NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – The fourth edition of the First Lady’s Half Marathon that was scheduled for March 12 at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens has been canceled.
This is after Kenyans on social media requested her to cancel the half marathon due to the ongoing strike of doctors.
“I have never been willing to politicize this agenda. As a consequence I feel it necessary to cancel the First Lady’s Half Marathon this year. I was preparing to celebrate with Kenyans to say thank you for running with me and for supporting Beyond Zero. You have all made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of women, men and children, in our great nation,” the First Lady said in a statement on Saturday.
“My ultimate purpose was to ensure that no mother or child lost their lives unnecessarily and I believe that this is something which should be owned by all of us.”
The First Lady thanked all who have supported in the initiative of the Beyond Zero campaign that saw her equip mobile clinics in all the 47 counties to reduce mother and child mortality by increasing access to healthcare.
“Four years I ago, I asked Kenyans to join me on a journey: a marathon to end maternal and child mortality across the country. Over the last four years, we have worked together—we have run together bonded by our shared conviction that no mother should die while giving life and that every child should live to see their 5th birthday,” She said.
“We have done more together than I imagined possible. We have run marathons and raised enough money to purchase 47 fully equipped mobile clinics delivered to every single County in Kenya. Throughout the last four years, our partners—from ordinary Kenyans, to workers in the health sector, to civil society, to policy makers, to the business community and international donors—have given Beyond Zero the inspiration and impetus it has needed to keep going.”
“This year, I was looking forward to running yet another marathon – a Gratitude Marathon. I remain committed to and will not deviate from my ultimate goal, which is the betterment of maternal healthcare in this country, and, to build the Beyond Zero Referral Hospital.”
“I want to reassure all Kenyans that this is a commitment that will remain with me throughout my life.”
The First Lady completed the 21km race in its inaugural edition in 2014 clocking 3: 46:00 before improving the time in 2015, returning 3:53.05.
Hillary Kiprono and Leonida Mosop won the first edition in the men’s and women’s races respectively.
2015 saw Moses Kosgei and Georgina Rono take the honors while Wilfred Kimitei and 2013 Amsterdam winner Valentine Kipketer dominated last year’s event.