NAIROBI, Kenya, October 21- Ten thousand runners have signed up for Sunday’s Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon ahead of Thursday's registration deadline.National Steering Committee chairman Geoffrey Githinji said on Wednesday that the organizers are confident of reaching their primary target of 15,000 participants when registration closes.
“Many people utilized the extension period we gave very well and the numbers coming through are very encouraging indeed,” said Githinji.
“Let me reiterate that 15,000 was the number we settled upon due to ease the logistics in and out the Nyayo National Stadium,” he added.
Githinji also said that participants now have more registration points as the organizers have extended registration to major malls and supermarkets as well as leading health clubs.
Last year 12,000 runners took part in the marathon which will run along the same route as last year.
Race director John Velzian expressed concerns over a section of Mombasa road that has been laid with spikes.
“These spikes are a danger not only to the runners but to the general public so I’m requesting whoever is responsible to remove them because they are harzadous,” said Velzian.
Velzian added that a new course record will be highly unlikely and dismissed the use of pace setters in the future.
“Pacesetters are there to help runners set records. The aim of this marathon is to give upcoming runners a chance to showcase their talent and for charity,” said Velzian.
“This course (Nairobi) is also at altitude which makes it very difficult for a fast race so I don’t expect a sub 2:10 mark,” he added.
Athletics Kenya (AK) secretary general David Okeyo reiterated that anti-doping measures have been put in place and that the governing body is trying its best to educate the runners about the pitfalls of performance enhancing drugs.
“At AK, we take doping very seriously. Athletes are sensitized about this issue all the time through their own branches and coaches and they are told that testing for perfomance enhancing drugs is carried out without notice,” said Okeyo.
Okeyo added that athletes who have to take prescribed medication have to double check with doctors and to confirm with AK.
“We know athletes can get sick but if your medication contains a banned substance, it is good that we (AK) know so that we can write to the IAAF to seek and exemption,” said Okeyo.