After months of meticulous planning that culminated in a world class Eldoret City Marathon on Sunday, focus now shifts to future staging of world class races.
Eldoret, the City of champions came alive during the Sunday event, with the much-anticipated electronic timing working flawlessly as millions followed riveting action on KTN News.
Happening amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, a guidebook on race management during challenging moments such as the coronavirus period came in handy.
The success of the race has been attributed to painstaking preparations that were almost ruined by the suspension of sports events on March 26 this year, a move that led to postponement of the Eldoret City Marathon from April 11 to June 6.
The Local Organising Committte (LOC) had a blend of retired world beaters in athletics and management professionals.
Moses Tanui, the two-time Boston marathon winner (1996 and 1998) who also won the 2002 edition of Vienna marathon was a prominent figure in the technical team.
He is the Eldoret City Marathon’s race director.
Learning from Bob Dylan
Alongside Tanui was Matthew Birir, the 1992 Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion as well as former All-Africa Games champion Leah Malot, who is currently a nominated member of Uasin Gishu County Assembly.
The LOC, which was chaired by Eldoret Water and Sanitation Company (ELDOWAS) chairman Andrew Chelogoi also has Professor David Some, the former Commission for University Education Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as secretary.
Senior officials and professionals from the County government led by Sports executives Joseph Kurgat, Mary Njogu (Environment) as well as Evelyne Rotich (Health) represented the race’s patron, Governor Jackson Mandago, in the planning meetings.
The county government has pumped in Sh18 million in the last three editions.
The Standard Group, which is the race’s official media sponsor was also at the centre of the LOC’s media and communication.
The electronic timing machine was tested on Friday evening in the presence of the technical team.
On Saturday, a tree planting exercise characterised by show of corporate colours and attended by Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago and Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu, took place at Eldoret arboretum.
Learning from Bob Dylan
Event co-ordinator Jacqueline Sumbeiywo re-lived the gruelling final days, as the countdown of a race that gained international status came down to hours and minutes.
“The final days were hectic, but we pushed ourselves. Our team of co-ordinators were working on several important issues of the race and had to sleep late and wake up too early,” Sumbeiywo, the director of PG-Connect, an events co-ordination firm explained yesterday.
“We had to be excellent because of the momentous assignment of delivering an international race in the Eldoret City Marathon. We slept at 1am and woke up at 3am at the day of the marathon. It was demanding, but we are glad that everything went according to plan.”
According to Subeiywo, the team of co-ordinators was a link between the LOC and sponsors and also worked round the clock to communicate to race participants through text messaging and online communications.
“Our team made sure the sponsors offered special treatment. Posters and social media messages were also shared on time, and that is why the number of visitors to the Eldoret City marathon website and social media pages increased this year,” she said.
She added: “I foresee a much better race next year, with an increase in the number of international participants next year.”
Governor Mandago said the race’s Climate Action theme will be sustained and will continue to encourage the corporate world to adopt forests in Uasin Gishu and neighbouring counties.
“I have adopted parts of Kapseret forest and I have already planted bamboo to conserve water sources. We are working with world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in the forest adoption campaign,” he said.