, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 19 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launched the second edition of the First Lady’s Half Marathon on Sunday with a 3 kilometer run.
The First Lady who took part in zumba warm up exercises before taking on the course was joined by the Cabinet Secretaries of Health and Foreign Affairs in addition to Supreme Court judge Njoki Ndungu.
The second edition of the Half Marathon – set to take place on March 8, 2015 – is aimed, the First Lady said, at making good on her promise to equip each of the 47 counties with a mobile clinic.
“Thanks to your support, we have been able to raise enough money to purchase 20 mobile clinics. But our marathon is not over. We still need your good support to purchase 27 more clinics so that our dream of providing one mobile clinic to each of our beautiful country’s 47 counties becomes a reality,” she said.
But 47 mobile clinics, she said, were still not nearly enough to meet the health facility deficit the country is facing.
She therefore challenged the county governments, to whom health services had been devolved, to make good on their responsibility to provide quality healthcare for the Kenyan citizenry.
“To ensure as many people as possible benefit from the Beyond Zero initiative, I take this opportunity to call on county governments to supplement what the campaign has achieved so far,” she encouraged.
The 2015 half marathon, she said, was also aimed at encouraging Kenyans to take better care of their health through purposeful engagement in physical engagement and conscious eating.
“A large number of Kenyans are dying of non-communicable diseases resulting from poor lifestyle choices. It is prudent we adopt healthy living lifestyles just like our world famous athletes who continue to fly the country’s flag very high every other week,” she said.
The First Lady who herself trained with Kenya’s renowned athletes for the inaugural First Lady’s Half Marathon and London Marathon this year, took the opportunity to recognise their most recent accomplishments.
“I conclude my remarks by congratulating Dennis Kimetto for breaking the World Marathon Record in Berlin last month, and to also pay tribute to Rita Jeptoo and Eliud Kipchoge for making it a clean Kenyan sweep at the Chicago Marathon just last weekend.
I would also like to wish the strong Kenyan team led by Wilson Kipsang, Geoffrey Mutai and Edna Kiplagat all the best as they compete in the final major global marathon of the year, the New York Marathon, in two weeks’ time,” she said.
The First Lady’s Half Marathon is a part of the First Lady’s Beyond Zero campaign to reduce mother and child mortality by increasing access to healthcare.