NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 8 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta successfully finished the 21 kilometer race at the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday, marking the climax of her Beyond Zero campaign.
She clocked 3:24.55, an improvement from last year’s 3:53.05 which is attributed to her intense training at the high altitude areas in Iten this year.
She was received at the finish line by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto who also participated in the marathon, promising to encourage the Head of State to also start exercising to keep fit.
“I have been encouraging him (the President) a lot, some people have already bought him a pair of shoes and I also bought him pants so I know he will hit the gym very soon,” Ruto told Citizen TV’s Michael Okinyi who interviewed him at the finish line.
The Beyond Zero campaign marathon is an initiative aimed at raising 600 million shillings to equip mobile clinics in 27 counties.
Available statistics indicate that 108,000 children die in Kenya every year before their fifth birthday, with 65 per cent of them dying before their first birthday.
It is also estimated that there are 72,000 infant deaths in Kenya annually, while 48,000 deaths occur during the first 28 days of life annually.
“The First Lady has really tortured us, but it is for a good cause to eliminate maternal deaths,” Ruto said.
Other notable personalities who participated in the race include the Deputy President’s wife Rachael, Cabinet Secretaries Anne Waiguru, Hassan Wario among others.
Moses Kosgey and Georgina Rono won the second edition that attracted over 16,000 participants from all over the country.
The First Lady who was accompanied by two time 3000m steeplechase Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi, former women’s world marathon record holder Catherine Ndereba and former World Half marathon champion Lonah Kiplagat tackled the new course under hot conditions.
The race that kicked-off outside Nyayo National Stadium saw participants take on Mbagathi and Lang’ata Road before turning at the General Motors enroute to the finish line at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Winners of both men and women in 21km received Sh750,000.