Watch out for improved times at Lukenya marathon on Sunday

Last year's Lukenya University One million Marathon 42km winner Peter Kyengo. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Three-time Boston Marathon champion Cosmas Ndeti believes the Lukenya University 10 Million Trees Marathon course record will be lowered in the second edition this weekend.

The race will be held at the Lukenya University in Mtito Andei, Makueni County this Sunday.

Ndeti predicts that the race would be run under two hours 13 minutes going by the calibre of entries already received.

Defending champion Peter Kyengo from Machakos is the current course holder in a time of 2:13:03 in the men’s category, while Hellen Jepkurgat from Nandi is the best placed placed female with 2:40:58.

“There will be improved timings, definitely the results will be impressive as athletes are already training hard for the marathon,” Ndeti told Standard Sports.

Ndeti believes the marathon is growing in leaps and bounds but suggests that for it to expand to international stardom, high profile athletes should be roped in, even if it means having an appearance fees package.

“Having world beaters on the course will attract more international runners. The current prize money is also good, but increasing it will be perfect. It will make world beaters to thirst for the race, making the marathon one of the top races in the globe,” said Ndeti.

The Kitengela pastor is glad that the organisers have already roped in women’s 1500m record holder and double Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon in the mix.

Kipyegon joins Ndeti and his boss, former world marathon record holder Patrick Makau, as race brand ambassadors.

“Faith coming on board to join us is great news. It will help us spice up the marathon. It will unite more athletes towards the cause, which is to support sustainable actions on climate change,” he said.

Ndeti, the former Boston Marathon course record holder, mentors upcoming athletes.

“I give them guidance. I pray for them because our athletics is full of intrigues. There are so many world beating athletes who find themselves broke, dejected and have nothing to offer upon retirement,” the 52-year-old said.

The organisers are targeting over 1000 athletes this season. 15 top finishers in each category, both men and women, will be rewarded.

The 42km champions will go home Sh500,000 richer, while runner-up and third place finishers will each get Sh200,000 and Sh100,000 respectively.

Top 15 finishers in the half marathon will also be rewarded with the winner, second-place and third place finishers netting Sh100,000, Sh 60,000 and Sh40,000.

Over 40 sponsors have come on board to support the marathon and its cause and among them is the Standard Group PLC, who are the media sponsors.


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