A group of runners from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) office in The Netherlands has raised Sh18 million for Kenyan schools.
And the 28 runners will Friday compete in a unique marathon in Iten as part of their fund-raising project that will see at least 10 schools benefit from the supply of clean drinking water.
The 42,195-kilometre marathon will start down in the belly of the Rift Valley at Kessup Centre, some 2,056 metres above sea level, and ascend to the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten which is at an elevation of 2,400 metres above sea level.
The charity marathon has been organised by Kenya-born Dutch distance runner Lornah Kiplagat, a multiple world road running and cross country champion and three times Olympian.
“By setting up a lot of fund-raising activities, the Dutch runners succeeded to collect a total amount of at least 150,000 Euros (about Sh18 million),” Kiplagat said Wednesday.
“With the money collected, Unicef can supply at least more than 10 primary schools within the “Football for Water” programme with clean drinking water and sanitary facilities.”
“Football for Water” is a unique programme in Kenya in which the power of sport is used to influence behaviour in the field of water, sanitation and hygiene among school going boys and girls.
The Dutch marathon runners arrived in Kenya on Monday and have been acclimatizing at the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten.
Top Kenyan athletes based in the North Rift have been helping them with training ahead of tomorrow’s big challenge in the extreme marathon race.
The Dutch runners will also a visit one of the schools that will benefit from their fund raising programme.
“This year is just the beginning and we have already secured a date for this marathon next year with a view to raising more funds to help the children by making it an annual race” Kiplagat added.
The Dutch runners also had a chance to visit the National Park in Nairobi and were excited after seeing quite a number of animals.
“I have been running hard for 30 years, but this will be my toughest marathon so far. However, I’m going to run with a big smile, because it’s a very good goal,” 52-year-old Willem Struijs from the Dutch city of Amersfoort was quoted as saying by Dutch newspaper De Stad earlier this week.
“Clean drinking water is very self-evident here, not in Kenya. That’s why I think it’s important to participate,” he added.