What you need to know:
- Were it not for the pandemic, we would be talking about crazy figures in terms of fan attendance. Even in the current situation we still had pockets of fans lining up as early as 5.30 am.
- The message I am trying to put across is that as a country, we should build our marathons and try to match the Big Five in terms of organisation and pay..
The success of the just concluded Eldoret City Marathon was a testament we are on course to recover as far as athletics is concerned.
Despite the current Covid-19 situation, the event was organised in accordance with the Ministry of Health protocols and at the end of it all, the various stakeholders were happy.
Of course, upstarts Mercy Kipchumba and Victor Kipchirchir pocketed the top cash award of Sh3.5 million each.
Kipchumba was dominant in the women’s race despite this being her debut race over the distance, edging out Venice Marathon champion and training mate Judy Korir to second place.
Kipchirchir, on the other hand, was returning from a three-year injury spell hence displayed imperious form all the way.
Kudos to the race director Moses Tanui and the Uasin Gishu county government for ensuring everything went according to plan.
In the Eldoret Marathon, we see the future of the road races in the country. I wish we had two other races in the league of Eldoret Marathon -- foreign races will have it rough trying to get our athletes to compete abroad.
Tanui and company have tried to maintain standards and the package on offer is equal to or more than some of the races abroad.
Remember, for one to compete in foreign race, you have to factor in airfare, accommodation and food among others.
On the contrary, you only have to worry about doping results when featuring in the Eldoret race.
Most athletes admit that amid the Covid-19 situation, it is easier competing locally than travelling abroad.
They noted that the money earned from competing in some races abroad is less than what Eldoret City offered.
Therefore, I appeal to corporate sponsors to support local races and ensure our athletes are spoilt for choice. This, I guess, is the only way we can “Buy Kenya and Build Kenya”.
Foreign races come with a lot of conditions and not all athletes get lucky to compete abroad. This is why we have seen a lot of talent go to waste and get frustrated due to lack of races.
Marathons in Kenya including Standard Chartered have always been a hit and all they need is support to attract the big names not only in Kenya but also abroad.
Were it not for the pandemic, we would be talking about crazy figures in terms of fan attendance. Even in the current situation we still had pockets of fans lining up as early as 5.30 am.
The message I am trying to put across is that as a country, we should build our marathons and try to match the Big Five in terms of organisation and pay..