Eldoret City Marathon banner. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

An elaborate plan to stage a successful race is underway as the clock ticks ahead of the third edition of the Eldoret City Marathon.

It is 16 days to the June 6 marathon – a competition that has electrified Eldoret town since 2018, and organisers are working hard to ensure they host the race amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the Local Organising Committee (LOC), it will about striking a balance between producing a successful 42km event and living to the race’s theme of Climate Action, in which 3million trees are expected to be planted in Uasin Gishu and neighbouring counties.

It is the only marathon that has been confirmed in the country this year.

According to the LOC, marking of the course from the start point at the University of Eldoret to the finish line near Zion Mall and race equipment, including the electronic system among other logistics, are in place ahead of the race.

By Monday, a total of 229 athletes had registered and confirmed participation in the race.

Marathoners from Uasin Gishu top the list of participants with 61 runners, followed by Elgeyo Marakwet with 41, while Nairobi and Nandi counties had 14 entries each.

Among the participants are 14 foreign athletes, six of them from Ethiopia and two from Uganda.

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The Standard Group is the race’s official media partner. 

However, the giant LCD screens mounted by Uasin Gishu County administration in Eldoret town for thousands of athletics enthusiasts to follow the race, may remain deserted during the Sunday race thanks to Covid-19 containment measures.

Two days ago, LOC chairman Andrew Chelogoi, during the official launch of the race’s tree planting exercise at Turbo Technical and Vocational College, said fans will follow the action through KTN and other Standard Group media platforms.

The Standard Group is the race’s official media partner.

“This time, we will have no crowds at the finish line as it has always been because of the Covid-19 situation,” Chelogoi said.

“KTN will broadcast the action live from the start to the finish line. We urge fans not to crowd in town because they will not miss the action.”

The fanfare that defined the first and second edition in 2018 and 2019 respectively, the race chairman said, had been dimmed by the pandemic.

“Registration of athletes is ongoing and we urge runners to turn out because this is the richest marathon in Africa,” Chelogoi said.

The marathon is billed as the richest in Africa owing to its Sh3.5 million prize money for winners.

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