NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – Ahead of the fifth edition of Beyond Zero Half Marathon, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Friday set the pace by flagging off a 100-men run at Karura forest.
The men only run, under the tagline ‘I will Run For Her’, is a precursor for this year’s Beyond Zero Half Marathon slated for Sunday, March 8 in Nairobi.
The event was held to coincide with the Valentine’s Day and the men were running to show solidarity and harness their engagement around issues of maternal and child health that affect their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and the girl-child.
These include the repair and reintegration of women living with obstetric fistula, championing the country validation for the pre-elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis by 2021, promotion of good nutrition for all children, and advocating for social inclusion of children living with disabilities for equal access to health and education services among others.
Unlike in the past editions of the marathon, participants will this year pick an intervention area they support within the broad maternal and child healthcare.
The intervention areas include zero maternal deaths, zero child death, a healthy lifestyle for the elderly, zero new HIV infections and zero child marriages.
Others are zero Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early screening for cancer, inclusion of persons with disability and better nutrition for all children.
The First Lady, accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed (Sports), Sicily Kariuki (Health) and Margaret Kobia (Public Service) as well as her Chief of Staff Constance Gakonyo, National Aids Control Council CEO Dr Nduku Kilonzo and members of the Beyond Zero Secretariat, joined the men in a warm up exercise before the kick-off of the ‘men only’ run.
Among those who took part in today’s run held at Karura Forest were Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko and Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki.
Also, in the group of 100 men who participated in the morning run were Jubilee Insurance CEO Dr Julius Kipng’etich, Athletics Kenya President Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei and Citizen TV sports journalist Mike Okinyi as well as his Capital FM counterpart Alex Isaboke among others.
The First Lady, who received the participants at the end of the run, later planted a tree at Karura Forest to signify the importance of the event and her commitment to environmental conservation.
Proceeds from this year’s Beyond Zero Half Marathon will be used to host Medical Safaris, a large-scale outreach program conducted collaboratively with the county governments and over 15 medical service providers.
The Beyond Zero initiative provides free healthcare services at the medical safaris. So far, Beyond Zero has held five successful medical safaris in Nairobi, Nyandarua, West Pokot, Kisumu and Narok counties.