Big entry, cleaner air at Nairobi marathon
As of Wednesday morning, over 8,800 people had registered for the second edition of the Nairobi City Marathon set for Sunday across the Nairobi Expressway. This number far surpasses those who registered for the first edition of a one-of-a-kind competition that was held on May 8 last year. From the perspective of the Local Organising Committee, what this bumper entry signifies is a stamp of approval for this road race, which seeks to become a World Marathon Majors event in the long term. With the deadline for registration set for Saturday midnight, it is not far-fetched to expect the race to attract tens of thousands of runners from across the globe. As with the case for any other sports event held by Athletics Kenya (AK), this year's edition of the marathon has undergone a few changes here and there to provide all those involved with a memorable experience that is free of any negative incidences. One of the key things all athletes will experience on Sunday while on the course is improved air quality that allows them to get the best out of their physical and mental fitness. Athletics Kenya has worked tirelessly towards improving air quality across the country and around areas where athletes train and ply their craft. Courtesy of collaborations with World Athletics and experts from the Stockholm Environment Institute, we have installed air quality monitors in different areas around the country to monitor certain issues, such as particulate matter in the atmosphere (e.g. dust). For the Nairobi City Marathon, we have installed nine air quality monitors across the Nairobi Expressway. Installed two weeks ago, these monitors have provided vital data to ensure that the course on which our athletes will be running is not of poor air quality, which may cause short and long-term harmful effects. Sticking to matters environment, organisers of the marathon also plan to plant approximately 15,000 trees beginning from the entrance to the Expressway, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Sports has a crucial role to play in the fight against climate change and its consequences and as a federation, we are committed to leveraging on the power of athletics to actualise this agenda. Therefore, participants running at the race are welcome to be a part of a noble exercise that ensures the sustainability of Kenya's natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Being the first edition, last year's marathon was bound to expose a few rough edges in terms of logistics as well as the course. This edges have been smoothened this time round and so all runners should expect seamless organisation beginning from the start to the finish of the course. Of course, it wouldn't be a carnival day without entertainment for all categories of participants. There will be music, food and a chance to socialise with one another as Nairobians as well as Kenyans and all international visitors. Enjoy!