Once again, warriors from the neighbouring communities of Pokot, Karamajong, Sebei, Turkana and Marakwet, will put their guns aside but still take each other on in a noble initiative on Saturday - racing in the Tegla Loroupe Peace Run in Kapenguria.
Over 2000 warriors and elite athletes have confirmed participation in one of the world most unique races that has attracted Prince Albert II of Monaco, several diplomats, Kenyan government officials and the East African community.
Former marathon record holders, Paul Tergat and Samuel Wanjiru, the Olympic champion, will grace the event among other top athletes.
Academy opens next year
Speaking during this year’s launch, Loroupe, the first African woman to win the New York City Marathon and UN’s ambassador for sport, said the race has improved relationships within the warring pastoral communities who have lost lives and livestock in gun battles over water, grazing land and acquisition of wealth.
“Peace helps in the development of communities and through this race, we have tried to achieve just that. Now we want to extend our reach to Sudan,” she said.
Safaricom on Tuesday led the corporate world in their support of the initiative with a sponsorship agreement of Sh2.1 million.
“I really want to thank our sponsors. Money has been one of our major obstacles and with your kind support we are sure of meeting our objectives,” she said.
Lucas Naikuni, the chairman of the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation, said the Peace Academy, which has been under construction, will open its doors to pupils next year.
Education of the girl-child is one of the core goals the Foundation seeks to meet and has built an educational structure for the victims of conflict, beginning with the children and women, based on honouring the fundamental cultural strengths of pastoral life.
“We are happy to announce that the Tegla Loroupe Peace Academy will open its doors next year. Anyone with children in the neighbourhood should feel free to enrol them. We want to uplift the girl-child’s education in this region,” said Naikuni.
The Foundation, a brain child of Loroupe, was formed to use the power of sport to bring peace to conflict-ridden areas of North rift, to support children who are victims of conflict, and to enable economic development.