Athletics Athletics

First Lady ready for London destiny


WARM-UP-MARATHONLONDON, England, April 10- With less than 72 hours to her date with destiny, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and her team continued training and making final preparations for the 42.195km London Marathon on 13th April.

On Wednesday, the team that includes members of her security detail ran for 5km at the Kensington Park, London where they were also briefed on the dietary regime to follow ahead of their debut in Sunday’s race where Ms Kenyatta is bidding to become the first First Lady in history to complete the classic distance.

According to the team’s physiotherapist, Japheth Kariakim, the initial high altitude training at Iten and Sagana prepared them to run longer distances for the purpose of developing endurance and resilience.

He said professionally, the intensity of training is normally expected to be high at the initial stages but as the race day approaches one needs to slow down in order to avoid injuries and muscle exhaustion.

Kariakim and the team coach, former world marathon and London champion, Douglas Wakiihuri, said they are taking the First Lady and the team through a process of ensuring that they achieve their goal of lasting the distance.

The team coach said the squad needs to take more carbohydrates and reduce intake of proteins and vitamins as the day of competition approaches.

Wakiihuri, the 1989 world and London titleholder said the strategy helps in preserving energy levels before the Marathon day.

He said another measure usually employed at this stage is manipulation of muscles by doing massage to reduce lactic acids and to improve blood circulation.

The First Lady and her team are participating in the marathon to raise awareness and funds for the ‘Beyond Zero Campaign’ which she launched on 24 January this year.

The initiative is aimed at improving maternal and child health care in Kenya as well as accelerating implementation of the national plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections from mothers to children.

On March 9, Ms Kenyatta, who will be supported by spouse and Head of State, Uhuru on Sunday, clocked 3:46:00 to complete the First Lady’s Half Marathon to become the first holder of her office to achieve the feat.

“I want to thank the Government of Kenya and the President who gave authority for First Lady to do the marathon. She has run in her heart and she gets up very early in the morning more than us; at 5am. How many can wake up at 5am? So she’s teaching us not to be lazy and to be a country of runners,” former women’s world marathon record holder, Tegla Loroupe, who ran alongside Ms Kenyatta, said after the race.

Another former record holder and two-time world champion, Catherine Ndereba, also ran alongside the First Lady, was full of effusive praise for her effort.

“To have that company of running with the First Lady it means a lot and how supportive our leaders are. She knows the pride of being a woman and a mother. I know what it means to hold a healthy baby after delivery and as long as this initiative will be there I will continue supporting it.

“It was nice pacing here and giving here morale. She is so energetic and has a lot of passion and I can say she is a marathoner coming up. What stood out today is when I saw our President waiting the First lady at the finishing line, it reminded me the way my husband used to wait me in front of the finish line of Chicago or Boston Marathon,” the four-time Boston Marathon winner told of the experience with running with the First Lady.