The Eldoret City Marathon 4th Edition with the theme “Climate Action” is a world series championship marathon in which an international delegation led by Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya Meles Alem, and legendary Kenyan athletes like Kipchoge Keino praised the young athletes saying they exhibited high potential to participate in the international marathons like Boston and Berlin.
Victor Kipchirchir from Moiben, Uasin Gishu and Emily Chebet from Londiani, Kericho County are the champions of the Eldoret City Marathon 4th Edition each taking home a whooping Sh3.5 million as the prize.
Speaking to KNA while gracing the event as the chief guest, the Ethiopian envoy commended the event as key in nurturing the talents of young Kenyan athletes to emerge to world class status.
He praised the steps the Kenyan Government had achieved in athletics similarly to Ethiopia through producing elite and refined athletes who had made great records in many world championships.
“Ethiopia and Kenya produce the most refined elite athletes in the world. We have much in common as same families in two different places. We have convinced the sports fraternity, particularly in absence of Ethiopians and Kenyans in the middle- and long-distance races, that it doesn’t bring any energy,” said Alem.
The envoy warned of doping challenges among the athletes saying there was need of creating awareness to the athletes and the general public on the impact of doping to help save the athletic career of many who depended on athletics for it creates job opportunities.
“Doping is a challenge we have to overcome as Ethiopia and Kenya. We need to work out to make sure that these disciplines are intact,” he added.
He hinted on the partnership between the great Ethiopian Run and The Eldoret City Marathon to help it achieve world class status.
“I am in Eldoret, the City of Champions and I have witnessed this; if we let all these young men run, they can win the world. There are many athletes here. It is an opportunity to tap that potential, they have to learn from our experiences,” he said.
He further challenged Kenyan Athletes not to retire early from sports as compared to their counterparts in other countries.
“Many athletes run for 25 to 30 years. How many Kenyan athletes run for 30 years? You have a bigger number of athletes than Ethiopia. We learn from each other. What are the issues?” asked Alem.
In regard to the theme of the event which was Climate Action which aimed at finding mitigation measures to the impacts of climate change, Alem acknowledged that the issue had impacted the whole world.
He urged the Kenyan Government to emulate the example of Ethiopia by planting trees as a measure to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“In 2021, the Ethiopian Government planted 6.7 billion tree seedlings in a day. I challenge you to plant 7 billion tree seedlings in a day. That is how we can really keep our environment,” he said.
On her part, Consulate of the Republic of Kenya in Hellenic Republic in Greece, the home of the ancient Olympics, Vicky Pantazopoulou, encouraged the residents of Eldoret to uphold sports as a way to save the planet from the impacts of climate change in order to obtain peaceful life and happy future for families.
Nandi County Deputy Governor Dr Yulita Cheruiyot, reiterated her government’s commitment to support the Eldoret City marathon since its inception in 2018 to give athletes opportunity to express their talents in the field adding that it was also a venue for where athletes could connect with sponsors for the development of their career.
The Deputy Governor lauded the legendary Kenyan Athletes like the great Dr Kipchoge Keino and the reigning world marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge for their hard work and achievement that had made Kenya known globally through athletics.
“You are a great inspiration to us and a challenge to the young people you have held the map of Kenya so high,” said Cheruiyot.
She advised the athletes to observe proper nutrition patterns and avoid doping to help them perform excellently in the field without health complications.
“Stay on course, run clean and make Kenya great. We do not want to be branded a team of athletes who don’t care about what they consume. Maximize the potential to run clean free of doping,” she said.
In his remarks, the Eldoret Marathon Ambassador and the World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, urged the move by the county government administration of Uasin Gishu in collaboration with partners to establish such an event to nurture youth talents. Additionally, he called upon the people to plant trees to conserve the environment and mitigate climate change impacts.
The marathon has enabled 4 million trees to be planted at Kaptagat Forest in line with its theme of Climate Action which will enable the county to preserve its water towers.
Since its inception in 2018, the Marathon has enabled planting of over 10 million tree seedlings with the county’s Department of Environment planning to plant additional 1 million tree seedlings this year across 60 schools. The county is in its move to conserve the environment and mitigate the effects of climate change.
By Hassan Adan Ali and Ekuwam Sylvester