The nature of the route and how many athletes get prizes should be reviewed if the Kigali International Peace Marathon is to attract more talent, according to international athletes.
The 15th edition of the Kigali International Peace Marathon took place Sunday, bringing together more than 3,000 participants. The marathon was also graced by Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame, top government officials and hundreds of ordinary people.
As expected, like previous years, the 2019 marathon was dominated by Kenya.
Kenyan elite athletes Tallam James and Eliud Cheptei, who took part, say the marathon route-mapping should be changed to suit standards set by International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).
“Having full marathon at 42,195 km (or 2 laps) is not a standard certified competitive distance, instead it should be I lap and the category is extended to suit the distance,” said the two in a statement.
The other issue that they have noted is that the prizes should be extended to at least the six best athletes in both the half and full marathon in order to attract and motivate athletes. With many available prizes, many teams or individuals will be eager to take part hoping to appear among the six prize recipients.
“This distribution of the prize awards should be allotted from US$5,000 downwards even to the best six…the criteria of taking care of only two athletes from each invited countries should be defined, [and] prizes should be allocated for local athletes even if one finished in the 50th position,” they said.
Organisers, including telecom giant MTN and the Ministry of Sports and Culture, provide upkeep for two athletes. However, there is concern that the criteria for selection of these athletes is not clear.
It is being suggested that the winners of the previous year should be granted automatic invitation as a motivation which will entice more acclaimed athletes to take part.
Kenya half marathon winner Elizabeth Rumokol who was crowned the champion in the Kigali half marathon believes more incentives need to be put in place for foreign athletes.
For example, she said free bus transport can be provided to foreign athletes so that they don’t get lost trying to find Amahoro national stadium, the venue for registration, to compete in the marathon.
Rwanda national athletics body president Fidele Mubiligi in response says the prize awards are set on the international standards for the best three.
“The best Rwandans were awarded on the grounds to motivate them for their performance,” he said.
As for the issue of route mapping, he said: “The issued will be taken into consideration.”
Meanwhile, this year’s marathon edition was a Kenyan affair with over 75 professional athletes from Kenya taking part.
Winners Half Marathon (21,098 km)
- Kiminine Shadrack (Kenya)
- Sane Mathew (Kenya)
- Chemjor Festus (Kenya)
- Muhitira Felicien (Rwanda)
- Mnangat Willy (Kenya)
- Chepchirchir Celestine (Kenya)
- Yankurije Marthe (Rwanda)
- Martha Akeno (Kenya)
- Chebet Norah (Kenya)
- Chesang Kakuli (Kenya)
Full Marathon (42,195km)
- Philip Kiplimo (Uganda)
- Tallam James (Kenya)
- Reuben Kemboi (Kenya)
- Hosea Kiprotich (Kenya)
- Jacson Limo (Kenya)
- Elizabeth Rumokol (Kenya)
- Beatrice Rutto (Kenya)
- Kariri Chepchirchir (Kenya)