Organisers of the inaugural Lukenya University One Million Trees Marathon have given the race route a clean bill of health ahead of the Sunday showpiece in Mtito Andei, Makueni County.
They have stated the route has met all international standards required by the World Athletics in championships.
“If a world record is broken in this race on Sunday, it will definitely be ratified by the World Athletics,’ Judith Wafula, the race Local Organising Committee Co-Chairperson, told Standard Sports.
Wafula said the route has been approved by the Athletics Kenya (AK) national executives who have worked in tandem with the federation’s Southern Branch and the university at large.
“The race is high profile, we expect both Kenyan and international athletes to take part in it,’ Wafula says.
About 10,000 athletes are expected in the contest and the organizers have assured they have the capacity to manage such a huge number.
The marathon will start with the 10km category which will then be followed by the 21km and lastly the race of the day, the 42km category.
A category for the locals has also been created in the 10km contest to empower them into tree planting and environmental conservation which are the core purpose of the marathon.
“We have the capacity to manage such an expected large turnout. So far, we are pleased with the entry list that also has legends like the Tegla Loroupe, Catherine Ndereba, Cosmas Ndeti and Patrick Makau who is also the race ambassador,” Wafula underlined.
Wafula says the reason for roping in retired athletes and sport legends into the race is to help in the creation of climate change awareness and motivating the youths into tree planting as they look up to these heroes.
Athletes have been assured of total security in the marathon which will be handled by the Makueni County Government, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Lukenya University internal peace keepers.
“The KWS from the Tsavo East National Park will also ensure there is no conflict between humans and the wildlife. They will monitor the animal movements to avert any possible threat or interference in the race,” Wafula explained.
Due to harsh weather conditions in the Kibwezi East Sub County, athletes have been advised to carry light clothing as the temperatures may soar above 30 degrees during the occasion.
“We advise them to carry and take lots of water, we also have enough drinking water which will be available at designated water points during the marathon.
“We thank Coca Cola and Kyulu for their kind gesture to furnish us with enough drinking water. We are also grateful to other sponsors who have come on board to support this race,”Wafula stated.
Wafula reiterated the Vice Chancellor, Constantine Nyamboga’s sentiments about the breathtaking beauties that awaits participating athletes in the area stating: “While here, the participants will enjoy a wonderful view of the iconic Yatta Plateau.
“We also have our own white sandy beach, the Lukenya Beach, on the shores of Athi River where they can take a leisure walk or saunter.
“The meandering Athi River is a wonder to watch and of course the Tsavo East National Park surrounding us is such a magnificent spectacle teeming with wildlife.”
Lukenya University selected line-up for the One Million Trees Marathon
Gladys Jepkoech - Women's 21km
Mercy Kiprotich- Women's 21km
Kimutai Victor -Men's 10km
Nathan Ruto- Men's 10km
Kones Kibet- Men's 21km