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It’s all systems go for the First Lady’s Half Marathon

FOOTBALL By DENNIS OKEYO | March 5th 2016 | 3 min read
Kenya's First Lady Margaret Kenyatta trains at Kasarani Stadium on Feb 25, 2016 for her preparation towards First Lady's Half Marathon is scheduled for the 6th of March, 2016. and will be in support of Beyond Zero campaign.[PHOTO:DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

Last year’s winners have confirmed participation in the First Lady’s Half Marathon to be held tomorrow.

The organisers announced that preparations are complete and that athletes and dignitaries expected to grace the event include the Olympic and world 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi.

Returning to the marathon after missing out in 2015 is Cynthia Chelagat who won the 10km women’s race at the inaugural First Lady’s Half Marathon in 2014. She is expected to go toe to toe with Agnes Jesang’, the World Military Games 3,000m silver medallist, also competing in the 10km event.

“I am excited to be running again this year. I am ready and hopeful to win even though I know many more athletes will also be competing for the ultimate prize,” said Chelagat.

Other notables expected at the event are Moses Kosgey and Andrew Kimutai the winner and runner-up at the 2015 edition of the 21km men’s race. Kosgey, who clocked in at 1 hour 01:28 minutes, said he hoped to improve his timing at this year’s event.

Speaking during a media briefing Barnaba Korir, on behalf of Athletics Kenya said that all professional runners registered for the marathon will be tested for doping by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya.

“These will be the first tests done by ADAK. The samples will be taken to Qatar and we expect that in three weeks we will have the results in three weeks, only then will the prize monies be given,” said Korir.

The marathon will start with the 10km wheelchair race at 6.30am. The 21km men and women race will be flagged off at 7am with the 10km men and women race following at 8am. The 5km and 2km races will start at 8.30am and 9am respectively.

In addition to the elite runners, some of the largest corporate team entries this year include Central Bank of Kenya with 500 entries and the Public Service Commission which has entered 200 participants. The Standard Group has entered a team of 70.

“We expect a large turnout of participants from far-flung regions including schools and colleges who have come on board to support the ‘Beyond Zero’ Campaign,” said Myke Rabar, the Chief Executive Officer of Homeboyz Aktivate, the event organisers.

For the first time in the history of the marathon winners in all categories will also receive trophies alongside their prize monies. Similarly, the top seven finishers aged six and below in the 2km champions race will be rewarded courtesy of Merck Limited.

This year, the flagship event for the ‘Beyond Zero’ Campaign, aims to raise Sh105 million from participants. By Wednesday sponsorships and donations from public and private organisations had reached Sh189 million.

Among the largest donors include, Merck Limited and Commercial Bank of Africa who have given Sh25 million each. Others are Kenya Commercial Bank who donated two clinics worth Sh20m, Cooperative Bank Sh15m and Vivo Energy Sh10 million.

All monies raised through the marathon are geared towards the purchase of 11 remaining fully kitted mobile clinics, out of the original 47 clinics earmarked for each county in Kenya. The Beyond Zero Campaign also has plan to build a specialised hospital for mother and child health care.

Meanwhile, Airtel yesterday announced its support to the Special Olympics Kenya Athletes to participate in the First Lady’s Half Marathon.

The Special Olympics Kenya team consists of 20 Olympians aged between 15 and 20 who come from different parts of the County.

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