At the same time, double Olympics champion, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia and women’s world marathon record holder, Paula Radcliffe of Britain will be the key international guests at the event whose past participants have gone on to excel on the global stage.
Top male and female foreign finishers will receive Sh500,000 each with the overall winners in both races winning Sh1.5m apiece in a scheme meant to pull entries from Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and other nations.
Organisers are targeting 10,000 runners with Athletics Kenya (AK) chair, Isaiah Kiplagat, saying the federation will bring world body IAAF technical officials to accurately measure the course.
“We have discussed on how to organise the jackpot for all the four marathons in the country but unfortunately we have not come up with that plan yet since only Kass and Stanchart International that have sponsors.
“We are looking for sponsors for Kisumu and Mombasa marathons so that we can have something similar to the World Marathon Majors where Kenyans have excelled,” Kiplagat added.
Stating that Kenyan male athletes had won 71 international marathons so far with their female compatriots taking victories in 26, the chair stressed there was need to organise local events.
On Tuesday, the event received bumper sponsorship from Trans National Bank and Jamii Telecom who presented Sh5m each, mobile service provider, Safaricom Sh1m and Amaco Insurance, Sh1m.
Kass International Chairman, Joshua Chepkwony noted, “The media should come together and organise a grand prix in this country so that our citizens can watch their track stars at least once a year where we can invite the likes of Usain Bolt.”
“Such an event will lead Kenyan athletics to the next level. What we have achieved in the last five years is the organisational capacity and this will; encourage foreign athletes to train in the country.”
Boston marathon champion, Moses Mosop and the 2009 Kass champion, David Barmasai Tumo who won the 2010 Stanchart and this year’s Dubai Marathon are among the participants at the event who have moved on to make an impact in distance running.
Registration is ongoing at Kass offices in Eldoret as well as online on their website.
– Gloria Kendi