Large crowd turns up for race


Published on 25/05/2009

By Oscar Pilipili

Hundreds of runners created a sea of humanity on a dull morning as they thronged Nairobi National Park and Lang’ata Road for the inaugural Sotokoto Marathon.

Athletes donned their running gear to begin the race at the Ivory Burning Site.

This was the site that former President Moi burned 10 tons of ivory to reinforce Kenya’s commitment in wildlife conservation in 1989.

Runners battle for honours in Sunday’s Sotokoto half-marathon at the Nairobi National Park. [PHOTOS: BONIFACE OKENDO/STANDARD]

As Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka sounded the hooter at 10am cheers and shouts of encouragement broke out as the runners moved to the starting line.

Two false starts were witnessed as runners responded promptly to bursts of overheated balloons at the start point.

The marathon, the first to be run at the famous Nairobi National Park, was a race for all with able-bodied athletes running alongside the physically challenged in the 21k duel.

Children were not left out either, as there was the 4km category.

One of the physically challenged athletes was Allan Kipchumba from Eldoret who finished second in the category.

Kipchumba whose right hand was amputated following a road accident was hoping to run for peace and conservation that was the theme of the marathon.

There was maximum security along the routes with armed rangers on high alert just in case an adventurous animal emerged from the thicket.

Minister for Forestry and Wildlife Noah Wekesa who accompanied Kalonzo praised the title sponsors, Sotokoto, from Japan for identifying themselves with Kenya.

Kalonzo urged other cities to organize international marathon events to help sell Kenya to the rest of the world.

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