Elite athletes have urged cooperates in Kenya to sponsor many athletics events in the country to aid in nurturing many budding athletes in the country before thinking of running against the world.
Speaking during the launch of 10km road race, the third edition of Ziwa Farmers Marathon in Eldoret set for December 9th, double IAAF World Marathon champion Abel Kirui, reigning Amsterdam marathon champion Lawrence Cherono said there is need for the country to nurture athletes.
Ran in the large farming area of Ziwa, Uasin Gishu County, the race has produced a number of world running athletes and the athletes pointed out the need to do more.
Kirui, the 2016 Chicago marathon champion said he started from local races before he matured enough to face the rest of the world.
“Such races pose a challenge to young athletes who want to be future professional runners. This is one way of nurturing young athletes at the grass root level. I started my career, competing in such local races where running track, finishing second at Kipchoge stadium, went ahead to win Madoka half marathon and Standard Chartered marathon,” said the 2017 Chicago marathon runners up.
He added that his delight moment will be that 9th day when he will see many young people coming out to compete in the race.
“Am urging young athletes to come out in large numbers to compete in the race. This is one way of nurturing athletes. They should not say that they are not on form but they should go there to gauge their ability,” added former Tokyo marathon winner.
Cheron on the other side said the race, which is located in the heart of athletics hub pointed out that the race should grow to half marathon and later marathon to open doors for many runners.
“We wish to request race organizers to factor in marathoners. The race has attracted many athletes and if they include 42km in future, it will be an opener for elite athletes to take part,” said Cherono.
During the launch, main sponsor MediaMax presented a 12 million Cheque, Home Ground Bakers with three million, Events marketing Solutions with Kshs 600, 000 among other sponsors.