Kenya hosts inaugural Nairobi City Marathon on Chinese-built expressway

By David Ochieng Mbewa

Kenya on Sunday kicked off its quest to market the capital Nairobi as a destination for one of the greatest marathons in the world by staging the inaugural Nairobi City Marathon.

The marathon was staged alongside other side events and run mostly on the newly Chinese-built Nairobi Expressway, constructed by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).

Runners participate in the Nairobi City Marathon in Nairobi, Kenya, May 8, 2022. /Xinhua

The event attracted more than 10,000 participants in the four categories of 42-km marathon, 21-Km half marathon, 10-km race and 5-km fun race.

Kenya’s Brimin Misoi emerged the winner in the men’s marathon clocking a time of 2:08:30 ahead of compatriots Richard Rop (2:09:17) and Daniel Kosgei (2:10:15).

In the women’s race, Agnes Barsosio led a Kenyan 1-2-3 winning the event in 2:24:45 followed by Shyline Jepkorir (2:29:04) and Sharon Jemutai (2:29:37).

Brimin Misoi, the marathon winner, crosses the finish line during the Nairobi City Marathon in Nairobi, Kenya, May 8, 2022. /Xinhua

Misoi and Barsosio each bagged $60,000 (Sh6 million) in prize money for their victories in the largest road race in Africa.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who flagged off the event, dubbed Uhuru Classic, at the Nyayo National Stadium, said the country was building itself towards becoming a global sporting host.

“It is a very proud moment, not just for myself but for Kenya, as e celebrate and cheer all of you, each and every one of you, young and old, who have participated in this first edition of the Nairobi City Marathon, and I believe this is the beginning of putting Kenya, and our great city of Nairobi, on the international map as a destination for the greatest marathons globally,” Kenyatta said.

“This is on the back of the infrastructure that we have put together.”

Runners pose for photos while participating in the Nairobi City Marathon in Nairobi, Kenya, May 8, 2022. /Xinhua

The marathon was also an opportunity for members of the public to get a taste of the 27km-long expressway.

“Wow! It was interesting! It was exciting! Running on top of the expressway was a plus. Being flagged off by the First Lady…our run was flagged off by the First Lady…it was a truly awesome experience,” Mercy Leting, a participant in the marathon told CGTN.

President Kenyatta later said that the expressway will be opened to motorists on a trial basis on May 14 ahead of the official launch.

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