Locals gunning for glory at Lukenya marathon

Participants during last year's Lukenya University Marathon. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Lukenya University 10 Million Trees Marathon will be held on Sunday in Mtito Andei, Makueni County.

The marathon has lucrative categories like the 42km and the 21km contests that will see the winners head home with bumper harvest.

However, to ensure that all and sundry have a level playing ground in the competition, the organisers have set the 10km category specifically for the locals.

This race is meant to motivate and inspire the area residents to feel part of the initiative that is advocating for sustainable actions on climate change under the theme: 'Running For A Greener Future'.

The locals have been urged to seize the opportunity and try their luck in this race that is specifically set for them.

"We knew it would have been hard for the area residents to triumph in all the races, especially the marathon or the half marathons, if we heaped them with the outside world.

"If we mix them with those elite runners from the Rift Valley they will go home empty handed. This is the reason we are setting up the 10km duel just for them, so that they too can benefit from the competition," Local Organising Committee chairman George Wasonga told Standard Sports.

Wasonga is optimistic that the category will also help the organisers to easily identify and tap budding talent from Makueni County.

He is advising mostly young runners to seize the moment to be part of this historic cause that might help launch their career to greater heights in the near future.

Ahead of the main races tomorrow, there will be a flurry of activities today at the Lukenya University among them the 50km Black Mamba cycling race whose winner will bag Sh10,000.

This will be followed by a tree planting exercise which will involve local government authorities, athletes, area residents, the locals, the Kenya Defence Forces among others.

Following the massive response realised last season, the organisers changed their intention to plant 1 million trees in five years to 10 million trees.

"Last year alone we planted 400,000 trees, the exercise was going so fast so we shifted the goal post to 10 million trees to give us a better challenge because of the massive response and support we were receiving from various quarters including the Government," Lukenya University DVC Infrastructure Mutheu Kasanga highlighted during the launch of the second edition of the marathon.

After the massive tree planting, there will be a grand dinner at the pristine Lukenya University Beach overlooking Athi River today evening.

Here, visitors could have a rare chance to spot the big five roaming the Tsavo Tsavo East National Park where the Lukenya University is situated.

Other categories of races to be contested on Sunday include the 42km veteran run, 15km juniors and the 5km family/fun run.

Over 1000 athletes are expected to grace this year's edition of the marathon. 

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