Eldoret City, Ethiopian Great Run enter into partnership ahead of race

3rd Edition Eldoret City Marathon 42km champion Victor Kipchirchir crossing the finish line clocking 2:08:56  in Uasin Gishu County on Sunday 6 June 2021. [Christopher Kipsang,Standard]

A partnership deal between Eldoret City Marathon and the Great Ethiopian Run International 10km was unveiled yesterday, just hours to today’s race in the North Rift’s agricultural town.

Organisers of the Eldoret City Marathon which electrifies a town popularly known as the City of Champions during this year’s Palm Sunday, described the partnership as a joint cooperation between two big races in countries (Kenya and Ethiopia) that fiercely compete in global races.

The Great Ethiopian Run International 10km which was launched in 2001 is considered the biggest in Africa, attracting over 40,000 participants annually, while Eldoret City Marathon which started in 2018 is the highest paying marathon in the continent and has been attracting elite athletes.

Eldoret City Marathon Race Director Moses Tanui said the partnership between the two has been signed.

Tanui, a retired athlete who won Boston Marathon two times and was the first athlete to run a half marathon under one hour, said winners from today’s Eldoret City race will be entered in this year’s edition of the Great Ethiopian Run.

Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya Meles Alem is expected in Eldoret to follow the Eldoret City Marathon action and celebrate the partnership deal, organisers said.

Great Ethiopian Run finance and hospitality officials–Yetnayet Mekuria and Mengistu Muluemebet were in Eldoret yesterday ahead of today’s marathon.

According to Tanui, the Great Ethiopian Run will borrow some of the best practices in race organisation and sponsorship from Eldoret City Marathon.

Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie, a two-time 10,000m Olympic champion is the founder of the 10km road race in his country. The idea was born after Gebrselassie triumphed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“Ethiopia has races and we have races here in Kenya. What we want to do is to set up sister city races in Africa. We spoke and we decided that we start with the two countries (Kenya and Ethiopia) in this partnership and then we go to East Africa and to the African continent,” said Tanui.

He continued: “Our vision as Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes is to have our own races that our own talents can run.”

Tanui said a team of Eldoret City Marathon team will be in Ethiopia in November for the 2022 edition of the Great Ethiopian Run where the partnership will be cemented.

He said some top athletes at this year’s Great Ethiopian Run will take part in the next edition of Eldoret City marathon.

“We have been competing with our counterparts from Ethiopia and that is not rivalry. Running has united us and that is why we want to learn from each other,” Tanui said.