The organisers of inaugural Mount Kenya Mountain Running Championships due February 22 next year hope to raise over Sh50 million to help fight cancer besides boosting environmental conservation and tourism in Meru County.
Speaking on Monday in Nairobi, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi disclosed that the funds will be raised through sponsorship from the corporates and registration fee of Sh2,000 per participant.
Murungi said that they intend to attract some 5,000 participants who will battle it out in five categories; men and women’s 12km races, junior men’s 8km race, junior women’s 6km and 2km family fun races.
Proceeds from the races will be used to fund the establishment of the Meru Cancer Centre at Meru Level Five Hospital and a sanctuary for the endangered mountain bongo and rhinos.
The races will start at Kenya School of Adventure and Leadership that is at an altitude of 2,800 metres before athletes snake through Mount Kenya Forest tracks. The 12km races will hit an altitude of 3,130m before ending at the same venue.
“We want to offer participants a unique sporting opportunity to challenge the heights of Mount Kenya as well as raise funds for the noble course,” said Murungi. He was speaking during the launch at Serena Nairobi yesterday.
“We also intend to showcase the county as a tourist and investment hub,” he added.
He launch was attended by among others, Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei.
The elite winners of the 12km races will take home Sh500,000 each while runners-up will pocket Sh250,000 each. Second runners-up will get Sh100,000.
Meru is one of the 11 counties with high prevalence of cancer, according to a report presented to the National Assembly by the National Cancer Institute in June. The report reveals that men and women are at a higher risk of prostate and breast cancer, respectively in the county.
Murungi noted that to attract and promote growth-oriented investments that are innovative and sustainable, they established the Meru County Development Corporation to spearhead various initiatives.