Drama as police block Samuel Wanjiru memorial race

Tuesday January 01 2019

Posters announcing the race which was to be held on January 1. 2019 in Nyahururu. PHOTO | DAVID MACHARIA |


There was drama in Nyahururu on Tuesday as police were called in to stop a race meant to honour fallen runners.

Athletes had already travelled from as far as Eldoret, Kericho, Molo and Nairobi ready for the 10km race when police declared Nyahururu stadium, where the race was to end, out of bounds.

Athletics Kenya vice President and director of competition, Paul Mutwii had on Monday warned of a stern action against the Laikipia County AK if the unauthorised race was held.

The memorial race in honour of the first Kenyan to win Olympic marathon gold medal, the late Samuel Kamau Wanjiru and other athletes was to start at Maili Saba on the Nyahururu-Rumuruti road and end at the stadium where invited musicians and preachers were to take over the fete.

But police arrived at the stadium where the runners were converging to be ferried to the starting venue and ordered everybody out and the gates to be closed.

Former 800m world beater, Billy Konchella was among the first retired athletes to arrive in Nyahururu at the weekend for the final touches of the banned race.


Sources said AK fear that the alliance between Amani Foundation, Professional Athletes Association of Kenya (PAAK) and the retired athletes could snowball into a mass movement and eventually overwhelm the federation that has in the past faced onslaught from the two athletics stakeholders.

PAAK and retired athletes have been pushing for reforms in the Athletics body, to give runners more say in the management of the sport.