NAIROBI, October 25 – Over 15,000 runners will take to the streets of Nairobi on Sunday for this year’s Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon.
The field will include athletes from 26 countries that will be taking part in the Nations challenge in the Greatest Run on Earth Series (GROE).
Standard Chartered’s East Africa Area Head of Corporate Affairs Annie Kinuthia said the GROE athletes are drawn from all over the world.
“The Standard Chartered Nairobi marathon is one of the Greatest Races on Earth (GROE) series so we have a lot of participants taking part from as far as Brazil, Uganda, Indonesia, Zambia and Bangladesh,” Kinuthia confirmed.
Nairobi marathon steering committee chairman Geoffrey Githinji of the Nairobi Marathon said all participants had registered by close of yesterday’s deadline with the bulk of runners coming in at the 11th hour.
“We had slightly over 12,700 runners by yesterday but we are confident in exceeding the number of participants in last year’s event since that total does not include entries made yesterday,” Githinji explained.
Defending champion in the men’s race John Njoroge Thuitha is expected to defend his title but will face stiff challenge led by Kenya’s Greatest Race on Earth (GROE) representative Philemon Lisoreng who has a personal best time of 2.14.02 and GROE’S Ari Suwandana of Indonesia with a personal best of 2.29.55.
The women’s race will see former champions Rose Chesire and Irene Jerotich take part while Kenya’s GROE representative Emma Kiruki with a personal best time of 2.38.18 is also expected to give them a run for their money.
Githinji added that they were hoping for good weather conditions on Sunday.
“We are upbeat and the only thing that is really not under our control is the weather but we hope for a dry race going by today’s sunshine,” he added.
Githinji added that Kenyan athletes expect tough challenge from foreigners lining up for the marathon in the chase for the top prize with 36 teams taking part.
“The Kenyan contingent has had stiff competition from Zimbabwe which will be the case this year as well. The teams from Ethiopia and Uganda have also been competitive,” Githinji said.
John Velzian who is the IAAF Director of the Nairobi marathon said the three main races will have to go through the city after the implementation of the new route.
“We have designed the 10 km, 21 km and 42 km races to go through the city and exactly the same route at different time intervals,” Velzian said.
Following the implementation several roads within the city will remain closed upto 1pm and these are Uhuru Highway,Haille Selassie Avenue ,Kenyatta Avenue, Harambee Avenue, Mombasa Road upto Enterprise Road and Lang’ata Road.