The eighth edition of the event will be wholly devoted to the memory of fallen Olympics marathon titleholder, Samuel Wanjiru, who was the event’s ambassador prior to his demise.
“He came back to Ndakaini the following week after winning the Olympic title and that was a special moment for the marathon for kids and adults and that is why we are dedicating this race in his memory and recognising his contribution to marathon running in Kenya,” James Wambugu, UAP Insurance Managing Director, said Tuesday.
He added: “Having been a champion at Ndakaini at 2006 (21km) then going on to beat the entire world we are proud that our ambition of the event being a training ground of emerging talent is being realised and that is why we are welcoming Abel Kirui back on Saturday.”
The event that will see the elite men and women 21km races, corporate challenge, children’s race and fun run in its programme is expected to attract 2000 participants.
Registration will be closed on the morning of race day with title sponsors, UAP sinking a total of Sh10m in the organisation and logistical support.
“It’s a difficult course around the Ndakaini Dam that is the main water source for Nairobi and its environs and it has been classified as among the toughest in the world,” Wambugu explained.
Last year, debutants Philemon Kipchumba (66:21) and former World Cross runner, Elizabeth Chemweno won the men and women elite races that are worth Sh150,000 apiece for the victors.
Wanjiru, who won the Olympic title in an event record of 2:06:32 finished 25th in the inaugural edition in 2004 then went on to command the world of ultimate distance running with two Chicago and one London titles before his untimely death on May 16.
“For now, we cannot say what we have in store for the tribute but it will be rolled out on Saturday. We will sit down as organisers to see who will be our new ambassador after the event,” the managing director expressed.
Kirui, who won his second world marathon title a fortnight ago in Daegu, was recently promoted to an Inspector in his Administration Police force following his polished victory.
“His testimony will inspire a lot of those present particularly the young runners to aim for success and he is among those we will consider to be our next ambassador,” Wambugu charged.
On Tuesday, the event received additional backing from New Age and Nairobi Sports House who donated communications gadgets and trophies in that order in a package worth Sh450,000.