Nairobi — The postponement of the Nairobi City Marathon to July 2 provides many Kenyan athletes with enough time to register for the second edition of the road race.
Race director Ibrahim Hussein urged runners to register in their numbers, noting that the change in date would allow enough time for runners to register and train, especially those who have not had much opportunities to compete in road races abroad.
“And for all those who have not had the opportunity to compete outside. I think July is a very good time…you can see the pattern of the weather, it’s good. So, we are targeting the top athletes, there is a team in place that is looking into that,” Hussein said.
The event features four categories of competition including 5km, 10km, 21km and 42km races for men and women as well as a family run.
During the first edition, the men’s marathon was clinched by Brimin Misoi who clocked 2:08:30 in first place, ahead of Richard Rop (2:09:17) and Daniel Kosgei (2:10:15) in second and third respectively.
The women’s race was won by Agnes Barsosio who timed 2:24:45 as Shyline Jepkorir (2:29:04) and Sharon Jemutai (2:29:37) finished second and third.
Hussein, himself a top international marathoner in his heydays, said that the organising committee will invite past winners to compete in the marathon to ensure continuity.
“I think our marathon is a little bit different in that we are not only targeting the international athletes but also past winners. It is only right that we invite them…they respected us enough last time to honour our invitation, came and ran and won with a good time of 2:08,” the three-time Boston Marathon champion said.
The Nairobi City International Marathon was scheduled for May 21, a week after this year’s Kip Keino Classic World Athletics Continental Tour Gold, but was postponed due to what organisers termed as a ‘congested calendar.’
Hussein explained that the decision was reached in hindsight of last year’s edition – held a day after the Kip Keino Classic – that was bedeviled with logistical challenges.
“If you remember last year, it was held after the Continental Tour and so it was a logistical nightmare for the organisers although it was eventually successful. We did a very wonderful job but I feel it really strained the technical officials who had to move from one side to the next,” he said.
Moreover, he noted that the marathon would have coincided with a cancer walk by Getrude Hospital, set for the same day.
The postponement notwithstanding, Hussein is optimistic that tens of thousands of interested participants will register.
“We have a target of registering between 15,000 and 20,000 participants and within this period that we have, we can achieve it. Remember last year, we had around 10,000 participants registering for the race given that the time was short. Already this year, approximately 2500 runners have registered for the 5k and 10k races,” Hussein announced.
The course remains the same as last year albeit Hussein explained that the starting point will be expanded.
“It was a little bit congested if you remember…for those of you who were there last year. We are going to make it wider; there is a team working on it. We are going to measure it so that we conform to World Athletics standards,” he said.
Winners of the full marathon will each take home Ksh 3.5million whereas those who triumph in the half marathon will be Ksh150,000 richer.