Athletes line up before taking part in the 41 kilometers race during Eldoret City Marathon in Eldoret yesterday. 06.06.2021. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

It was a day that started with huge expectations given the one-year boredom without sports action.

Elite athletes, upstarts and dignitaries were in high spirits at the race starting point near the University of Eldoret.

Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi Governors as well as MPs Caleb Kositany and William Chepkut were present.

The Covid-19 pandemic restrictions notwithstanding, huge crowds lined up on the streets in Eldoret suburbs and its thoroughfare.

The showpiece, which had been postponed since April last year, attracted a quality lineup in men’s and women’s races.

3rd Edition Eldoret City Marathon 42km champion Victor Kipchirchir crossing the finish line clocking 2:08:56 in Uasin Gishu County on Sunday 6 June 2021. [Christopher Kipsang,Standard]

The atmosphere was simply electrifying. From all walks of life, they came in their thousands to watch the action that sent the agricultural town to delirium as the sonorous cheers near the finish line at Zion Mall livened the air.

Green, the official colour for the annual race, remained visible in almost all vantage positions.

Excited local fans, most of them clad in white T-Shirts, converged in the race that attracted a huge turnout; all out for a noble cause –the Climate Action.

Security was tight within and outside as armed police officers patrolled the town.

Top retired and active athletes were stationed on the water points to encourage and inspire upcoming athletes.

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Boston Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono, the two Tokyo Olympic bound athletes, stood at the finish line.

Mathew Birir, the 1992 Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion, was among retired athletes in the Local Organizing Committee.

 

Foreigners were not left out either, with representatives from Europe and USA.

Greece Ambassador to Kenya Vicky Pantazopoulou, who was present during the tree planting was the Chief Guest.

Fans who could not show up at the finish line due to Covid-19 restrictions watched the action which was aired live by KTN in restaurants and hotels.

Top brands from health to agricultural sector showcased their products and services in the meet attended by at least 30,000 fans and watched by millions on TV.

Teams from most of the sponsors as well as prominent personalities from the region ran the 5km fun race.

3rd Edition Eldoret City Marathon 5km corporate category in action in Uasin Gishu County on Sunday 6 June 2021. [Christopher Kipsang,Standard]

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, who is the race’s patron and his counterparts Nandi County Governor Stephen Sang and Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos also turned up to cheer athletes.

Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu and Kerio Valley Development Authority Managing Director Sammy Naporos as well as Soy MP, Caleb Kositany were among the personalities who took part in the fan race.

Mediheal Group of Hospitals, Reale Hospital, St Luke’s Orthopedic, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Vieman Healthcare were health institutions that deployed ambulances and health workers who provided first aid.

Stabex International, Coca Cola, Paramount Bank, Resolution Insurance, Eldowas, Rivatex, Brussels-based Golazo Sports Management, Kenya Pipeline, Rai Ply and Kennit were also among sponsors.

The Standard Group, which is the race’s official media partner, supplied free copies of The Standard newspapers to athletics enthusiasts.

Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei and Youth Committee chairman Barnaba Korir were present.

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