Eldoret was humming yesterday as the town christened the ‘City of Champions’ was getting ready for the country’s biggest marathon tomorrow.
Preparations are complete and race officials have assembled the necessities for the race.
At the iconic Eldoret Sports Club, the headquarters of the marathon’s Local Organising Committee, race officials were getting ready.
On one side of the club, event coordinators were issuing bib numbers for athletes and in another section, technical teams were meeting as they arranged deployment of race officials tomorrow.
Two-time Boston Marathon winner Moses Tanui who is the race director and the marathon’s LOC chairman Andrew Chelogoi were hands-on, while at the same time supervising final groundwork.
Posters that will show water points and other labels were being prepared for distribution to the course some hours to the race expected to start minutes to 7am outside University of Eldoret.
The electronic timing operators from Europe arrived in the country yesterday afternoon and held a meeting with technical officials.
“We will be having discussions with the electronic timing officials before they start operation,” Tanui said.
The Standard Group, which is the marathon’s media sponsor, was getting ready, with staff preparing to go live without hitches on its platforms comprising KTN, The Standard Newspaper, Radio Maisha and Standard Digital among others.
A number of race sponsors such as Eldoret Business Community and Resolution Insurance presented their cheques yesterday.
Tanui thanked the sponsors and urged them to continue supporting the marathon.
Entertainment joints and hotels were also setting the stage because many athletics enthusiasts at the City of Champions will be watching the event in hotels since no crowds will be allowed along the route and at the finish line.
“The race is taking place on a Sunday and all roads along the course will be closed. As a retired athlete, I urge Eldoret motorists to walk to church.
“This a Kenyan race and I ask my countrymen to own this race. I ask them to keep off the streets that will be closed on Sunday.”
Race coordinator Jacqueline Sumbeiywo said the number of participants have increased this year compared to the previous editions.
“There will be no spectators and we expect fans to follow the action on KTN,” Sumbeiywo said.
County trade executive Emily Kogos said businesses were eager for better returns tomorrow.
“From the preparation, Eldoret is set for a world class marathon. The electronic timing is one of the indicators,” the county executive said.
Kogos said the presence of thousands of athletics fans and tens of athlete support personnel from yesterday will change Eldoret’s economy for the better.
Uasin Gishu County sports executive Joseph Kurgat said Eldoret is eager to stage the marathon after cancellation last year.
Uasin Gishu Deputy County Police Commander Zacchaeus Ngeno said an adequate number of police officers will be deployed to all intersections along the route and at the finish line to control crowds.
“We are deploying adequately to control traffic and enforce Covid-19 rules. Our officers will be deployed before 5am,” Ngeno said.