NAIROBI, October 22- The annual Stanchart Nairobi International Marathon jamboree that will run for the 13th edition, returns on Sunday with over 20,000 runners expected to pound the tarmac around Kenya’s capital for top honours, fan and charitable causes.
Organisers announced Thursday they expected to top 23,000 that turned out last year as a country that has exported pedigree marathon running talent to the world holds its blue riband ultimate distance race.
Registration closes Saturday and as is tradition, there is no elite field lists in the event where Peter Kosgei and Edith Irungu captured the men and women 42.195km titles last year in 2:12:24 and 2:32:02.
Organisers also confirmed a Sh250,000 course record bonus in addition to the Sh1.5m winners’ purse in the ultimate distance races will be paid out should the assembled cast on Sunday dip under the 2:10:40 ran by men’s champion Wesley Kibet and 2:26:41 clocked by Lineth Chepkurui in the corresponding women’s competition during the 2012 edition of the event.
“We are about to hit the 20,000 mark which will enable us raise our target of Sh32m for seeing is believing. This year we will have the CEO race which is a 2.5km course and 11 of them have so far confirmed.
“Over 150 elite runners are expected to turn out and what makes the race interesting is that no one has ever defended the title so this year we expect the same,” Annie Kinuthia, Regional Head Corporate Affairs, East Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, declared.
Ahead of the event, Traffic to and out of the city will be diverted to alternative roads as those along the designated marathon route will be shut between 4am and 1pm local time (+3GMT).
The affected roads include sections of Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway, Upper Hill and Forest Road whist within the Central Business District, Kenyatta Avenue and sections of Haile Selasie and University Way will remain closed until 11:30am.
“We do not expect a major disruption in the flow of traffic. This being 13th edition, we have mastered the art of redirecting traffic to ensure that Nairobi residents have alternative routes to major installations in the city including hospitals, churches and airports.
“We have always been vigilant to ensure that participants enjoy their experience at the event to the fullest. The route will be well secured with officers from both services manning the area as well as having air surveillance,” Deputy Traffic Commandant, Nairobi County, Musyoka Mutungi declared.
There will be 5km, 10km, 21km and the 42km that is expected to attract more than 1,000 athletes.
Proceeds from registration will be channeled to the Seeing is Believing initiative, a programme that focuses on addressing avoidable blindness among children below 15 years.