More international athletes are expected to line up in the fifth edition of the Eldoret City Marathon on October 1.
Last year’s winner Emily Chebet confirmed that she was prepared to defend her title in the women’s marathon as hundreds of athletes got set for a 42.195km that electrified Eldoret since the inaugural edition in 2018.
“My aim is to win this year's marathon. I am thankful to the race organizers for the annual marathon,” Chebet said during the official media launch for the 2023 edition at the Eka Hotel.
Race Director Moses Tanui told sponsors that the desire to make the Eldoret City Marathon live as long as the Boston Marathon is alive.
The double Boston Marathon winner said many budding athletes will attract managers in this edition.
Organisers used the launch to assure athletes that prize money would be paid promptly from the fifth edition onwards.
“I thank all our sponsors for supporting us in the last four editions. We supported budding athletes from humble backgrounds who had no managers and could not participate in races outside their hometowns,” Tanui said.
He added: “A bigger number of international athletes are expected to take part this year. This is a time for sponsors to make the race grow.”
The race director said organizers had a plan to incorporate track and cross-country events in the future for more athletes to showcase their talents.
“A number of the athletes you see training on our roads can't get out of the country because they have no managers and this (Eldoret City Marathon) has been the opportunity to showcase talents,”
Speaking from Asia, representatives of official sponsors Economic Global Holdings, Gulf Royal, and Supreme Cosmetics said they would inject a global touch into the marathon.
They said they would support global stars who will battle it out for glory with Kenyan athletes.
Renowned athletics tactician Joseph Cheromei asked athletes preparing to compete in the Eldoret race to run clean.
Julien de Maria, a coach and sports consultant said the race showcases talents and local organizers' capacity to produce world-class races.
“The race is important for both local and international athletes. International athletes will gain experience through the race,” he said.
Race Chairman Andrew Chelogoi said the race had posted achievements in its Climate Action initiatives over the years.
“All the bamboo along the Sosiani River in Eldoret was grown through Eldoret City Marathon Climate Action. The new Eldoret arboretum was beautified thanks to the race. We also established a bamboo plantation in Kapseret Forest,” he said.
Winner of the 2021 edition Mercy Kipchumba, who has been battling an injury for over a year said she was waiting for a green light from her coach before confirming her return to the fifth edition.
Standard Media Group Head of Corporate Affairs Charles Kimathi said the partnership with Eldoret City Marathon had been growing every year since 2018.
Kimathi said Standard Group PLC, which is the race’s media partner, would support the marathon with Sh8 million worth of media advertising and publicity.
“We have partnered with the marathon since 2018 when it was just an idea. We are happy that it is now one of the biggest marathons globally. The race resonates with our climate Action initiatives. We wish to urge more corporates to come on board,” said Kimathi.
Uasin Gishu County Sports Executive Lucy Ngendo said: “The county will sponsor 20 athletes from each Ward and a number of fun runners for the family race. The marathon is our baby and we will continue to be associated with it.”