On October 1, marathon stars will assemble for another thrilling Eldoret City Marathon.
Apart from the adrenaline-packed races, the fifth edition promises to be one of the biggest extravaganzas right at the heart of Eldoret, a town that has earned the ‘City of Champions’ status because of producing and hosting a huge number of world beaters.
Preparations have entered a crucial stage for the Marathon set to happen 19 days from today.
On Monday, teams planning the race were hopeful of an international show.
The last four editions have been show-stoppers, with winners of the full marathon (both the men’s and women’s races) walking away with Sh3.5 million top prize each.
The action will be aired live on KTN.
The Standard Sports looks at the exhilarating bits of a race that has pulled huge athletics enthusiasts in Eldoret, once every year since the inaugural edition in 2018.
Fans walking from suburbs to town
During every edition, fans walk various distances to town to catch a glimpse of the show at the finish line.
Athletics fan Jackson Kosgei says the Eldoret City marathon offers enthusiasts the opportunity to exercise through walking since motorists are denied access to town.
“Huge crowds walk to town except for emergency cases. Others walk to churches while others trek to the Central Business District to watch athletes as they finish the race,” says Kosgei.
Families and running groups race side by side in the 5km fun race
Parents and their children have been running side by side in the 5km fun race which has been attracting road racing groups from as far as Nairobi.
Big names such as Uasin Gishu Senator Governor Jackson Mandago and top Ministry of Sports officials have traditionally been taking part in the 5km fun run.
According to Eldoret City Marathon Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairman Andrew Chelogoi, this year’s fun race is expected to be bigger.
“We are looking forward to a bigger fun race. We are urging parents to turn up with their children because it will be a big family day. We are also expecting more running groups to participate,” Chelogoi said.
A new course
The new course has been primed as exciting, with several turns within Eldoret CBD and across suburbs.
Patrick Sang, a renowned athletics tactician, who is in a team of technical officials preparing the new course says the route is ready for the big clash.
“The course has been measured and it is ready for the marathon,” Sang said.
Fans along the course
In the last four editions, athletics fans have lined up along the 42.195km route, cheering marathoners at several locations from the start to the finish line.
Uasin Gishu police chiefs yesterday said it was mapping out the course to ensure effective crowd management and traffic control on Sunday, October 1.
“The route has been mapped out for effective security during the race. The intersections have been identified. Commanders from six sub-counties in Uasin Gishu will coordinate security operations,” Turbo Deputy Police Commander Christopher Wesonga said.
Most roads leading to and outside Eldoret town will be closed for a minimum of five hours during the race, according to race director Moses Tanui.
The local organising committee had last week proposed recognition of top athletes among them multiple record holder (women’s 1,500m, 5,000m, and the Mile) Faith Kipyegon as well as marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge.
The edition is run under new official sponsors; Economic Global Holdings, Gulf Royal, and Supreme Cosmetics. The new main sponsors said two weeks ago that they would inject a global touch into the marathon.
ELDORET CITY MARATHON IN SUMMARY:
The 5th edition is set for October 1, 2023
The inaugural edition was staged in 2018
Prize Money: Winners in each category walk away with Sh3.5 million
At least 1,000 athletes participate every year
New Sponsor: Gulf Royal and Economic Global Holding
Media Partner: Standard Group Plc