The third edition of the Eldoret City Marathon has been officially launched. In a colorful event presided over by the Deputy Governor of Uasin Gishu County, H.E. Hon Daniel Kiprotich Chemno, the third edition was launched a few minutes to 10AM on Friday, 24th Jan 2020. Speaking at the event, Chemno said that the marathon was born out of the need to ensure world-beating athletes from the region have a home. The marathon, according to Chemno, identifies talented athletes who could not have had opportunities for a breakthrough abroad and gives them their big break. The deputy governor also emphasized on the need for athletes to run cleanly terming the recent doping bans afforded to leading Kenyan athletes a sad moment for Kenya. In Chemno’s words, “it is better to miss the honor you deserve than have one you do not deserve.” In a light moment, the deputy governor promised to participate in the upcoming marathon terming it a “small task” compared to a past venture of climbing Mt. Kenya.
The race director, Moses Tanui, provided an update on the strides made by the marathon over the past year. The top 20 finishers in the second edition had, according to Tanui, got sponsors while the winners, Valary Aiyabei and Mathew Kisorio, went ahead to win the Frankfurt and Beijing marathons respectively. The director once again gave a stern warning to those who might be contemplating doping even as he announced that one athlete among the top 20 finishers last year had been busted for doping. He reminisced on his younger days when he used to run 300KM every week as part of training that ensured he won multiple world and marathon titles, including the prestigious Boston Marathon twice. This was to show that hard work and honesty pays, particularly in athletics. The strict anti-doping policy would continue this year, he concluded. Tanui then introduced his former coach, the world-famous Dr. Gabriele Rosa, the founder of Rosa Associati.
The chairman of the Eldoret City Marathon, Andrew Chelogoi, termed the marathon as the simplest way to nurture the talent, in the region of between 5,000 to 10,000 runners, available in Uasin Gishu County. The Chairman invited the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) to become a partner/sponsor as athletes are the best in marketing Kenya abroad.
On climate action, the deputy governor called for the planting of more indigenous trees, particularly in riparian areas to limit water evaporation. Benjamin Kinyili, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) North-Rift region head of conservancy, recollected the climate action journey so far that started with the planting of 500,000 seedlings during the first edition of the marathon in 2018 to two million seedlings last year. The bulk of tree seedlings in the first edition were planted along River Sosiani, within the Eldoret Sports Club, and within Eldoret Club. The second edition saw the distribution of over a million trees to institutions, such as schools, hospitals, police stations, youth groups, and religious institutions among others. The second edition was also marked by the establishment of a green space known as Eldoret Arboretum opposite Alphax College where more tree seedlings were planted. The third edition will focus on fencing the 1,300HA Kapseret Forest.
The partners and sponsors present expressed their delight for being associated with the marathon and committed to continue partnering with, and sponsoring, the marathon.