Kenya launches richest marathon in Africa

Amina Mohamed

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed speaks during the official launch of Uhuru Classic Nairobi City Marathon on April 28, 2022 at Norfok Hotel.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Men’s and women’s winner will pocket a hefty Sh6.9m each
  • Inaugural Uhuru Classic Nairobi City Marathon will be held on May 8, mainly on Expressway

The organisers of the inaugural Uhuru Classic Nairobi City Marathon on May 8 have set aside $389,500 (about ShSh44.8m) as prize money making the road race the richest in Africa.

Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei, who also unveiled the route for the four races that will be on cards, disclosed that $370,000 (Sh42.55m) will go towards the men’s and women’s winners of the main marathon.

The prize fund for the marathon that will start and finish at the Nyayo National Stadium covers the top 20 finishers.

Some 33km of the route will be run on the new Nairobi Expressway with the rest on some of the iconic streets in the city.

Tuwei said the men’s and women’s winner will each pocket  $60,000 (Sh6.9m) in prize money with the second placed athletes in each of the categories going home with $35,000 (Sh4.02m) richer.

Those finishing third will pocket $25,000 (Sh2.875m) each with the fourth and fifth placed athletes getting $12,500 (Sh1.44m) and $10,000 (Sh1.15m) respectively.

Tuwei, who was accompanied by the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Amina Mohamed, and event organiser, Bob Verbeeck from Golazo, was speaking during the official launch of the race at the Norfolk, in Nairobi.

The prize fund in half marathon (21km) and 10km races will cover top six finishers while there is no prize money for the 5km fun races.

The men and women’s winners in 21km races will get $2,500 (Sh287,500) with second and third placed finishers receiving $1,250 (Sh143,750) and $750 (Sh86,250) respectively.

Winners in 10km will walk away with $1,500 (Sh172,500) each with second and third place finishers receiving $1,000 (Sh115,000) and $700 (Sh80,000) in that order.

Tuwei said so far over 1,000 participants including 100 in marathon and 350 in half marathon, have registered for the races.

“We are at the delivery stage of the marathon and we urge athletes to register for the race in numbers,” said Tuwei.

He said that they have partnered with the United Nations Environmental Program (Unep) to install four air quality sensors along the route.

“The race is geared towards celebrating President Uhuru Kenyatta’s infrastructural development by unveiling the Expressway through athletics. We also want to thank our athletes for the tremendous contribution to this country,” said Tuwei.

Amina described the race as historic that will rival big city marathons like the Berlin, London, Boston, and New York among others.

“We not only want to expose the infrastructural legacy by the President but also pay tribute to his support for sports in the country,” Amina said.

She said that the event will be an additional success to other major events the country has hosted.

She pointed out the 2017 World Under-18 Athletics Championships, the 2021 World Under-20 Athletics Championships and the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold that have been hosted in Kenya.

“The race will showcase the beauty of the city, our expansive Nairobi National Park and infrastructure,“ said Amina.

The marathon race will start at the Nyayo National Stadium before hitting the Expressway all the way to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport turn off.

The competitors will then exit the Expressway to battle at the major streets at the city centre before making their way to Globe Cinema Roundabout on to Kipande Road and Museum Hill roundabout.

They will then return to the Expressway and all the way to ABC Westlands where they will make a turn before returning to finish at the Nyayo Stadium.

The half marathon contestants will avoid the city centre by staying on the Expressway.
They will make turns at Ole Sereni Hotel and ABC Westlands to finish at the Nyayo Stadium.

The 10km racers will make turns at Capital Centre and Museum Hill and back to Nyayo.