Organisers formally launched the inaugural Uhuru Classic Nairobi City Marathon on Thursday, unveiling routes and announcing prize moneys for the May 8th race.
The male and female winners for the full marathon will pocket around Sh6.95 million each, making the competition Africa’s most lucrative road race.
The marathon course will snake through the iconic Nairobi Expressway, bringing together thousands of runners from Kenya and beyond.
The start and finish line for the marathon will be at Nyayo Stadium with the 42km run winding through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Central Business District, ABC Place in Westlands and will cover 33km of the Nairobi Expressway and 9km of the rest of the city.
“Today we are witnessing a historic occasion as we launch this historic marathon. It will be historic because for the first time we will be witnessing our elite athletes running in their own country,” Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said.
Amina added: “I invite all of us to run on that day even if for only 1km. No one will punish you for stopping along the way. Even if you will not run, just come and cheer our athletes.”
The CS described the marathon as a perfect tribute to President Uhuru Kenyatta for his immense contribution to the sports industry and his infrastructural development legacy.
“This will be an international marathon that will be held on a legacy project of his excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta. It is a perfect tribute to his infrastructural development legacy and contribution to sports. The Nairobi City marathon will be held for the next 10 years and we hope it will continue to commemorate the tremendous milestones achieved by the president in his tenure,” she said.
Athletics Kenya (AK) president Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei thanked the government for its unwavering support for the marathon.
He described the marathon as one for the history books as far as the prize money and environmental management is concerned.
“With a prize money of $60,000 for winners of full marathon, $2,500 for half marathon and $1,500 for 10km, this is undoubtedly the biggest road race in the continent and one with a potential of competing against the World Marathon Majors races,” Tuwei said.
He added: “This is the first marathon that will have air quality sensors to measure the air quality during the race. We already have air quality equipment.”
Tuwei further expressed hope that the marathon will witness the breaking of records.
“The course has been certified to international standards so any record broken will be internationally recognised. Kenyans have excelled in various city marathons around the world and we look forward to a great performance,” he said.