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First Lady conquers ‘stretch of death’

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FIRST-LADY-ITENITEN, February 25- First Lady Margaret Kenyatta successfully conquered the “heart-break” run in Iten where her training entered the fourth day Wednesday morning.

It took the Ms Margaret Kenyatta and her team exactly 2 hours to cover the 10km hilly and meandering stretch usually used by  local and international athletes to test stamina and energy levels.

Many athletic careers and names have been made along this “killer stretch” locally baptized as “haribu mwili, ujenge jina (torture the body to make a name)” It is also known by local athletes as the “longest 10km run” due to the meandering and hilly nature of the stretch.

This unique “stretch of death” spans between Tambach Teachers Training College and Iten town and any athlete who successfully conquers the track is usually assured of success in international outings.

It is a treacherous course because one has to run uphill for a whole 10 km .

The resilient First Lady ran the whole stretch energized by the presence of 70-year old local athlete Veronica Ayabei and a star-studded cast of double world champion Abel Kirui, London and New York marathon winner Wilson Kipsang, two-time women’s world champion Edna Kiplagat, New York women’s crown holder Mary Keitany and Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos.

Ms Kenyatta has for the past week remained in the North Rift training ahead of the March 8 First Lady’s Half Marathon in Nairobi.

She also delivered a Beyond Zero Mobile clinic to Uasin Gishu county on Tuesday and she is set to deliver the 21st clinic to Elgeyo Marakwet County Thursday.

The forthcoming First Lady’s Half Marathon will be the third event in which the mother of the nation will be participating in to raise awareness and mobilize funds for the Beyond Zero initiative.

The First Lady successfully participated in both the inaugural First Lady’s Half Marathon in Nairobi and the London Marathon last year.

The Beyond Zero initiative aims to reduce maternal and child mortality in Kenya which remains unacceptably high. The country loses more than 108,000 children annually before they celebrate their fifth birthdays while over 5500 women loose their lives while giving birth.

The campaign is driven by the principle that “no woman should die while giving life” which the First Lady has used as a mantra to mobilise awareness and resources globally.

The campaign targets to purchase 47 fully kitted mobile clinics for all the counties.

The funds raised so far have been used to purchase 20 mobile clinic already handed over to different counties.

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