Stanchart Marathon officials to use technology to avert cheating

Chairman Standard Chartered Bank Nairobi Marathon Peter Gitau during an interview ahead of the 20th edition of the Marathon in October. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The 20th edition of the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon will be held at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi on October 29.

The race which targets 25000 participants this season will snake along the Southern Bypass route before the finish line at Uhuru Gardens.

The marathon organisers on Friday emphasised the use of technology to to nab cheaters, ease registration and help athletes gauge their performance in the competition.

"Registration is now open, it can be done remotely digitally, bibs can be picked later, already over 1000 athletes have shown interest to take part in this year's edition," race's Local Organising Committee Chairman Paul Gitau told Standard Sports.

"We are also using the micro-chips mounted on bibs, this is meant to help athletes get their credible performance in the marathon. The chips also helps us to avert cheating. Going digital has also helped the registration process to become easier," Gitau said.

Gitau says the route is undergoing modifications, from the start time to end time.

Full marathon has been scheduled to start much earlier to help athletes contest under favourable weather conditions  and conducive temperatures.

Along the route, there will be various forms of entertainments and refreshments to give participants a unique feeling in the contest.

"We are out to make the race thrilling, like the world marathon majors that give participants great experience apart from the main event.

"The adjustments on the route were made  after analysing feedback over the years from our stakeholders and partners," Gitau said.

In terms of sustainability, the organisers are working hand in hand with Athletics Kenya (AK) to create awareness on air quality and pollution. And for the first time, plastic water bottles will not be in used during the marathon.

"We will use biodegradable materials in our water supply, the participants will also be issued with seedlings to plant as away of supporting sustainable actions on climate change," Gitau said.

Already race basics like general measurements have been completed and are currently awaiting approval from world governing body AIMS so that any record broken during the marathon can be duly approved by the World Athletics.

For the first time, Chief Executive Officer challenge race has been incorporated in the marathon together with the Corporate Relay Marathon that will involve four runners from each registered institution.

Gitau said the 21km wheelchair race has been their greatest jewel over the years due to its inclusivity.

"This category has attracted partners like the Sight Savers and Light Of the World who have injected massive support in it," Gitau said

Gitau also has hailed the Anti-doping Agency of Kenya for emphasising on the message of running clean.

Among the top athletes the marathon has churned out include former world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto.

The race has had a significant impact on the community; carrying out the Seeing Is Believing Initiative for the first 15 years which transformed the health industry in Kenya as far as children eyesight is concerned.

Currently; the race supports the bank's Futuremakers program that aims to tackle inequality and promote greater economic inclusion for young people in local communities focusing on three pillars; Entrepreneurship, Employability and Education.

This year's marathon aims to raise Sh40 million from the Sh 38 million netted last year.

Registration for the marathon goes for Sh2000 per athlete, it can be done both physically and online.

Unlike the two previous editions which were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be no virtual races alongside the physical marathon this year.

Instead, the virtual contests will be substituted with physical runs in Standard Chartered network branches in Mombasa and Kisumu which will be held on the same day as the main marathon in Nairobi.

As a way of celebrating the 20th edition of the race, the marathon organisers will issue 30,000 tree seedlings to participants to promote sustainable actions on climate change.

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