Mutai, Jeptoo latest addition to Nairobi City Marathon entry list

Emmanuel Mutai

Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya crosses the line in second place in the men's race in the 2013 London Marathon on The Mall in central London on April 21, 2013.

Photo credit: File | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Top 20 finishers of the race, which will start and  end at Nyayo Stadium, will get prizes
  • More athletes expected to register for Sunday’s race which will be the richest in Africa in terms of prize fund

The 2011 London Marathon champion, Emmanuel Mutai, and 2017 Eindhoven Marathon champion, Eunice Jeptoo, are among local stars who have signed up for the inaugural edition of Uhuru Classic Nairobi Marathon.

The race will take place on the streets of Nairobi next Sunday.

The 37-year-old Mutai, who claimed silver medal in marathon at the 2009  World Athletics Championships in Berlin, has been a regular at the World Marathon Majors.

He secured second place finishes in the 2010 and 2011 New York City Marathon, the 2010 and 2013 London Marathon, 2013 Chicago Marathon and 2014 Berlin Marathon.

Mutai last competed at Eldoret City Marathon, and the French Riviera Marathon Nice-Cannes in 2019. He has a personal best time  of two hours, 03 minutes and 13 seconds from a second place finish at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

It’s at the 2014 Berlin Marathon where Dennis Kimetto set a world marathon record of 2:02:57.

Besides Mutai, some of Kenya’s season marathoners like Kenneth Mungára, who has personal best of 2:07:36, Moses Mengich (2:13:18), Levi Matebo (2:05:16) and Nicholas Chelimo Kipkorir (2:07:38) have also joined the battle.

Mungára, who finished second in the 2011 Prague Marathon in personal best 2:07:36,  won the 2013 Standard Chartered Bank Nairobi Marathon.

Mungára, who represented Kenya in the marathon at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, finishing 10th, has won Gold Coast Marathon four times back-to-back from 2015 to 2018.

Mungára, who has 12 marathon wins in his career, also claimed victories in 2010 Singapore Marathon and 2015 Milan City Marathon even though he is yet to break through to World Marathon Majors like Mutai.

It will be Mengich’s first race since finishing fifth at Treviso and Venice Marathons in 20-19 in Italy. The 28-year-old Mengich settled second at the 2018 Torino Marathon and won the Moshi Kilimanjaro Marathon in 2017.

Matebo has a personal best of 2:05:16 from setting runner-up at the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon. He was also second at the Boston Marathon in 2012. He has won marathons in Brussels and Barcelona. In addition to the marathon, he has a half marathon best of 1:00:06.

In the women’s race, Jeptoo has competed once this season, at the third Athletics Kenya Track and Field Meeting in March, finishing  10th in 10,000m.

Jeptoo won the 2017 Eindhoven Marathon in personal best 2:26:13, the same year she captured second place in Rabat Marathon.

Jeptoo will take on, among others, Brigid Cherono and Emily Cheruiyot in the women’s race.

The organisers have set aside $389,500 (about Sh44.8 million) as prize money for the Uhuru Classic out of which $370,000 (Sh42.55m) will cater for prize money in men’s and women’s marathon races.

The prize fund for the marathon,  which 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 streets in the city.

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.