Moses Tanui, the two-time Boston Marathon winner has said registration for Eldoret City Marathon will be launched on Monday.
Tanui, who is the race director, said organisers were working round the clock to ensure they deliver a world-class event.
“Now that we have recognition from Abott World Marathon Majors (WMM) series, it is our duty as organisers to ensure the event conforms to the required standards,” said Tanui, who was the first man in the world to run half marathon in under one hour.
He said the course, which was standardised by the World Athletics ahead of the second edition in 2019, will remain unchanged.
The race starts at University of Eldoret through Mwanzo and West Indies residential areas before heading to Elgon View, then Kapsoya estate and finally to the finish point at Zion Mall.
“We will maintain the course because it is certified by World Athletics. We are inviting Ethiopian athletes to make the competition tougher. We have talked to some of them and their participation will be confirmed ahead of the race in April,” Tanui, the 1991 world 10,000m champion, said.
The Eldoret race, whose course is almost similar to the well-heeled big city marathons – run within the town’s suburbs –attracts more than 2,000 entrants and well over 50,000 spectators. Its elevation, at 2,100m above sea level, is quite punishing.
He said the course covers 90 per cent of Eldoret suburbs. “Eldoret has a good road network. We cover nearly all areas apart from Langas and a few sections.
“We are still developing the race and will offer winners Sh3.5 million ($35,000). We are among the highest paying marathons in Africa and we want to become one of the best marathons in the world,” he said.
But its core mandate, to support environmental conservation in the region, makes it stand at par with Xiamen Marathon in China – the first World Athletics Gold Label road race that supports environmental conservation.
Xiamen Marathon is another race with a difference as it champions sustainability, light on single-use plastics and is the first international marathon to join United Nations Environmental Programme’s (UNEP) clean seas campaign.
Race organisers have laid down a raft of measures through Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns to create conducive environment through tree planting initiatives.
The race rides on “climate action theme” and is often billed as ‘Green Marathon’ where organisers, sponsors and partners distributed over a million tree seedlings in the inaugural race in 2018 and another one million last year in the climate action campaign.
Last September, the race was marked by a tree planting exercise in Kapseret forest in line with its Climate Action theme.
A million trees are planted every year in April during the race in support of environmental conservation in areas where athletes train. Standard Group is the official media sponsor of the race.