First Lady Margaret Kenyatta had Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge as his special guest on Tuesday during the launch of the 2020 Beyond Zero Half Marathon due March 8 in Nairobi.
Kipchoge, who was accompanied by his wife Grace Sugutt, took the First Lady thorugh some morning exercise around the lush State House on a rainy morning.
Then Kipchoge, the World Marathon record holder, who donned a grey suit, a matching tie and white shirt, and the First Lady, in a purple Africa attire, joined those invited for the race launch and luncheon in the dome at State House garden.
Others in the entourage were Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohammed and Margaret Kobia, Senator Beth Mugo and opposition leader Raila Odinga’s wife, Ida.
The First Lady announced that they not only hope to raise Sh250 million, but also attract 25,000 participants in the 2020 race that will once again start and end at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Registration is going on at Sh2,000 for the event that will also have 10km, 5km, and 21km wheelchair and tricycle races. There will also be races for visually impaired and 2km walk for expectant mothers.
This time around, participants are at liberty to indicate what course they will be supporting when registering on www.beyondzero.or.ke.
They are nine courses; Early cancer screening, zero child deaths, children living with a disability, zero female genital mutilation, zero maternal deaths, zero new HIV infections, healthy lifestyle for elderly and zero fistula.
Last year’s race, which attracted 18,000 participants with Josephat Bett and Brillian Kipkoech winning the men and women’s 21km races last year in 1:01.34 and 1:07.02 respectively.
Beyond Zero initiative, which was launched in 2014, is anchored on the First Lady Strategic Framework and provides high level leadership to Kenya’s efforts to end new HIV infections among children and reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths.
“The impact of mobile clinics that launched this initiative in 2014 to the medical safari initiative launched last year has been immense. It has touched millions of lives with the lives of mothers and children being saved,” said the First Lady, who is worried about the increasing number of cancer cases and adolescents contracting HIV-Aids.
The First Lady said that the number of scholarships being awarded to nurses will be increased from 100 to 200 next year.
Kipchoge hailed First Lady’s initiate saying it resonates well with his inspiration message of no human is limited.
“We need to put more support and efforts into the course and I hope their target will be achieved next year,” said Kipchoge.