NTV to air World Half Marathon Championships live

World half marathon record holder Peres Jepchirchir stretches at her home in Kapsabet, Nandi County, on October 13, 2020 before flying out later the same evening to Poland for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships slated for October 17 in the city of Gdynia.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Women’s race starts at midday and men’s race at 1.30pm
  • Nation Media Group underscores its commitment to promoting Kenyan sports

Nation Media Group’s television outlet NTV will broadcast Saturday’s World Athletics Half Marathon Championships live from Gdynia, Poland.

Nation Media Group’s Head of Broadcasting, Monica Waceke Ndung’u, said the move is part of NTV’s broader strategy to be the channel of choice for local and global sports broadcasts.

NTV was the host broadcaster for the Kip Keino Classic leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour on October 3 and also televised, live, the London Marathon on October 4.

The women’s race starts at 12 noon (Kenyan time) with the men’s competition blasting off at 1.30pm.

The races will be followed by the medal ceremonies for the women’s race, individual (3pm), women’s race, teams (3.05pm), men’s race, individual (3.10pm) and men’s race, teams (3.15pm).

The Kenyan team arrived safely in Gdynia on Wednesday evening with head coach and former world marathon record holder Patrick Makau upbeat and confident of a good result.

Makau on Thursday said the team’s spirits were lifted by the news that NTV will televise the races live.

“It will be interesting to have NTV showing the races live. It will be a big boost and an opportunity for athletes and also Kenyans to see their heroes and heroines running, especially at this time when Covid-19 is frustrating everything,” Makau said from Gdynia. “On the other hand, it will be a big promotion for sports in Kenya.”

Wet conditions

Makau said the team in Poland is getting used to the cold and wet conditions in the port city of Gdynia.

“Actually, it’s not that bad since it is drizzling and not raining. .. The temperatures are friendly at nine to 10 degrees,” the marathon legend said.

“I explained to the athletes how in 2010 I ran and won the Berlin Marathon in two hours and five minutes with rain throughout the race.”

Makau said the team is accommodated at Mercure Hotel under excellent conditions after having gone through the mandatory Covid-19 tests with no team member testing positive for the coronavirus.

“The whole team is now focused after undergoing the mandatory Covid-19 tests and we are confident that they will do well despite the challenges they went through in training,” said Makau.

The World Athletics Half Marathon Championships was first held on September 19 and 20, 1992, in South Shields, England.

Saturday’s event is the 24th edition and it will be the first time that Poland has hosted the competition.

About 250 athletes from more than 50 teams are expected to take part on a looped five-kilometre circuit around Gdynia’s city centre, finishing on the beach. 

Prize money is awarded to the top six finishers in both the individual and team contests.  

Individual winners receive $30,000 (Sh3.2 million), winning teams receive $15,000 (Sh1.6 million), and a $50,000 (Sh5.4 million) bonus will be awarded to any athlete who breaks a world record.

Zersenay Tadese is the most successful athlete in the history of the championships. The Eritrean has won 13 medals, including five individual gold medals. Tegla Loroupe is the most successful woman, having won eight medals in total, including three individual golds.

Seven countries (Spain, Ethiopia, France, Japan, Kenya, Romania and the USA) have competed at all 23 editions of the championships to date.

Five of those — Spain, Ethiopia, France, Kenya and Romania — will maintain that record in Gdynia.

Additional reporting by World Athletics