ATHLETICS: Big field for Ndakaini 21km race

[PHOTO: COURTESY]

More than 4,000 participants are expected at the 14th UAP Old Mutual Ndakani Half Marathon on Saturday.

 A record 146 elite runners will tackle the energy-sapping Ndakaini course in the 21km and 10km contests.

The prize money has been increased and winners will receive Sh300,000. The first runners-up will get Sh150,000 and second runners-up Sh105,000.

The annual showpiece has grown and has even attained IAAF road running standards.

Abel Kirui, the two-time World Marathon champion and race ambassador, said he will be happy to watch as he prepares to defend his title at the Chicago Marathon next month.

“I love Ndakaini so much. That’s one of the races that has helped produce the best athletes in road running,” said Kirui.

Athletes undertake doping tests before and after the race – which Athletics Kenya will oversee – in an effort to curb cheating. The cash prizes will be awarded once the doping results are out.

“It is no secret that we are currently facing a doping issue globally. And to curb this, at the UAP Old Mutual Ndakaini Half Marathon, AK will supervise doping tests for elite athletes.

“Further to this, the prize money will only be disbursed once the doping results have been received,” a statement from AK reads.

James Wambugu, the UAP group’s managing director, said: “The race has in the past years continued to attract an increasing number of participants, spectators, fun-lovers and tourists.

“It keeps growing steadily from 297 runners in 2004, to over 3,600 participants in 2013, with close to 10,000 spectators in 2016.”

The inaugural UAP Old Mutual Ndakaini Half Marathon was staged in 2004 at Ndakaini Dam in Gatanga, Murang’a County. 

The marathon is organised under the auspices of the Ndakaini Dam Environment Conservation Association  and has been sponsored by the UAP Old Mutual group since inception. Other sponsors include Uchumi Supermarkets, ABL, Dimension Data, Bamburi Cement, Coca Cola  Sabco, Citi Bank, Stima Sacco, Manjani Insurance Brokers, Athi Water Services Trust, and Higher Loans Education Board

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