Meru County to introduce Mountain Racing


Douglas Wakiihuri address members of Meru sports council, tourisim stakeholders among them KFS and KWS. ...
Douglas Wakiihuri address members of Meru sports council, tourisim stakeholders among them KFS and KWS. They target starting mountain racing by August. (PHOTO/Martin Mwenda)

In Summary

  • The County Government of Meru is set to introduce Mountain Racing in the region beginning August this year as part of plans to promote sports tourism
  • The proposal was discussed during a meeting between Meru Sports Council and tourism stakeholders among them Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS)

The County Government of Meru is set to introduce Mountain Racing in the region beginning August this year as part of plans to promote sports tourism.

The proposal was discussed during a meeting between Meru Sports Council and tourism stakeholders among them Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS).

Former Olympic silver medallist and marathon veteran Douglas Wakiihuri – who is a a member council, said part of the plan includes setting up Meru County as a road running hub.

“We want to get out of the norm of saying that am running half marathon. If we have good paths, roads are maintained and we have good security. This could not be a problem” said Wakiihuri.

He also proposed that, “To motivate our athletes, we need to develop some medals such that if you reach a certain height of the mountain you are awarded. That achievement and certification is what we want. It could be a good basis to setting the courses other want to come in.”

The marathoner who won first gold for Kenya in in the 1987 World Championship in Rome noted that the council targets to lobby and bring the world mountain racing series to Meru.

He said that the 13Km track for the racers is already mapped in the forest, urging the partners to accept the proposal for the event to be a success.

“A month ago we did a route for the race and we have a proper road map. All we are waiting is the permission to start working on it. We will not cut any trees, but probably we will have to clear the thickets where we can’t use the existing roads” he assured the KFS.

The area targeted is about 2800 meters above sea level, thus making the route a challenge for the competitors which will also be fan to them.

“There are so many series in the world for the World Mountain running association. With this beautiful mountain, we want to ensure Meru is marked as one of the places to watch for the race” confidently said the New York 1990 Commonwealth games gold medalist.

He said with about 10 separate running groups in Nairobi that organize regular competitions, it would be a good move for them to experience a new environment.

Former Athletics Kenya Treasurer and the sports Council Chair Joseph Kinyua said that about 50% of the Mt.Kenya sits in Meru and it has to be utilized in sports.

“As a council, we have a 10 year plan to transform this county in the sporting industry. We want to have more talents tapped from here” he posed.

On his part governor Kiraitu Murungi urged the KFS not to be fundamentalist once presented with the proposal.

“Let’s look at the broader picture. This will be for will be for the benefit of our future generation and through this kind of event. Funds will be earned even to help conserve our forests” he posed.

Prof. Joel Lomalong KFS technical board chair reaffirmed that once the legal procedure is followed, the government will support fast track so as to have ready within stipulated time.

“We are in agreement that what they want to do is within the mandate of the KFS which is to conserve, manage and protect the forest and our diversity. So as long as the intended activities are not going against that, we have no issues,” he summed.

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Story By Martin Mwenda
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