoret City Marathon started off with high hopes and expectations, as it has been since the inaugural edition in 2018.
The temperatures were about 15 degrees Celsius when the race started, but turned warmer as the battle for the marathon’s Sh3.5 million winning prize gathered pace.
Happening at a period when Covid-19 restrictions that banned crowding in public places had been lifted, huge number of fans turned up along the course to cheer up participants.
Another huge group of athletics enthusiasts thronged areas near the finish line near the Zion Mall. The numbers were bigger at the intersection between Zion Mall and Barngetuny Plaza.
World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge who is the Eldoret City marathon race ambassador, Chicago Marathon winner Lawrence Cherono, former world 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei and former world 3,000m steeplechase champion Milka Chemos were at the finish line.
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Legendary athletes were not left behind. Three-time Boston Marathon champion Ibrahim Hussein, 63, who is the race’s course measurer, rode a bicycle from the start to the finish as he made sure that participants followed the route.
“As a course measurer, I have to be on the course throughout the race. I have a special bicycle that enables me to perform that duty,” Hussein said.
Legends Bill Koskei – a 74-year-old retired 400m athlete from Nandi County, who at some point during his peak represented Uganda, was among veterans who followed the race closely.
World record holder in 3,000m (both indoor and outdoor), Daniel Komen was also present.
Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, who has been taking part in the fun race, did not compete yesterday. He only addressed fans after the race.
Participants in the 5km fun race finished earlier than the women elite marathoners. They were drawn from several companies and institutions that are sponsoring the race.
Health personnel from St Luke’s Orthopedic and Trauma, Mediheal and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital offered emergency services.