The third edition of the Eldoret City Marathon, which was to be held on 19th April 2020, was on 7th April postponed indefinitely due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic. The postponement was announced at a small, brief event organized on the grounds of the County Government of Uasin Gishu, the marathon’s title sponsor. Speaking at the event, Moses Tanui, the director of the race expressed his regret at the turn of events but emphasized that the health of participants, fans, and organizers was the most important consideration during these unprecedented times. He thanked the sponsors, partners, organizers, and participants for their faith in the race and promised that the race would be back bigger and better than ever before.
These sentiments were shared by Joseph Kurgat, the Uasin Gishu County Executive Member for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, and Social Services, who noted that everything had been in place, including a sponsorship package of between Ksh 18-20 million from the County, to ensure that the third edition would have been the best race yet in Africa. Kurgat noted that although the race had been postponed, the campaign of planting at least 3 million tree seedlings would start as soon as the long rains commence in a few weeks time. Before the coronavirus-enforced postponement, the number of participating athletes had been expected to be the largest in the marathon’s history owing to the cancellation of other major international marathons, including the London Marathon. Mr. Abraham Mutai, the Athletics Kenya Central Rift Region chairman noted that health and safety of everyone involved had made holding the event unfeasible at the moment.
The organizers were cognizant of the tough times that athletes are likely to undergo in the coming months owing to the postponement or cancellation of practically all major global athletics events that were to be held on the first and second quarters of the year. With this in mind, Tanui sent a plea to President Uhuru Kenyatta to set aside a special fund for sportspersons similar to the Ksh 100 million that the president had set aside for artists. The director also urged athletes to continue training individually to ensure they remain healthy and fit without exposing themselves to the risks of coronavirus.
Kurgat expressed optimism that the rescheduled race would be held within the next two to three months and noted its importance in nurturing and growing athletics talents in Uasin Gishu County and the larger North Rift region.
We at Eldoret City Marathon emphasize the importance of following the strict government regulations on Covid-19, including regularly washing hands, wearing a mask in public, observing social distancing, and staying at home unless it is unavoidable as it is these measures that will ensure coronavirus is defeated within the shortest time possible paving way for a resumption to normal life.