‘Selfie Generation’ dominated 2016 Stanchart Marathon
The annual Nairobi International Stanchart Marathon once again saw the Kenyan capital awash in a sea of blue and white as city residents poured out in thousands to honour the annual ritual that takes its pride of place as the blue-riband sporting event.
Organisers put participant estimates at 20,000 – a peak it has maintained for past three years and despite the low-spend on advertising and media hype surrounding the 2016 edition- Nairobians braved baking conditions to join the party.
As early as 6am, enthusiasts in all manner of gear- professional running kit or otherwise-turned out to line for the official start outside Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium along Uhuru Highway in-bound.
Ordinary folk mixed with dignitaries and celebrities as the class barriers were brought down for the day, companies brought out their staff, men, women and children of all ages, region, creed, colour and affiliations came out to run for the benefit of the Seeing is Believing cause.
The hustle and bustle of the city streets paved way for the pounding of the tarmac by elite, corporate and fun runners who took advantage to tread where on an ordinary day, they would either be ran over by speeding Public Service Vehicles, arrested by City County Inspectorate (Kanju) officers or robbed dry.
The 2016 edition brought out the ‘Selfie Generation’ out in full force as micro-blogging sites Facebook and Twitter were flooded with posts related to the event as the #StanChartMarathon hash-tag shot to top of trending topics.
High profile dignitaries including the United States of America Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec and his wife Lori Godec, Nairobi 2017 World Under-18 Championships Local Organising Committee (LOC) CEO, Mwangi Muthee and Sports Kenya Director General, Gordon Oluoch ditched their suits for running gear.
“The race was great it always good to be outdoors and run for a reason. Hopefully next year I will run the full marathon,” Godec told Citizen Digital.
“We are inspired by Ambassador @BobGodec running the #StanChartMarathon for his wife Lori & to end #corruption in #Kenya! Hongera Balozi!” the official twitter account of the US Embassy of Kenya posted.
“My friend I ran a serious race, it was great and I finished in good time. I even beat Oluoch who I only saw at the start before we started the race,” Muthee added while sharing a light moment with his pal.
As the sweltering heat and distances took their toll on the hitherto enthusiastic starters, first aid personnel strewn across the course were called on to relieve the effects of muscle pains, cramps and in some extreme cases, dehydration.
Citizen TV reporters were surprised to bump into their Sports Editor, Michael Okinyi who was among the last people to set off.
“The course was good but I’m not sure of the time I ran,” Okinyi remarked.
As is tradition, the event had its good, bad and the ugly.
Unheralded Robert Kipkemboi and Jane Suerey Jelagat became the latest millionaires in town when they bagged the Ksh1.5m top prize for winning the men and women 42km marathon races.
The bad was the American envoy fraying the Government for runaway corruption that has crippled the nation and exposed it to international ridicule as he made news headlines across radio and television stations as well as Monday local newspapers when he delivered a stinging edict on the vice.
And just like last year when Julius Njogu from Naivasha attempted to cheat his way to Ksh650,000 by claiming he had finished second in the men’s 42km showdown, John Mwangi Nyaruai who hails from Timau tried to parade himself as the winner of the men 21km half marathon.
The 43-year-old Timau resident had registered for the 42 km, whizzed off sight before suddenly re-appearing at the 21km race in a fruadulent bid to claim the KSh150,000 prize money.
Race officials were quick to spot him and quickly dealt with him much to his dismay as the rightful recipient Reuben Limaa was confirmed the winner.
Officials will pay out prize monies when the results from the anti-doping control are returned from a lab in South Africa with the event signing up to eradicate illegal substance use among athletes.
For now, everything rolls on to the 14th running of the event probably at the last Sunday of October next year.
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