Stanchart Nairobi Marathon has come of age

Friday December 1 2017

Celestine Chepchirchir wins the 42km women's

Celestine Chepchirchir wins the 42km women's race at the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon on November 26, 2017 along Haile Selassie Avenue. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP Celestine Chepchirchir wins the 42km women's race at the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon on November 26, 2017 along Haile Selassie Avenue. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

By BARNABAS KORIR
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The just concluded Standard Chartered Bank Nairobi Marathon was on point this time round.

Despite the political instability in the country in the last few months that led to the event’s postponement, the organisers still managed to attracted 20,000 plus runners.

In fact, the number would have been more if it wasn’t for the political tussles currently being experienced in the country.

Numbers aside, the programme was generally smooth with all departments playing their roles to the core.

The vetting of runners and the results were tightly monitored. Unlike in the past where masqueraders have jumped in at certain points, this time there was no room for cheats and those who won had to pound their feet against worthy opposition.

It’s no longer a secret that the Standard Chartered Marathon has become part and parcel of the life of Kenyans, especially Nairobi residents who braved chilly mornings and light showers to parade for the prestigious event.

Apart from the elite athletes, fitness enthusiasts came in numbers to gauge their robustness, strength and endurance.

A new route was also in place for the 2017 edition, owing to the ongoing repairs at the Nyayo Stadium. This time the route encompassed iconic Nairobi landmarks unlike previous years when it was concentrated on Mombasa Road.

There was also full road closures of over 90 per cent, which was a good thing for the runners. This should be encouraged and also Nairobians be urged to leave their cars at home and walk or even better join in the race.

Of course this is the only way we can grow the marathon to the level of the five big city races including— London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

The fact that the prize money for the half marathon was increased was also encouraging. Most runners use the race as a build-up for other international races and I am sure we will have more elite runners taking part.

But still Sh1.5 million tax free winner’s purse for the full marathon is more than some international races which offer $10,000 as the top award and still tax the amount.

To be honest, Standard Chartered seem to be the only full marathon with a future and we need to support it if we have to take it to the next level.

But after all said and done, we also need the elite runners from Kenya to own the marathon.

We are looking forward to the day an athlete will announce his withdrawal from London to take part in the Standard Chartered race.