•Amina says tremendous interest in the marathon bodes well for its effort to become historic
•Minsk Half Marathon champion Hillary Kimaiyo will be among elite runners going for the Ksh6 million prize money in the full marathon
•Approximately 8000 runners have so far enrolled to run in the race, dubbed Uhuru Classic Expressway
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed says she is elated at the tremendous interest in the inaugural Nairobi City Marathon set for this Sunday at the newly-constructed Nairobi Expressway.
Amina said the bumper entry witnessed so far — approximately 8000 runners across four race categories — evokes hope the Uhuru Classic will be historic.
"I am pleased to take this opportunity to appreciate you for registering to run in the Nairobi City Marathon, the Uhuru Classic. One of the Ministry of Sports' mandate is to continue spearheading the expansion of the sports industry through various programmes and projects," Amina said.
Amina further said the race stands out among other city marathons due to its unique course and potential to market Kenya as a tourism destination.
“The race will be the first in the world to be run on an Express Highway and will also showcase the beauty of the scenery of Nairobi and market Kenya as a tourism destination,” she said.
Speaking at the same time, Principal Secretary Joe Okudo said he is looking forward to the road race, destined to run for the next decade.
"I have looked forward to the Nairobi City Marathon, the Uhuru Classic since its inception and official announcement. It gives the runners a chance to run through Nairobi City with amazing views of the city's skyline and a glimpse of the Nairobi National Park," Okudo said.
Among those who are eyeing glory at Sunday's race is 18-year-old Edwin Kisaisa who says the marathon will be the perfect launchpad for his road running career.
The Iten-based runner will be competing in the 10km race as a start as he considers himself not yet mature to compete in the half or full marathon.
“My age does not allow me to compete in the marathon or half marathon but I am expecting good results come Sunday in my first road race," the Kisaisa said.
Sunday's race will also be a chance for the youngster to redeem himself after he floundered at the recent Athletics Kenya national championship at Moi Stadium, Kasarani.
“I finished in the 7th position at the national championships and hence missed the chance to compete at the Senior African Championships. I want to redeem my image at the marathon even as I set my eyes on the World Championship and the Commonwealth,” the Trans Mara-born runner said.
In the marathon category, 2017 Minsk Half Marathon champion Hillary Kimaiyo is among elite athletes who will be chasing the Ksh 6 million (US$6,000) prize money.
Others seeking the event’s top honours are 2020 Al Mouj Muscat Marathon champion Pius Karanja, 2018 Padua marathon third-place finisher Ethiopian Desta Shume Tafa and another Kenyan, Elijah Kemboi, a former winner of Kosice and Antwerp marathons.
The full marathon course starts at Nyayo Stadium and proceeds to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before moving to the city centre, which will be the spectator stage, to ABC Place in Westlands then back to Nyayo Stadium for the finish.
The organisers have prepared a place for the fans to watch 9km of the race which will be run outside the Express Highway.
The half marathon will also begin at the Nyayo Stadium, on to Ole Sereni along Mombasa Road, then to ABC Place before culminating at Nyayo.
It will be run entirely on the Nairobi Expressway.
The winner of the half marathon will run away with Ksh 2.5 million (US$2,500) and Ksh1.5 million (US$1,500) for the winner in the 10km race.
The event’s technical director, Ibrahim Hussein, said the course has been certified and accredited by the Association International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and thus any world record will be approved by World Athletics.