More than 15,000 participants turned up for the second First Lady’s Half Marathon held in Nairobi today.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta finished the 21 kilometer race with an improved time of 3:24.55 up from last year’s 3:55.05.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was at the finishing line inside Nyayo National Stadium to receive the First Lady who was joined in the marathon by dignitaries led by Deputy President William Ruto and Mrs Rachel Ruto.
Other senior Government officials who took part in the marathon included Cabinet Secretaries Joseph Nkaissery (Interior), Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs), Anne Waiguru (Devolution), James Macharia (Health), Judy Wakhungu (Environment) and Hassan Wario (Sports).
Besides the 21 kilometer competition, other races that were part of the event included a 10 kilometer race, a 2 kilometer race, a tricycle race and a wheelchair race.
Thousands gathered outside the Nyayo National Stadium at dawn to take part in the race which seeks to raise funds for the First Lady’s Beyond Zero campaign.
The campaign has already managed to buy and deliver 21 fully equipped mobile clinics to 21 counties as part of the campaigns objective to improve maternal and child health.
The event was also used to mark the World Women’s Day dedicated to show respect, appreciation and love towards women.
In her speech at the end of the marathon, the First Lady appealed to Kenyan athletes to jealously guard Kenya’s position as a world athletics power house.
“Since the 1950s and 60s, gallant Kenyan sportsmen and women have worked hard to dominate global athletics, an enviable position we must all jealously guard and defend by winning clean, without using illegal performance enhancing substances,” she said.
She wished Kenyan athletes the best of luck at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships that will be held in Guiyang, China on March 28.
The First Lady also called on all Kenyans to maintain healthy lifestyles to improve their health.
“Healthy living helps push medical costs lower and also plays a huge role in maintaining happy families,” she said.
The First Lady said the Beyond Zero campaign has made tremendous strides in achieving its objectives but added that more funds are required to sustain the program.
“We are halfway through our journey, as we need to raise additional funds to purchase more clinics so that each of our 47 counties has a mobile clinic to service the healthcare needs of our mothers and children,” she said.
Donations totaling KSh46 million were presented to the First Lady at the Nyayo Stadium with the Commercial Bank of Africa donating Ksh 25 million.
Deputy President William Ruto presented a donation of Ksh 17 million. The Ministry of Health made a donation of KSh 3 million while Kakamega County made a donation of KSh 1 million.
Winners of the races were also presented with cash prizes with the winners of the 21 kilometer race receiving KSh750,000 each.
Moses Kosgei won the 21 kilometer prize for men with a time of 01:01.28 and Jepkurui Georgina was the women’s prize winner with a time of 01:32.56.
Samuel Kuria and Eunice Kuria won the wheelchair race while James Magerere and Jane Kerubo won the tricycle race. The 10 kilometer race was won by James Mwangi.
During the race, the First Lady was accompanied Kenyan athletics stars including 3000m steeple chase star Ezekiel Kemboi, former world marathon record holder Catherin Ndereba and former world half marathon champion Lonah Kiplagat.