More than 20,000 runners have registered to take part in the 14th edition of the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon scheduled for Sunday.
The chairman of the local organizing committee Peter Gitau told journalists on Friday that last year’s winners Joshua Kipkorir and Elizabeth Rumokol are among the runners who have enlisted for the annual event.
“This year’s event promises to be very competitive as more elite runners have registered to take part in the race, whereas last year’s winners have vowed to give their all to defend their titles,” Gitau said.
About 700 athletes have registered for the full marathon; 7,000 for the half marathon; 8,000 for 10km; whereas the 5km and wheelchair races will take up the balance of the competitors, said Gitau.
All the proceeds from the race will be used to fund the bank’s ‘Seeing is Believing’ initiative which is focused on eradication of avoidable blindness in Kenya. Since the inception of the event in 2003, more than one million US dollars have been raised to sponsor cataract, glaucoma and trauma-related surgeries for 6,000 needy children.
Last year’s event had its fair share of drama when one shady character named Julus Njogu, stood strategically at the entrance of Nyayo Stadium (which was the finish line) waiting for an opportunity to jump into the race at the last minute.
Armed with full racing gear complete with bib number, Njogu jumped into the men’s 42km line behind the runner who was headed for the runners-up position and almost whizzed past the winner.
To hide his craftiness, Njogu splashed himself with water to camouflage that body which had neither sweat nor the white body salt normally exuded by athletes after a race. He was promptly arrested after this stunt.
Organizers have promised that this year’s race will be devoid of such incidents during the event which is expected to raise about 400,000 US dollars for charity.
The Nairobi County Traffic Commandant Leonard Katana reported that roads along the race route will be closed between 4.00am and 1.00pm local time.