Retired athletes will be competing tomorrow dubbed Equator Rad race to raise funds to build the first ever Children’s Cancer hospital at the Moi Teaching ad Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret.
Led by former world 3,000m steeplechase record holder Moses Kiptanui will lead other retired athletes on Friday morning The race, which will start at the Londiani, at the Equator crossing, covering 80km to Eldoret town where the race will end and ground breaking ceremony.
Kiptanui, the three time world 3,000m steeplechase champion said that the event will be so big attracting over 30 retired athletes on the course headed by retired athlete Toby Tanser, the Shoe4Africa Chief Executive Officer.
After setting up Shoe4Africa Children’s Hospital, the only public children hospital about eight years ago, Tanser led team will be establishing another first hospital in Kenya and the only one in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This is not a competition but a course. Many athletes will be running in 2km, 5km and the longest distance is 10km and we shall be running like relays where a baton will be handed to the next runner. Like me, I have registered in 5km and when I finish the distance, I hand over the baton to the next runner until we complete the course,” said the former world junior 1,500m champion.
The former Olympic Games 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist explained that no one will be running the entire 80km since those who have registered the longest distance is 10km but if one feels he can run more and the body can accommodate, then it will be fine.
“We have our own heroes who will be running for this course after doing very well for this country in the 1990s and 2000s and those who have retired. At the same time, we have international athletes like former world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, Paul Chelimo among others,” he said.
Among those who have registered in women are Mary Keitany, Catherine Ndereba, Sally Barsosio, Lydia Cheromei, Janeth Jepkosgei among others while men, which is a crowded field, has Benjamin Limo, Daniel Komen among others.
“It will be a big honour to be part and parcel of this noble course for ground breaking of She4Africa project headed by former athlete Tanser whom we competed together in the 1990s. He has done a lot for this country in the medical field and educational sector,” said Kiptnui.
With athletes, meeting, from short, middle and long distance running on the same course, Kiptanui said it is like a fun race to raise money for the hospital, targeting to raise a million dollars which is about kshs 100 million.
“This is the only race where we are going to meet both the short, middle and long distance runners in one event to help humanity. We are not thinking of ourselves but thinking of the next generation. This is a way of giving back to society. MTRH has provided the land to put up a hospital where children with cancer, who have nowhere to be treated will be treated,” he said.
He added that in the USA and other western countries, nine out of ten sick children from cancer are cured and in Africa, it is the opposite, out of ten sick children, nine die and one survives through God’s grace not medicine.
“We want to equalize that is why we are starting the race at the Equator. Equator means the middle, so we are starting at the middle ground to close the gap between the western countries and Africa.”
With Christmas festivities, the roads being busy, Kiptanui said they are working closely with the Kenya Police all the way from Londiani to Eldoret in controlling traffic.
“We shall have like five vehicles along the course and we shall allow other vehicles to pass. We shall not interfere with the flow of traffic,” he said.