Kenyan athletes mourn veteran athletes manager Zane Branson

Saturday July 25 2015

Kenyan marathoner Wilson Chebet (right) with his manager Zane Branson after the pre-race press conference ahead of the 2011 Amsterdam Marathon at the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium. Branson passed on July 25, 2015 in Iten, Kenya. PHOTO | ELIAS MAKORI |

Kenyan marathoner Wilson Chebet (right) with his manager Zane Branson after the pre-race press conference ahead of the 2011 Amsterdam Marathon at the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium. Branson passed on July 25, 2015 in Iten, Kenya. PHOTO | ELIAS MAKORI |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Kenyan athletes and officials are mourning veteran athletes’ manager Zane Branson, who died Saturday morning in Iten.

Branson, who manages a number of renowned Kenyan athletes passed on following a heart attack.

Athletics Kenya executive committee member Barnabas Korir, who is among those who paid tribute to the late, said Branson collapsed after a morning run and later passed on.

At the time of his death, Branson was a director International Athletes’ Consultancy (IAC) based in the Czech Republic.

Branson is an authorised the IAAF Authorised Athletes' representative, having managed former World Marathon record-holder Patrick Makau, former two times World Cross Country champion Emily Chebet, Commonwealth 10,000m champion Joyce Chepkirui and the 2011 Amsterdam Marathon champion Wilson Chebet, who finished second at 2014 Boston marathon.

Others include two-time Singapore Marathon champion Kenneth Mungara and upcoming Julius Tanki.

“It’s sad to lose such a dedicated and humble person who put the interests of his athletes first,” said Korir, who is also AK Nairobi County chairman. “The fruits of his work are there for everyone to see. Makau’s World record speaks for itself.”

Makau broke the world marathon record when he won the 2011 Berlin marathon in 2 hours 03:38 minutes. Makau’s compatriot Wilson Kipsang, would better the record when he clocked 2:03:23 at the 2013 Berlin before Dennis Kimetto broke it again at the same course in a new time of 2:02:57.

Emily Chebet won the World Cross title in 2011 before reclaiming it in 2013 while Chepkirui won the 2012 Africa Cross title before winning the Commonwealth Games and Africa 10,000m titles in Scotland and Morocco respectively last year.

“It’s the worst news someone can receive in the morning. I considered Zane as part of my family. He was such a humble man who put the interest of his athletes first,” said Makau.

“He is one of the reason why I broke the world marathon record and I shall miss him.”

“My sincere condolences to his family, athletes whom he represents and the friends of the sport,” said the reigning London Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge. “He is one of the best athletes’ representatives around.”

“We have lost a great friend of athletics,” said Philip Muia, while athletics coach Joseph Kirwa said his services will be missed. “He was close to his athletes and spend most time in Kenya assisting them,” said Kirwa.