NAIROBI, Kenya, December 10 – Five thousand runners are expected to take part in the Shoe 4 Africa race in Kibera on Saturday.
Three thousand women have already confirmed participation in the event which race organizer Toby Tanser says will be used as a peace building initiative following the post election strife that blighted the country in the beginning of the year.
“We had planned to hold the race on March 13 earlier this year but we had to postpone it because of the violence,” said Tanser.
“We decided to hold the race now to mark a year of peace in Kenya and it will take place through the slum starting and ending at Kibera Primary school,” said Tanser.
The race will start from the primary school heading to the main road then back to the District Office headquarters then to the railway line then go past the Raila building and back to the primary school.
World Half marathon champion Lornah Kiplagat who is one Shoe 4 Africa’s strongest backers said that she is delighted to be associated with the race.
“I am here to endorse and to be part of the runners and as the ambassador I want to say that what they (Shoe 4 Africa) are doing is highly appreciated and hopefully we can keep on doing good things together,” said Kiplagat.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former marathon record holder Paul Tergat, three time London marathon winner Martin Lel are some of the prominent personalities who will take part in the 5 kilometre race.
Anthony Edwards, who played Doctor Mark Green in the highly acclaimed television drama ‘ER’ and who is also a Shoe 4 Africa ambassador will also run in the event which will be followed by a football match between a celebrity eleven and a team made of runners.
The Prime Minister will take part and will be presented with a Manchester United jersey personally signed by United and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo who joined the Shoe 4 Africa roster as an ambassador in June this year.
The race is aimed at empowering women through sports and education while promoting AIDS awareness among the community and bringing attention to this national health epidemic.
Shoe 4 Africa has broadened its range of initiatives over the years to include training camps, AIDS testing, and athletic scholarships while continuing its core program of collecting and distributing donated shoes.
It was formed in 1995 in Eldoret and started operating by sending over shoes to Kenyan athletes.