Two new road races were unveiled today as Safaricom announced a mouth-watering Sh80 million sponsorship for the 2016 Safaricom Athletics Series.
The Kericho Road Race and Tegla Peace Race have been included in Safaricom’s annual cocktail of races that also includes the Safaricom Deaf Marathon, Henry Wanyoike Run, Iten Half Marathon, Kisii Half Marathon and Mombasa Marathon.
Others are Nandi County’s Ndalat Gaa Cross Country, Madoka Marathon, Kass Marathon, Imenti South Road Race and the Kisumu Marathon.
The Safaricom Athletics Series is celebrating its fourth year with the Sh80 million sponsorship, presented to the Athletics Kenya executives, led by President Jack Tuwei at Safaricom House on Monday (May 23) covering direct sponsorship as well as marketing, merchandise and event support.
The sponsorship will also cover key Athletics Kenya calendar events, namely the National Athletic Championships that will be held at the Safaricom Stadium this weekend and the trials for the Rio Olympic Games which run on June 30 and July 1 at Eldoret’s Kipchoge Keino Stadium.
The Deaf Athletics Championships will get Sh5 million while Olympic trials will be funded to a tune of Sh3 million and the road races will get a total of Sh16 million.
Track and field athletics meetings have been awarded the lion’s share of Sh22 million with the remaining Sh34 million going into logistics, prizes, marketing and other expenses.
Safaricom’s director of corporate affairs Steve Chege said it was an honour for the mobile telephone company to support a sport that produces world beaters.
“We are honoured to once again be in a position to create lasting positive impact by transforming lives of communities using sports people and we are excited about watching our sportsmen and women showcase their skills,” said Chege.
“Our athletes have consistently proven that they are a force to reckon with and we are committed to sponsoring sporting activities all over the country. Through this events, we are keen to discover and nurture new talent and at the same time give them a chance to use these local races to prepare for the big international events such as the Olympics.”
Athletics Kenya President Tuwei hailed the Safaricom for the sponsorship and for keeping faith in the association that has emerged stronger from turbulent times, including scathing attacks against Kenyan athletes allowing issues of doping to cloud Kenya’s flagship sport.
“We thank you for continued support. Yes, we are aware there have been a few wobbles here and there but I insist our athletes are very clean and I’m confident come the Olympics, we will do well,” said Tuwei.
The series will kick-off with this weekend’s National Championships that will also be trials for the Africa Championships to be held in the South African port city of Durban.
Safaricom Athletics Series schedule:
Deaf Marathon (May 31),
Henry Wanyoike Run (June 6),
Iten Half Marathon (August1),
Kisii Half Marathon (August 14),
Diamond Half Marathon (August 16),
National Deaf trials to Congo (August 19-20),
Mombasa Marathon (September 27),
Ndalat Gaa Cross Country (October 10),
Madoka Marathon (October 17),
Tegla Loroupe Peace race (November 9),
Kass Marathon (November 15),
Imenti South race (December 5),
Kisumu Marathon (December 13).
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