Men and women who pulled off a world class Eldoret City Marathon
ATHLETICS By Stephen Rutto | November 12th 2021
It became the first marathon to be staged in Kenya since the onset of the Covid-19 and despite the piercing economic turmoil occasioned by the viral disease, it lived up to its billing.
For the third year, Eldoret City Marathon became one of the richest races in Africa. Last month, top 20 finishers bagged their prize money, with winners in both the men and women categories taking home Sh3.5 million each.
Last year, the race was marked with tree planting after it became difficult to stage races due to Covid-19 restrictions.
But this year, the third edition of the race electrified the agricultural town of Eldoret – the City of Champions on June 6.
A team of individuals led by the race director Moses Tanui, the two-time Boston Marathon winner and a Local Organising Committee (LOC) chaired by Andrew Chelogoi, worked round the clock to successfully stage the event.
Climate Action remained at the heart of the marathon.
The Standard Group ensured that the public, athletes and other stakeholders followed the planning and eventually, broadcasting the race live on KTN.
We reveal the men and women behind the planning of the third edition of Eldoret City Marathon and how they tackled the painstaking task of pulling off the event amidst Covid-19 challenges.
Tanui is the brain behind the Eldoret City Marathon.
He is a retired athlete with an impressive CV in track and road races.
Tanui was the 1991 10000m World Champion, and when he transited to the road, he claimed victories in the 1996 and 1998 editions of the Boston Marathon. Later, he finished second and third in Chicago (1999 and 2000 respectively) before winning Vienna in 2002.
With his running experience in athletics, Tanui took charge of the technical sub-committee that was credited the introduction of electronic timing – a radio-frequency identification (RFID) electronic timer named Race and Result Machine which worked seamlessly, transmitting split times in the Eldoret City race, in real time.
“We would not have achieved it were it not because of our sponsors. It has been a difficult period, but their support was unwavering,” Tanui said.
Governor Jackson Mandago
The Uasin Gishu County Governor is known for being a zealous athletics enthusiast. His administration has been pumping Sh18 million annually in every edition of the race since 2018 when it was launched.
During preparations for the race, his County deployed three of his executives; Joseph Kurgat (Education, Youth and Sports), Mary Njogu (Environment) and Evelyne Rotich (Health). His Director of Communication Silas Tarus was also a towering figure, taking charge of media and publicity at the LOC.
“We have made sure that Sh18 million for the Eldoret City Marathon is allocated in our budget every year. This marathon will continue regardless of who becomes the governor next year,” Mandago said.
He is the chairman of the iconic Eldoret Sports Club, the centre of operations for the race’s planning.
Chelogoi convened several meetings and was the key link between the LOC and stakeholders.
He was hands-on during the final preparations, hosting meetings with the LOC, its sub-committees as well as meeting sponsors at the Eldoret Club.
She is a retired athlete who ran for 27 years, retiring nearly a decade ago. Malot, a former 10000m African champion, was a nominated Member of the County Assembly in Uasin Gishu.
Malot represented Uasin Gishu County Assembly’s Sports Committee at the LOC. “As a nominated MCA and a retired athlete. It is our responsibility to ensure that active athletes take part in competitions because that is how talent is nurtured,” she said.
Ms Sumbeiywo is the director at PG-Connect, an events co-ordination firm. The firm was central in logistics and coordination in both the race and tree planting events.
Sumbeiywo and a team of youthful staffers took part in registration of participants, issuance of BIBs and offering ICT support to the LOC.
“We had to be excellent because of the momentous assignment of delivering an international race in the Eldoret City Marathon. We slept at 1am and woke up at 3am at the day of the marathon. It was demanding, but we are glad that everything went according to plan,” she said.
She is the County Executive Committee member in charge of Health.
Ms Rotich chaired the Health Committee which worked with the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and a team of health experts to come up with the Eldoret City Marathon Covid-19 guidelines which were approved before the race was staged.
The Athletics Kenya Central Rift chairman represented the federation at the LOC.
He has a wealth of experience in planning races in Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Baringo.
“As a region, we are proud of this event because it is the biggest in Africa. We have produced the highest number of athletes in the country,” Mutai said.
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