NAIROBI, Kenya, September 10- The toll to the 2014 Stanchart Nairobi International Marathon officially started Wednesday with a declaration from organizers they were out to hit the 25,000 participants mark.
At the first of the two launch events, organisers also announced, MicroChip timing will be used in both men and women 10Km races for the first time in a reflection of the growing popularity of the category.
And in an attempt to solve one of the biggest causes of confusion during the running of the event that marks its 12th edition on October 26, the finishing points of the 21km half and 42km full marathons have been set apart although they will both end inside Nyayo National Stadium as is traditional.
Stanchart CEO, Lamin Manjang, added more local and international elite athletes are expected as they hope to beat last year’s record numbers of 23,000 participants from 68 countries.
“This race has become very popular attracting more than 45% of the participants. We want to enhance professionalism in the management of the race.
“In the next two years with the help of the government, Athletics Kenya, willing sponsors, we want to push up the status of the marathon because we believe that this event has what it takes to rival other big marathons including London, New York, Boston and the like,” he told.
Registration opens on Monday after the second launch that will be held at Nairobi’s Mathare Slums where the event’s flagship ‘Seeing is Believing’ charity is hoping to treat over 3000 people where Nairobi Governor, Evans Kidero, is expected.
AK president, Isaiah Kiplagat, recounted how the event that ran for the first time in 2003 has weathered opposition to become the blue-riband athletics in the country’s calendar.
“We need to analyse what this marathon has done in the promotion of athletics and to see how many of its participants have moved on to be the champions of the world,” he added.
Registration opens Monday at Standard Chartered branches countrywide, select supermarkets and Health Clubs at a fee of Sh2,000 (USD22.56).
Online registration via the marathon’s website www.nairobimarathon.com will be operational at a discounted rate of Sh1,500 (USD16.92) with fees for the Family Fun Run and Corporate Challenge pegged at Sh1,500 and Sh150,000 (USD1,692.05).