World marathon record holder Patrick Makau and multiple Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi are among renown athletes who will grace the United Nation's Environmental Programme half marathon set for February 24 at the UNEP headquarters in Gigiri.
The race is organised by UNEP in conjunction with Paul Tergat Foundation to celebrate the universal membership of the UNEP where Nairobi has been named the 'Enviromental Capital' since it's home to the UNEP headquarters.
The event will comprise of a 21-km race and a 7.5km fun race whose registration, which kicked off yesterday, is free.
Makau will grace the event by virtue of being a UNEP Clean Air Campaigns patron and will be joined by other marathon greats including Paul Tergat, Douglas Wakiihuri, Tegla Loroupe and Cathrine Ndereba.
UNEP director of communication, Nick Nutall, said apart from celebrating the universal membership, the event will also focus on fostering peaceful co-existence among Kenya's ahead of the historic general elections set for March 4.
Tergat, a former five-time world cross country champion, said the event offers a launching pad for young people who want to take a career in athletics.
"The event provides an opportunity for young people to run, not only for the prize money, but for a worthy cause," said Tergat.
"Each one of us, especially the athletes, need a clean environment to run in." He prevailed upon corporate companies to join hands in supporting the initiative.
He also urged all Kenyans, especially the leaders, to preach peace and embrace the spirit of sportsmanship where a loser rises to congratulate the winner.
Former road running queen, Tegla Loroupe, a United Nations Ambassador for Sports hailed UNEP for the initiative which she said will go a long way in making Kenya a better country through environmental cleaning and promoting peace.
"I see politicians rise to the podium making their promises but no one is talking about the environment," said Loroupe. She urged Kenyans to take advantage of the event in upholding peace before during and after the March 4 general elections.
"We nee peace, not by the word of the mouth, but by actions," she said. "Lets us remain vigilant as we head to the elections and ensure that we do it consciously," added former world marathon champion and Olympic silver medallist Catherine Ndereba.
Winner of the 21km race will pocket Sh150,000, runners up Sh100,000, second runners up Sh75,000 and which will trickle down to the tenth finisher. There will also be cash awards for winners of the various age group categories as well as school teams.