The Star (Nairobi)

8 October 2013

Kenya: Kilel for London in April

Former Boston winner leads team of five runners sponsored by Kenya Airways to London Marathon

The 2011 Boston marathon winner Caroline Kilel will lead a team of five Kenya Airways sponsored athletes to the 2014 London Marathon.

The five were selected after the 2013 Kenya Airways Maasai Mara Marathon held over the weekend at Lemek Constituency in Narok.

Faith Jeruto will partner Kilel in the women's race while Leonard Kipkoech, Ezra Sang and home boy David Oloisan will run in the men's race.

Kilel won the 21km race 1:11:15 ahead of Jeruto (1:11:56), Lucy Liyavoga (1:12:20), Chepng'eno Langat (1:13:04) and Naomi Chepngeno (1:13:26).

Kipkoech won the men's race in 1:03:0 followed by Sang (1:03:53), Nicholas Kipkemboi (1:04:0), Bernard Kitur (1:04:20) and Henry Sang (1:04:21).

Kenya Airways marketing manager Chris Diaz revealed the sponsorship is in partnership with Born Free Foundation with the national carrier providing air tickets while the foundation will cater for accommodation and registration fees.

"We hope that this will be a motivation enough for the local runners as they will have a chance to take part in some of the international races going forward," said Diaz.

"We will follow up on the athletes, especially the non-elite, between now and April next year and see how we can help them prepare well."

"Tremendous growth has been witnessed in our marathon and we feel that by partnering with Athletics Kenya and Born Free Foundation, we will help in further development of young talented athletes,' added Diaz.

Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat hailed the airline for the move, observing that this will be a huge encouragement for the Kenyan athletes now and in the future.

"We are also going to work with Kenya Airways especially now that they have indicated their interest in sponsoring some of our major 10km, 15km and 21km races," said Kiplagat.

"I believe this will help in the spread of the sport in the grassroots and in tapping and promoting the sport."

Diaz revealed that they are in consultation with Athletics Kenya on how they can sell air tickets to local runners at a subsidized fee as a motivation.

"We are having a meeting on Thursday with AK and we hope much will be discussed in the development of the sport," said Diaz. "We have been doing so much for rugby and we hope that an agreement will be arrived at on the promotion and growth of athletics."

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