Legends and fans add colour to Eldoret City Marathon

Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii jumps high while dancing with masai traditional dancers during Eldoret City Marathon yesterday. With him area county commissioner Eddyson Nyale (left) April 21, 2024.[Peter Ochieng, Standard]

The City of Champions was electrified once again on Sunday as Eldoret City Marathon returned like it never left.

The marathon which was cancelled last year over sponsorship challenges made a return.

Athletics enthusiasts braved a chilly morning to cheer athletes competing in the town’s streets.

Kenya’s decorated legends turned up to welcome champions at the finish line.

Legendary steeplechaser Wilson Boit, a former world and world champion was not left behind. He was at the finish line to congratulate new champions.

Moses Kiptanui, a three-time world 3,000m steeplechase and a former record holder in the water and barrier race alongside Julius Kariuki, the Kenyan who bagged steeplechase gold at the 1988 and 1990 Olympic Games and Julius Korir, the only gold medallist at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics were among celebrated legends who graced the showpiece.

Tecla Chemabwai, the first woman to represent Kenya at the Olympics in 1968 was conspicuously present.

Race Director Moses Tanui, a two-time Boston marathon champion said he was impressed by the increasing number of foreign athletes taking part in the Eldoret City Marathon.

“We had a number of challenges and we are happy that athletes turned up in big numbers to compete.

“We were cleared by Athletics Kenya 12 days to the race and we worked together and we managed to deliver a well-organised race,” the director said.

A sizable number of athletics lovers participated in the race’s 10km fun run.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii and his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Wisley Rotich took part in the fun race.

The two governors said they were proud of producing athletes who have gone ahead to represent Kenya in international championships.

“The North Rift region is undoubtedly an athletics powerhouse, churning out world beaters in both track and road events. As North Rift Economic Bloc counties, we are committed to identifying and nurturing talents,” Rotich said.

Race promoter Gladys Boss Shollei led a number of partners in the fun race.

The partners that comprised Standard Media Group planted trees at Kapsoya Primary School play grounds to mark the race’s Climate Action initiatives.

Shollei said her 'Adopt an Athlete' programmer aimed at supporting vulnerable athletes to take part in local races paid dividends after a huge number of them lined up in the Eldoret City Marathon show.

“I went to training camps and bases and I discovered that many upcoming athletes were unable to pay rent and registration fees to take part in local races. I am happy that the initiative is currently helping in solving challenges that athletes face, including gender based violence and needs required in training,” she added.

By AFP 18 mins ago
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