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Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon heads for Eldoret

By Rodgers Eshitemi | May 25th 2015
Deaflympics marathon champion Daniel Kiptum. [PHOTO:FILE]

The Second Edition of Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon will be held in Eldoret, Uasin Gichu County, on Sunday May 31, 2015.

According to Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya (DAAK), the Safaricom-sponsored event will include 21km and 10km races for men’s and women’s categories. The race will bring together deaf athletes from all counties in the country.

The flagging-off point will be Uasin Gishu County Government grounds, then the athletes will pass through High Court, Standard Bank, Nakumatt, Sirikwa Hotel and then to the finishing line at the newly refurbished Kipchoge Keino Stadium.

There will be a lot of prizes winners. Money prizes will be awarded to the first three finishers in the categories. The top 10  finishers will also not go home empty-handed as they will be rewarded as the rest get certificates of participation.

However, the amount of cash awards will be revealed prior to commencement of the race, according to DAAK Public Relations Officer Tom Okiki.

“The race is instrumental in scouting for emerging deaf marathoners at the grass-root level and prepare them for future international competitions,” Okiki told FeverPitch.

At the first World Deaf Athletics Championships in 2008, Izmir, Turkey, Kenya’s Daniel Kiptum won a gold medal after timing 2:28.45, while Peter Toroitich clinched bronze after clocking 2:37.18).

The Kenyan deaf athletes have continued to do well at international championships with Kiptum clinching gold (time 2:28.31) in Men’s marathon at 21st Summer Deaflympics, Taipei, Taiwan, in 2009. He was followed by David Njeru who won silver after timing 2:35.59.

At 22nd Summer Deaflympics 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria, Kiptum again clinched gold in 2:24.45. Peter Toroitich took silver  after timing 2:28.44). Kiptum is now the world record holder of the Deaf Marathon following his impressive performance at Zurich-based hearing marathon in 2011, where he timed 2:11.31.

But it will not be a walk in the park for Kitum in Eldoret as Simon Cherono, who came second during the last year’s first ever Deaf Half Marathon in Kisumu, is ready to give him a run for his money.

To make the event more successful, organisers have called on corporate institutions to come on board and supplement Safaricom’s support.

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