•The former Olympic Games 3,000m steeplechase champion added that the race has been growing with time and many sponsors are now willing to come on board.
•Kemboi, who won the men's race last year, said he hopes to be ready to defend his title.
Emmanuel Kemboi and Daisy Cherotich will defend their titles during the 9th edition of Chemususu Dam Conservancy's Half Marathon race set for November 11 in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County.
Speaking during the 2022 winners' cheque handover ceremony on Wednesday, race director Mathew Birir said the top three finishers in last year’s event will not be required to pay the registration fee.
“We hope this will motivate them to come back and compete for the top honours,"
The former Olympic Games 3,000m steeplechase champion added that the race has been growing with time and many sponsors are now willing to come on board.
“As athletes, we need a clean environment to train and post quality results. For the last eight years, we have been working to bring sanity among ourselves,” added Birir.
At the same time, Birir revealed that plans are afoot to build a murram track at the Chemususu Primary School for athletes in the region.
“Construction of murram track is part of giving back to the society. We have been using the school for a long time and the only way we can appreciate it is by building such a facility to promote our athletes,” he added.
He said training and running on grass tracks does not offer much help to the athletes.
“For any runner to gain needed time, they have to train on tartan or murram. The grass is not ideal for training and that is why we want to put up a murram track," he noted.
Kemboi, who won the men's race last year, said he hopes to be ready to defend his title.
.“I would love to defend my title but it's also too early to confirm considering in athletics anything can happen," he noted.
Birir added that the prize money remains the same at Sh250,000 for the winner, trickling down to position 10.
“We are not going to change the prize money. At the same time, the course will remain the same as last year.
Race chairman Joseph Cheruiyot said the growth of the race reflects the trust they have gotten from the area residents.
“For us to have such a race uninterrupted, we have to meet the needs of the athletes and local residents,” said Cheruiyot.
Kemboi won the men’s title in 63:46 ahead of Jackson Kipleting (63:49) and Bernard Kipkurui (64:22 ) in second and third places respectively.
In the women's cadre, Cherotich won the title in 71:38 with Catherine Relin (71:45) and Jackline Chelal (71:48) completing the podium.