Winners of Sunday's Mombasa International Marathon will be awarded Sh 400,000.
The prize money announced by the Athletics Kenya (AK) Coast branch secretary Felix Ngala on Tuesday is the highest since the marathon started in 1983 where winners got a paltry Sh 5,000.
Ngala said runners-up in the 42 kilometers events will get Sh 150,000 each while cash awards for the other top ten finishers will be announced by Thursday.
“We are thankful to Safaricom for sponsoring the event at a tune of Sh 2.5 million and that is why we have increased prize money to the winners,” said Ngala.
He said men and women winners in the 10km race will each receive Sh 40,000, second placed Sh 20,000 and third positioned Sh 10,000. Fourth placed are to get Sh 7,000, fifth Sh 5,000, sixth Sh 4,000 seventh Sh 3,000 eighth, ninth and 10th place finisher Sh 2,000.
Last year’s winners Cosmas Koech of Injerian Athletics Club and an individual entrant Selmitha Murioki are expected to defend their titles.
Ngala expressed confidence that top athletes will grace this year’s event due to increased cash prizes.
“We also expect a good number of athletes from neighbouring countries including Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to take part,” he said.
Ngala said they also expect new course records in both the 42km and 10km races. The men's marathon record time of two hours 09.21 seconds was set by Peter Kemboi in 2007 while Nancy Jebet still holds the women's record time of 2:40.01 set in 2016.
The men's 10km men record time is 32.16 set by Joshua Kipkorir in 2016 with Nancy Jepkosgei Kiprop holding the women's best time of 38.28 which she also set in 2016.
Daniel Nzioka is the only male athlete to have won the event thrice (1989, 90 and 91) with Grace Chebet won the women's titles twice in 1998 and 99.
Interested athletes are required to pay Sh 1,000 registration fees to participate.