Close to 160 athletes affected by Covid-19 pandemic, have benefited from a feeding programme initiated by former world marathon record holder, Patrick Makau and retired athletes from Machakos and Kitui counties.
The athletes have received maize and wheat flour, cooking oil, sugar and rice among other food stuffs worth over Sh200,000.
Makau said most athletes from these regions have been hit hard since the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were introduced in March.
“Reality is that many athletes, who were established from this area misused their earnings from races. That is something that we can’t hide,” Makau said. “They have been struggling even to get Sh100 to buy maize flour.”
Makau noted that young athletes from semi-arid areas in Kitui and Mwingi cannot train well due to lack of food. “That is why together with my wife Catherine we decided to approach fellow former athletes from these areas so that we can reach out to those affected,” said Makau.
Among the former athletes who have boosted the initiative are Philip Muia, Cosmas Mutisya, Patrick Ivuti, Jimmy Muindi and Isaac Macharia.
On Saturday, Makau and his team distributed the food stuff to 75 young athletes in Kitui before moving to Machakos where over 80 athletes benefited. Mulley’s Supermarket supported the initiative.
“We want to sustain this feeding program until things ease for all of us. We really want the athletes to continue training individually without any feeding difficulties so that they are not caught off guard when the season resumes,” said Makau.
Makau said they have also cashed on the tour to educate athletes on doping and investment issues.
“It’s sad to see some of our athletes who used to perform so well and earned a lot from racing now leaving in abject poverty just because they failed to invest well,” said Makau. He warned athletes to keep off doping.
“Short cuts always have serious repercussions since beside the long term bans, those using banned substances are likely to have health issues later,” said Makau adding that their next stop on their program is Makueni.
“It’s our wish to revisit these athletes after every fortnight and that is why it will be important if we are to have more sponsors coming on board,” he said. Makau, who was forced by injury into early retirement in 2016.