NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10- Athletics Kenya (AK) is planning to introduce a jackpot prize for athletes who take part in all four major national marathons.
AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said that the aim of the jackpot is to increase the level of competition in local marathons and to attract more interest once they organise the calendar.
“We still have to sit with the organisers and see how we can put space between the four events. If you look at Nairobi and Kisumu (marathons), between them it’s less than a month. Between Kisumu and Eldoret it’s only seven days,” said Kiplagat.
Mr Kiplagat added that an athlete has to win only three out of the four events to be eligible for the prize which he hopes will attract more elite runners.
“Kenyans are winning athletes almost every weekend abroad. So it’s only fair that we have our very own world class events at home so that we can see these top runners,” said Mr Kiplagat.
The AK boss who spoke after receiving a Sh1.3 million sponsorship from Safaricom for the Kisumu Marathon sounded a warning to all marathon organisers that the first prize for winners should be set at a minimum of Sh200,000.
“I have talked to the organisers of the Maasai Marathon and I’ve told them they have to improve the prize money. First prize cannot be Sh100,000 when you have received Sh6 million in sponsorship. We’re going to be very strict,” said the chairman.
Kisumu Town West MP and marathon patron Aluoch Olaga said that he hopes the race will help improving the sporting landscape in his region especially in regards to facilities.
“The state of Kisumu stadium is quite dire. There’s no perimeter wall, track and there are no sanitation facilities. But worst of all there is a huge dump site and the wind turns to blow from the lake, you can’t stay there,” said Mr Olaga.
“I’ve talked to the Ministry of Finance to see if they can help the stadium officials with money to improve it and the Municipality of Kisumu is in the process of addressing the issue of the garbage site,” he added.
The marathon will be held on November 28.