NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 9 – Former world marathon record holder Patrick Makau is among the elite athletes who will take part at the seventh edition of the Mwea Classic Half Marathon slated for September 17 in Kirinyaga County.
Also to have registered are former 10,000m Commonwealth gold medalist Lucy Kabuu and former world junior 800m champion Flavious Kwamboka.
Apart from contesting, the three top athletes from Ngong Running Team camp will use the race to gauge their level of performance ahead of their scheduled races abroad starting October onward.
The three will be joined by Olympic bound Hellen Obiri who is also member of the camp and has also registered for the race.
“I have been inactive for a while but currently I am training with the team under the guidance of Makau. I will use this race to realise my potential especially after turning from 10,000m to marathon,” said Kabuu, the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games 5000m bronze medalist.
Kwamboka admitted her form has dipped since she took the world by storm in her junior and youth years in the women’s 800m.
She says she has turned to road races and half marathon to build her potential for a full marathon.
“Makau has been helping us a lot at the camp; I have gained so much in training under him as I am struggling to bring back my form. I will be contesting the 10km category and I am hopeful to win,” Kwamboka stated.
Francis Maundu, the 2009 Bucharest Marathon champion, who is currently the athletes coordinator at the Ngong Running Team camp that is headed by Makau, will also be trying his luck in the half marathon which is expected to be a hotly contested affair.
Makau, who is currently training and sharpening the over 70 athletes based at the camp, said he will take part in the race to prepare for the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan he is intending to defend for a second year in a row this December.
“I am planning to run a sub 2:06.00 in Fukuoka and hopefully destroy the 2009 course record set by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia(2:05:18),”said Makau who is also the Mwea Classic Half Marathon ambassador.
Race chairman Charles Gichobi said there will be a two day Agri Expo before the race whose registration is free for students.
“We will award a total of Sh600, 000 in prizes while the race proceeds will be used to improve the level of education in Kirinyaga County,” said Gichobi.
Veteran athlete and race technical director, Joyce Nduku, noted they are working closely with Athletics Kenya to make the race successful.
“We have changed the route and this time round athletes will pass through the rich rice fields to inspire them into the growth and management of rice,” said Nduku , who gave more explanation on the 21km, 10km and 5km categories to be contested.