What you need to know:
- Uasin Gishu County governor Jackson Mandago said that he is happy to have started a race that has been a blessing and hopes the next government will carry on and improve the standards of the race.
- "We initiated a race and as a race patron I will be looking forward to handing over the baton and I hope the next government will work better and make the race big," said Mandago.
Kenya and Ethiopia stand to benefit immensely from the proposed partnership between Eldoret City Marathon and the Great Ethiopian Run.
Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya Meles Alem has observed that, whereas the two countries have been like a family and have always enjoyed friendship in athletics, the partnership promises more opportunities for athletes in terms of competition.
Speaking in Eldoret yesterday during the fourth Eldoret City Marathon where he was the chief guest, Alem said that athletics has brought new opportunities for the country as athletes compete internationally.
"A partnership between the two countries is what we have always waited for and I'm happy the journey has started. More opportunities will be created for athletes when we have more of such races in Africa. We have strong ties and when such collaboration comes up we have to embrace it," he said.
Alem observed that for many years, athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia have performed well in middle and distance races and a chance to come together would make the races more interesting.
"In the absence of athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia, the races are normally not interesting and that is why coming together is one of the most important things we can do. It will grow to be an African affair. We also need to look into history and know why Haile Gebrselassie the Ethiopian athletics legend managed to run for many years," added Alem.
He also observed that the doping menace is something that must be tackled seriously because it's tarnishing the great reputation of the two countries.
"Doping has become an issue and we have to face it and make sure we eradicate with all possible means. We advocate for clean athletics and both governments must work together to make make sure we end it," he said.
Also in the country are the Great Ethiopian Run officials Yetnayet Mekuria and Muluemebet Bahiru who are benchmarking on the marathon race ahead of the partnership which is expected to be sealed later in the year.
Muluemebet told Nation Sport that Eldoret City Marathon is a big race and soon after the deal between the two countries has been signed, athletes from both countries will benefit by being invited to compete in Ethiopia and vice versa.
"We have today witnessed a great race and we hope the partnership will be able to improve sports between the two countries and improve on the athletes' welfare. We shall be happy to see athletes winning in Africa just as they also compete and win in Europe," said Muluemebet.
Also among the invited guests was Greece Ambassador to Kenya, Vicky Pantazopoulou, world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, athletics legend Kipchoge Keino, Valencia Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono, former 800m world champion among others.
Former two-time Boston Marathon champion Moses Tanui revealed that that the race was successful and next year they will be introducing the wheelchair race and paraympics category as one way of bringing everyone on board.
"We shall be improving on standards each year and we are happy that next year we shall have a category for the wheelchair athletes both men and women and also the paraympics athletes so that everyone counts himself or herself as a participant," said Tanui
Uasin Gishu County governor Jackson Mandago said that he is happy to have started a race that has been a blessing and hopes the next government will carry on and improve the standards of the race.
"We initiated a race and as a race patron I will be looking forward to handing over the baton and I hope the next government will work better and make the race big," said Mandago.