There is no doubt that the number of road races have increased in the country over the past few years. But while we appreciate the emergence of these races, I suggest we have a discussion as a country over this subject. The question is - do we really need all the events or we can do with a few quality races?
It is no secret that some people are taking advantage of the liberty in the athletics circles to make a kill. This subject has become a song as far as Athletics Kenya is concerned but it seems like some stakeholders are hiding behind certain projects to perpetuate their ills. AK has in the past issued guidelines for those who want to run such races but some organisers have always found a way to swindle our runners.
We are aware that for one to host a race, it must be sanctioned by AK and has to meet the set standards. Besides AK approving the route among other conditions, the winner's prizes must be according to the standards set by body. For example, for you to run a marathon, the winners must be guaranteed a minimum of Sh500,000 and Sh250,000 for the half marathon. Winners for 10km road races range at Sh100,000.
Apart from a few races like the Standard Chartered and the Eldoret City Marathon, very few races seem to live up to the requirements or rather make sense. I want to particular congratulate Standard Chartered Marathon for maintaining high standards for their event with Sh1.5million prize for the winner and the Eldoret City Marathon who have taken their year-old race a notch higher with a whooping Sh3 million for the winners.
However, I must note that the mushrooming of many unsanctioned events has also led to the dwindling standards of officiating. Kenya is a top athletics nation and we ought to be seen to be doing things in the right way.
When we start witnessing poor timing, poor route marking and lack of policing along the route and cheats, then it is a pointer that we are headed in the wrong direction.
Time has come for AK to ensure all races are sanctioned by the body and meet the required standards including being complaint with the anti-doping rules.
Just like we control cross country and track meetings calendars, the same should apply across board because after all the buck stops with us. This is the time to ensure everyone toes the line before it’s too late.