The first ever marathon run on an elevated road in Africa goes down today when Nairobi hosts the inaugural Uhuru Classic-the richest road race in Africa.
Two-time Eldoret City Marathon champion Victor Kipchirchir will headline the Nairobi City Marathon alongside former Minsk’s half marathon champion Hillary Kimaiyo. He won the race in 2017 in 1:00.03.
Others seeking for the event’s top honours are the 2020 Al Mouj Muscat Marathon Pius Karanja Kimani, the 2018 Padua Marathon (Italy) third-place finisher Desta Shume Tafa from Ethiopia and another Kenyan Elijah Kemboi, a former winner of Kosice and Antwerp marathons.
Agnes Barsosio, a fourth placed finisher at the 2021 Lisbon Marathon, is among the entrants in the women’s category.
The event which has four categories namely the full marathon, half marathon, 10km and 5km fun run has attracted over 8000 runners.
It will be held a day after the third edition of Kip Keino Classic at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
The half marathon will begin at the Nyayo National Stadium then move to Ole Sereni along Mombasa Road then to ABC Place before going back to the finish and will cover the entire Expressway.
Nairobi Area Traffic Police Commandant Joshua Omukata said that roads in the city will be closed during the race.
The roads that will be affected as the athletes battle for Africa’s biggest marathon event whose purse has been pegged at Sh6million include Uhuru Highway, one carriageway on Lang’ata Road, Moi Avenue, Bunyala, Douglas Wakiihuri Road and Mombasa Road.
Apart from Uhuru Highway which was closed between midnight and 2pm the rest of the roads will be closed from midnight and 5pm.
The full marathon race will start at Nyayo Stadium then proceed to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before moving to the city centre which will be the spectator stage followed by ABC Place in Westlands then back to Nyayo Stadium for the finish.
The event’s technical director, Ibrahim Hussein, said the course has been certified and accredited by the Association International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and thus any world record will be approved by World Athletics.
“We have measured the route twice and it has met the international standards meaning, all records that might be broken will be ratified by World Athletics,” said Ibrahim.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the race will be used to launch the newly constructed Nairobi Expressway and to celebrate it as a legacy project by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Amina hopes the bumper entry witnessed in the four race categories will make the Uhuru Classic historic.