Young runners urged to capitalise on beauty of Lukenya race

Winner 10KM Peter Muindi wins 10KM Lukenya University One million Marathon race held at the University in Kathekani location, Mtito Andei Division, Kibwezi sub-County, Makueni County. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The second edition of the Lukenya University 10 Million Trees Marathon will be held this Sunday in Mtito Andei, Makueni County and young runners have been urged to capitalise on the beauty of the race.

Former world marathon record holder Patrick Makau says upcoming world beaters should use the opportunity to expand on their networks.

This is because the race will involve elite athletes who have expanded their reach across Kenya and beyond and this will be beneficial to those yet to establish themselves in the industry.

Makau further says the race has lucrative prizes that upcoming world beaters should not miss an opportunity to try their luck on.

"I think this is one of the best races to use to open the new marathon season locally, so I'm telling young runners to seize the opportunity and register in droves,” Makau told Standard Sports.

"The young athletes will also get a chance to network with established speedsters. I believe they will be able to connect so well as seasoned runners already have established networks.

"Also running alongside the elites will be so therapeutic as it will inspire and motivate upcoming ones not to give up in the sport.”

The fact that so many new faces have registered for the marathon this season convinces Makau that the race is gaining traction far and wide at an alarming rate, especially on the international front.

Makau opines that he will be a happy man to see some of his mentees at Ngong Hills perform well in the race, among them Alex Mutiso who is vowing to wrestle the men's gong from defending champion Peter Kyengo.

Makau explains that they are also doing their best to make a follow up on the young talents discovered from the race last season.

According to Makau, this year's race is of great significance in that it opens the lee-way in planting the new 10 million trees record, which is far a lofty dream from the 1 million set last year.

And how does he feel to be the race ambassador?

"I feel so honored, because choosing me out of all the so many world beaters we have in this country can never be taken for granted. I'm definitely happy to be associated with the Lukenya University 10 Million Trees Marathon," he stated.

Asked how he felt to see the current women's 1500m world record holder Faith Kipyegon join him as race ambassador?

"Her presence is very important to us, we were able to rope her in through our partnership with Athletics Kenya.

"Her presence will mean a lot to the race, especially in terms of inspiring young and upcoming athletes," says Makau.

In order to expand the race far and beyond, Makau suggests good media publicity and adequate sponsorships.

"Also connecting with like-minded international organisations advocating for sustainable actions on climate change, which the race is supporting, is very key in establishing awareness about the marathon," Makau highlighted.

The organisers are targeting over 1000 athletes this season.

Fifteen top finishers in each category, both men and women, will be rewarded.

The 42km champions will go home Sh500,000 richer while runners up and third place finishers getting Sh200,000 and Sh100,000 respectively.

Top 15 finishers in the half marathon will also be rewarded with the winner, runners up and third place finishers netting Sh100,000, Sh60,000 and Sh40,000 in that order.

Over 40 sponsors have come on board to support the marathon and its cause and among them is the Standard Group PLC that will broadcast the marathon live on its various TV, radio, newspaper and digital platforms.

Other categories to be contested on the day will be the 50km cycle race and the 10km and 5km family fun runs.

By AFP 7 mins ago
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