Top athletes to lead anti-doping campaign at inaugural Iten race

Senior men participate during Iten End Gender Based Violence 10km race in Elgeyo Marakwet County yesterday. Wilfred Kimitei won the race, clocking 30:07.10. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

The inaugural edition of Iten International Marathon will be used to enhance anti-doping campaigns, race organisers have said nine days to the December 18 event.

According to the plan, top marathoners will address budding athletes on the negative impact of doping on the sport at the finish line near Iten Sports Grounds.

"We are in talks with our famous athletes ahead of the marathon. If he agrees, he will address our upcoming athletes on why doping must stop," Elgeyo Marakwet Sports Executive Purity Koima said.

The upcoming marathon is sponsored by Elgeyo Marakwet County and the Kenya Commercial Bank while Standard Media Group is the race's media partner.

Athletes are expected to use the Iten International Marathon as a launchpad to top global races next year.

According to the sports executive, the race will also be used to celebrate stunning achievements recorded by Elgeyo Marakwet athletes, as well as world beaters who train in the county's high altitude training camps including Iten.

Kelvin Kiptum, 23, who made a sensational 42km debut as he took victory in 2:01:53 at the Valencia Marathon last weekend, and former World Under-20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto are among Elgeyo Marakwet's rising stars.

London marathon winner Joyciline Jepkosgei and former Beijing Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei have prepared their races in Iten.

The anti-doping campaign and celebration of the county's contribution to athletics will be marked alongside the marathon's theme 'Run for Climate Resilience,' which will see several climate initiatives unveiled.

Koima urged elite athletes to register in big numbers in the clash for the race's Sh1 million winning prize.

"We will award the top 20 athletes as we grow the sport. As a county, we are proud to stage our first annual marathon," said Koima.

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