As we look ahead to the launch of the third edition of the Eldoret City Marathon on Friday 24th Jan 2020, it is also a good time to look back upon the marathon’s journey over the last two years. The inaugural Eldoret City Marathon was held on April 22, 2018. The first edition got off to a rapid start having been kicked off by the deputy president of the Republic of Kenya, Dr. William Ruto. Sharon Cherop and Elkana Yego won the Women’s and Men’s race respectively and took home Kshs 3 Million each.
The top ten finishers in each race were awarded cash prizes, which was a first for a marathon in the region. The second edition, which was held on 21st April 2019, was marked by some notable changes including a redesign of the marathon route owing to some then ongoing construction works on some of the roads that formed the original route. The route redesigns were approved by World Athletics, formerly known as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Another notable change during the second edition of the marathon was the expansion of the prize bracket from the top ten finishers in each race to the top 20 finishers in each race. The winner’s purse was also increased from Kshs 3 million to Kshs 3.5 million. This brought the total prize money for winners to Kshs 18M, making the Eldoret City Marathon the highest paying marathon in Africa.
The Eldoret City Marathon has served as a platform for fresh talent and those making a comeback to excel. This has been the case, in particular, for the past winners of the men’s race, Elkana Yego and Mathew Kisorio as well as Sharon Cherop who won the first edition after coming back from maternity leave. Kisorio went ahead to win the Beijing Marathon 6 months later.
The interest and buzz surrounding the marathon has also grown steadily over the past two editions. For instance, the participants in the second edition were more than double those who participated in the inaugural edition. The second edition also marked the debut of several international athletes from Spain, Germany, Argentina, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and other countries.
The approach to climate action, the theme of the marathon, has also changed over the first two editions. The first edition show thousands of tree seedlings planted in public and/or open places like the banks of River Sosiani in Eldoret Town. However, realization that seedlings in such areas were vulnerable to destruction by humans and animals saw a change of strategy during the second edition. Rather than planting the seedlings in open places, the Eldoret City Marathon planted them within fenced areas, such as the Eldoret Arboretum opposite Alphax College. The Eldoret City Marathon also supervised the distribution of thousands of seedlings to institutions, such as schools, police stations, health centers, and not-for-profit organizations which were directed to plant the trees within fenced areas and care for them by watering and protecting them from domestic animals, such as goals and cows.
The third edition is nigh. Buoyed by the success of the past two editions, we are highly confident that the third edition will be the biggest sporting event in Kenya and the region during this calendar year. We thank our sponsors, partners, athletes, staff, and everyone who has been part of our journey so far. We hope we can continue walking together in this journey and put our minds together to ensure the Eldoret City Marathon remains the prime marathon event in the region.
Here’s to a successful third edition. Registration for the third edition opens on 24th Jan 2020.