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Eldoret City marathon was sweet victory for me

FOOTBALL By Stephen Rutto | February 16th 2021
Sharon Cherop celebrates after crossing the winning line during the first edition of Eldoret City Marathon in Eldoret town yesterday. 22.04.2018.PHOTOS [PETER OCHIENG/STANDARD]

Former Boston Marathon champion says there is good prize money in Eldoret City Marathon

Race attracts more than 30,000 athletes and this year's event is set for April.

Winner of the inaugural Eldoret City Marathon Sharon Cherop has asked top athletes to battle for the Sh18 million prize money in the race set for April.

Cherop, the reigning Lagos marathon champion got the prize money in the first edition in 2018.

It is billed as the highest paying marathon in Africa, with winners in both male and female category bagging Sh3.5 million each.

Yesterday, Cherop equated the race to World Athletics Gold label marathons in Europe and the US and urged Kenyan elites to prepare to run away with the cash prize in the third edition which will be staged in Eldoret in 52 days.

The former Boston marathon winner said elite athletes can use the Eldoret race to test their fitness after many races were cancelled last year.

In December, the Eldoret's 42Km race earned global recognition from the Abbott World Marathon Major (WMM) series, making it to the Majors diary.

“I can equate Eldoret City marathon to Amsterdam marathon because of the big cash prize awards for athletes who take up the top slots. Last year was a tough year after races were cancelled and we can’t shun local races,” Cherop said.

Cherop, who bagged Hamburg and Toronto Waterfront marathon titles in 2010, predicted an assembly of top stars in the third edition, arguing that many lucrative marathons and half marathons across the world were yet to be confirmed and it is not known whether races will be staged this year.

Athletes compete in 42KM women race during 2nd Eldoret City Marathon in Uasin Ngishu County on April 21, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Cherop said the Eldoret City Marathon is the only race that has so far been confirmed.

She said the 2018 prize money was a boost to her investments in Uasin Gishu and her home county of Elgeyo Marakwet.

Cherop recalled how she topped the 2018 race, in a strong return from maternity leave.

“I had stayed out of competition for a long time. I had just given birth to my second child and I made an impressive comeback at the Eldoret City marathon,” Cherop, winner of the Boston marathon in 2012, said.

“The race motivated me in 2018. I also challenge budding athletes to take part because that is the kind of race where top managers spot talent. It will change your life and career, especially if you make it to the podium.”

She said she has taken a rest this year, but is considering to take part in the Eldoret show next year.

Luckily in February last year, days before the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions affected the sporting world, Cherop cruised to glory at the Lagos marathon.

Last year, the race was marked by tree planting in Kapseret forest, during an event led by Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago.

Beijing marathon champion Valary Aiyabei was the winner of the second edition of the Eldoret City marathon in 2019.

Aiyabei, in a show of strength, emerged victorious a day after an emotional funeral of her nephew.

The athlete, who had attended and took part in preparation of Kiprono’s burial, still managed to live up expectation of fans in Eldoret town by winning the race.

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