• Tanui said they could not secure the prize kitty from the County Government of Uasin Gishu and it was therefore not viable to go on with the race.
• " While the main sponsor has been promising to deposit the money in the account, I didn't want to risk," he added.
The Eldoret City Marathon, earlier scheduled for this weekend, has been postponed indefinitely amid a war of words between the organisers and the Uasin Gushu County Government.
Race organiser Moses Tanui said he was forced to call off the race despite having received running numbers.
Tanui said: "I had a vision for this race but there is too much politics. My objective was to build this race to international standards so that our young athletes could compete at home and still earn like they would at international races. It's a sad day for me as I announce the cancelation."
Tanui said they could not secure the prize kitty from the County Government of Uasin Gishu and it was therefore not viable to go on with the race.
“I wanted the prize money to be in the account by last week," he said, adding that he was avoiding a repeat of last year's incident where athletes were paid a year after the race.
" While the main sponsor has been promising to deposit the money in the account, I didn't want to risk," he added.
"I didn't want to put athletes in the same problem I put them last year. I am in pain and have even lost my voice,” said an evidently angry Tanui.
“Running a marathon is not like 5km or 10km. It needs a lot of dedication. Imagine someone’s son or daughter covering all that distance and at the end of the day there is nothing to show for it.. As a retired athlete, it does not make sense to me."
He said the sponsor had promised to deliver the material and prize two weeks before the marathon but this didn't happen.
"I was not going to allow this because I had similar issues last year," Tanui asserted.
“The prize money was delayed by the County Government of Uasin Gishu. Some officers from the county registered Eldoret City Marathon Company Limited with the aim of taking over the race. I was even summoned and asked to surrender the race to the county but I declined. I tried to make them see sense why the race should be maintained but my explanation was trashed."
He noted that while he loves athletics, there is too much politics around the race.
"I am not a politician but a career sportsman who would like to see the sport in the country grow. This is one marathon that has helped build talent. I will make sure I get someone to support the marathon in the future,” he said.
In their response, the Uasin Gishu County Government dismissed Tanui's assertions, saying they stopped sponsoring the race during the 2022/2023 financial year.
The county noted that the marathon is run by a private entity and it was not prudent for them to finance the race using public funds.
“All the previous editions that the county government sponsored had audit queries being flagged down by the Office of Auditor General and as a consequence, the Uasin Gishu County Assembly did not approve its allocation of funds in its 2022/2023 budget,” read part of the response.
The county government said they requested the race organisers to restructure its shareholding to bring in the county as a shareholder to enable them to continue with their role as the title sponsors, but the organisers declined.