Human traffic will gridlock parts of Nairobi City when over 20,000 participants take over the streets to run and compete during the annual Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon on Sunday morning.
In a rare spectacle, fans will mingle with accomplished athletes while normal traffic on the western side of the busy city will be re-routed to pave way for the bee hive of activities that will culminate with winners of the marathons earmarked for the day.
More than 20,000 runners, volunteers and supporters from all walks of life had appended their signatures to participate in the annual race before the official closing of registration on Monday, an upward appreciation from the 19,000 realized last year.
The Nairobi event, the only marathon in Kenya accredited by IAAF and among the 10 marathons sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank across the World, will start on Uhuru Highway outside Nyayo National Stadium and finish on the running track inside the stadia.
“This year’s race will be held on Sunday 25th October at Nyayo National Stadium. It will be the 13th anniversary of the event which was first held in 2003,” said Peter Gitau, the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon Chairman.
This year’s event will feature six race categories which have been further divided along gender lines to classify men and women.
These are; the main marathon which is 42Kilometres male and female, 21kilometres male and female and 10kilometres race for also male and female.
In addition, there will be 21kilometres Wheelchair male and female, 5kilometres Family Fun Run race and CEO’s Fun Run that will cover 5kilometres.
The two main events will be the 42 and 21Kilometres where elite athletes have registered in hundreds as the chase for the lucrative Ksh1.5 million and Sh150, 000 being dangled for the winners take the center stage.
As it has been characteristics with the 13 year-old race, Peter Kosgei and Edith Irungu return to competition but it will be a tall order to defend the titles they won last year as Barselius Kipyego and Lydia Simiyu move from 21Km to 42Km after winning the shorter causes last year.
With the prevailing weather conditions, it will be a tall calling for the winners to dip under the 2:12.24 and 2:32.02 registered by Kosgei and Irungu or the previous 2:11.40 and 2:33.18 chalked by Kenneth Mungara and Winfrida Kwamboka in winning the race in 2013.
Previous winners of the Nairobi race have carried on the winning streak to other big city marathons including Irine Jepkosgei (Commonwealth gold medalist), Kenneth Mungara (World Masters record holder) and Moses Kigen, Moses Barmao among other who have received global accolades.
Veteran athletes Doughlas Wakiihuri, Moses Tanui, John Ngugi, Rose Tata Muya, Joyce Odhiambo, Tecla Lorupe and Ruth Waithera will offer their experience if officiating as they persuade the current generation to compete clean.
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