NAIROBI, Kenya, November 15- The course for the annual Kass FM Marathon that will run this Sunday from Kapsabet to Eldoret is awaiting certification having been correctly measured by IAAF regional director, John Velzian.
Speaking at a function where the event realised over Sh19.85m ($209,000) in sponsorship from various companies, Kass Media Group CEO Julius Lamaon said organisers had already received over 2,000 entries.
The course measurement brings the event closer from gaining recognition from the Association of International Marathons and Road Races (AIMS) and by extension world body IAAF as a certified course where performances can be officially ratified.
“We have always wanted to do our event to international standards. We expect to have more as the Thursday deadline approaches. We can authoritatively say we are ready for the marathon,” Lamaon said.
“We hope the measuring that was done on the route will lead to good times and we are encouraging foreign runners to come through,” he added.
Organisers of the Sh1.5m ($15,000) top prize each for men and women winners of the 42km race have set aside $5,000 (Sh500,000) for the first foreign finisher across the line to encourage more entries from neighbouring and overseas nations.
“So far, we have an Ethiopian lady and a Rwandese man who have entered and should they win, they will take $20,000 each and the challenge is on for more to come,” the CEO stressed.
Athletics Kenya (AK) chair, Isaiah Kiplagat, lauded the event for seeking (AIMS) certification.
“Marathon running requires a lot of technical in put. We have looked at this and seen it and we are happy that Velzian measured the route. It’s not going be a big problem for athletes apart from the high altitude in Eldoret,” he delivered.
He disclosed the federation would hold talks with organisers of the other big marathon in the country, the Standard Chartered Nairobi International to ensure they conform to the regulations in place.
“Nairobi is still a bit of a problem. We are going to discuss with them tomorrow (Wednesday) (Wednesday) on whether their event will be classified as a marathon. A real marathon is either one loop or point to point and we cannot run a marathon with two events.”
He reiterated the governing body’s commitment to regulate road running in the country starting from next year where only AK permitted races would be allowed to run.
“This is because we want to protect our athletes from being invited left, right and centre. The amount of money they receive from such races is less than Sh50,000. We must control the number of races,” he said.
AK has pegged the top prize for 42km to be not less than Sh500,000 ($5,000), Sh250,000 ($2,500) for half marathons (21km), Sh150,000 ($1,500) for 15km and Sh100,000 ($1,000) for 10km road races.
“Any event that has not paid registration and does not offer the money for prizes in that guideline will lead us to order for their arrest,” the chair warned.
Boston and New York champion, Geoffrey Mutai and Stanchart Dubai Marathon winner, Benson Barus who was fifth at the World Championships in Daegu are among the renowned runners who cut their teeth at the event that will mark its fifth running.
Mutai was second in the 2007 edition while Barus won the 2009 full marathon.
Plans are underway to apply for the newly measured course as an official route for classification of high altitude world record.
Title sponsors Trans National Bank (Sh5m), Kass International (Sh5m), Jamii Telecom (Sh5m), National Social Security Fund (Sh1m), Amaco Insurance (Sh1m), National Bank of Kenya (Sh500,000) and Toyota Kenya (Sh500,000) are some of the corporate backers of the event.