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Meru to host fourth Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon on Sunday

Deaflympics marathon champion Daniel Kiptum.PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11- The fourth edition of the Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon will be held at the Meru National Polytechnic on Sunday.

The race will bring together deaf athletes from all over the country, and will feature top names such as Beryl Wamira, Simon Kibai, and Daniel Kiptum, who will be back to defend their titles.

The annual event will include 21Km and 10Km races for both men and women, with the top three in the half marathon walking away with Sh75, 000, Sh65, 000 and Sh55, 000. The winner, 1st and 2nd runners up in the 10Km race will bag Sh30, 000, Sh20, 000 and Sh10,000 respectively.

“This event has become very important in our athletics calendar, as it shows us the form our athletes are in before the season begins. Most of the expected participants are already in training, and we expect a fantastic show this weekend,” Secretary General Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya (DAAK), Bernard Banja said.

“We will also use this race as an opportunity to scout for athletes who will participate in the National Deaf Athletics Championships slated for 23rd and 24th May 2017 in Uasin Gishu,” Banja added.

Title sponsor Safaricom returns to the race for the fourth year, matching last year’s Sh5m sponsorship again this year. As the race has gained more prominence within the DAAK calendar, Safaricom has gradually increased its sponsorship from the Sh2 m support given in the race’s first year.

“Working with DAAK continues to reinforce the belief that our contribution is transforming the lives of our deaf athletes, who have proved time and again that they are forces to be reckoned with,” Head of Regional Sales and Operations, Mt. Kenya – Safaricom, Albert Mulei said

“These athletes are shattering stereotypes and recording outstanding performances both locally and abroad, and we are committed to continuing our support through the Safaricom Athletics Series.”

In 2013, Kenya received 17 medals during the 22nd Summer Deaflympics games held in Sofia, Bulgaria, placing the team 8th out of 72 countries that took part in the competition.

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In June 2016, Triple World Deaflympics Champion Simon Kibai retained his title after clocking 13:59:02 in the men’s 5000m race at the National Deaf Track and Field Championships.

A week before that Kibai had defended his title in the 21km Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon held in Bomet County, finishing in a time of 58:46:02.

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