November 20 is the day when this year’s KASS Marathon will take place in Eldoret, a city in Western Kenya. Unlike the big 5 marathons of the world held at London, Chicago, Berlin, NY and Boston, this one is set in an environment that further stresses the body of participants. Let’s find out more about the upcoming race.
Not an easy race
The race starts at the Kapsabet Boys High School in an easy note at first but things become more difficult as they advance down the course. This marathon’s course definitely stands out through its bumpy hills and bends.
Mike Kosgei, the former national head coach, says that hills at high altitudes are harder to surpass than hills at low altitudes. It is common knowledge that high altitudes pose additional strain on the human body thus requiring you to further stretch your ability to adapt to new environments.
The hills are covered in light bushes and open grasslands. The 42-km course has 11 bends, out of which a few are notable: the Namkoi Junction, Chepterir, the Chebarbar uphill, Kosirai and the steep slope near Mosoriot.
The organizers have set a special theme for the race: “run for your health and be a champion of your health as you run with the champions.” The CEO of the KASS Media Group announced that the purpose of this marathon is to allow young athletes to discover their talents and pursue their passion.
Running in local marathons is a stepping stone for many great athletes who end up winning world class competitions such as the Olympic games. More and more companies begin to understand the importance of investing in our youth. Several corporations showed support for this marathon by funding it with a total of Sh11.5 million.
However, the title rights for this event remain with the local radio broadcasting station, KASS Media, after which the race was named. They have actually provided Sh3 million to make the race possible. Other important investors are Amaco insurance (Sh2.5 milllion), the Trans-national bank (Sh3), Safaricom (Sh 500,000) and Skyward Express (Sh500,000).
Participants had to register to one of the KASS Media offices and Trans-national bank offices in Rift Valley. A registration fee must be paid in order to validate your participation: Sh500. The race usually attracts around 100,000 spectators ever since 2007 when the first edition of the KASS Marathon was organized.
The 2015 winners
Albert Korir and Valery Jemeli won the marathon last year and decided to defend their titles by running on November 20. They have recently confirmed their participation. Last year’s race was a bit tough on our runners because of the windy conditions, but this hasn’t stopped Korir and Jemeli from getting to the finish line as quickly as possible.
Korir is a young man born in 1994 with a personal best of 1:09:13 in a half marathon at Kigali (2014) and 2:10:08 in a full marathon at Barcelona (2016). Jemeli is a young woman born in 1991, featuring a personal best of 1:09:33 in a half marathon at Zwolle (2016) and 2:25:26 in a full marathon at Barcelona (2016).