Elaborate plans by the County Administration of Nakuru to stage a successful race has been unveiled as the countdown begins towards the inaugural Nakuru City Marathon.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the planned annual sporting event, which will be held for the first time on November 28 this year, is meant to nurture local talent and enable industry sponsors to engage with their customers in building customer loyalty, a move that will see growth in market.
Speaking when he officially launched registration for the marathon, Mr Kinyanjui heaped praise on the sponsors of the event, Stanbic Bank, noting that the relationship between the County administration and the financial institution underpinned by a memorandum signed in July this year has been beneficial to Nakuru residents.
“I would like to assure you of our continued support and also appreciate your efforts and interventions that have helped to change lives of thousands of people,” Mr Kinyanjui said.
The Governor stated that his administration had prioritized the upgrade and construction of sporting facilities pointing out that the 87-year-old Afraha Stadium was being refurbished to international standards at a cost of Sh700 million and added Sh120 million had been set aside for construction of the Keringet Sports Academy.
“Our long-term plan is to make the event an International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) accredited marathon in Kenya,” stated Mr Kinyanjui.
In attendance were The Stanbic Bank Chief Executive Officer, Charles Mudiwa, Athletics Kenya Representative, Nancy Chepkoech, Kenya Association of Manufacturers-South Rift Region Chairperson, Peris Mbuthia, and World Marathon Champions, Brigit Kosgey, and Geoffrey Kirui.
The Governor challenged other sponsors to scale up their investment in the marathon in a bid to make it renown worldwide.
“We would like to see the world record beaters from Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda doing battles in Nakuru.”
The Governor thanked all the stakeholders, Athletics Kenya, the Government, athletes and the media for their active involvement in the preparations
“I urge all Kenyans to turn up and register for this noble cause that will undoubtedly make a difference in the life of residents,” Kinyanjui said.
Mudiwa indicated that organizers are working hard to ensure they host the race amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Stanbic CEO said the presence of thousands of athletics fans and tens of athlete support personnel will change Nakuru’s economy for the better.
“Our desire is to empower the youth and make them realize their talents. This is only possible through provision of quality and adequate facilities and enhanced sports sponsorship programs,” Mudiwa observed.
Ms Mbuthia noted that if well managed, the event had the potential of attracting local and foreign investors in sports related activities.
She challenged the County Government to put in place policies and structures that support sporting tourism as a way of attracting capital flows to the devolved unit.
By Jane Ngugi and Dennis Rasto