15 October 2013

Kenya: Athlete Dies in Race

AN athlete died on Sunday during the Kimbilio Marathon organised by Living Room International at Chebaywo village in Uasin Gishu County.

Geoffrey Tarno, who hails from Chepsaita village in Nandi County, fainted after leading for the better part of the race.

Tarno, 30, a father of four, was leading pack of 10 athletes before breaking away. He then led until the last 2km when he collapsed and died before reaching hospital. Living Room International, managing director, Joel Sawe said the athlete fainted and he was immediately picked up by an ambulance that was trailing the runners.

Sawe said efforts to resuscitate the athlete failed as he died while undergoing treatment. His body is still lying at Kimbilia Funeral Home. His immediate family has since been informed although the cause of his death is yet to be established until after the post-mortem results are released. The matter was reported to Tarbo Police Station.

Athletics Kenya (AK) Central Rift chairman, Abraham Mutai, ordered the organiser (Keino Sports) to give the full report of the event.

He said as much as the race was licensed by AK, they want to establish if there was enough water, ambulances and all that pertains to marathon organisation. "We just want to know if there was negligence or it was just an unfortunate incident," he said.

"I have given the race organiser up to tomorrow morning (today) to furnish us with the full report on what transpired. We are taking this matter very seriously," said Mutai.

He said they are working with AK commission for road and mountain running which is headed by Moses Tanui. "The report will be send to the commission for road running and AK Central Rift branch after which we will begin our independent investigation," Mutai noted.

Keino Sports Marketing director, Martin Keino, said the race was well organised and everything was in place for the big day on Sunday. He said there were over 2,000 bottles of water along the route and three ambulances. Besides, he said Kimbilio Hospital was at the venue for the race and the route was good though challenging as it included uphills, long down hills and flats.

Keino also said all the athletes had signed registration form accepting liabilities just in case of anything. "All the athletes signed a form absolving the organiser from any liability incase of an incident," Keino added.

He said many young athletes are looking for opportunities in races and some do not train well enough to handle such distances. "We are, however, waiting for postmortem results to ascertain the cause of his death," he added. Tarno was a member of Kibiswet Athletics Club in Eldoret and his coach James Seurei said he had been running for the last four years. He said Tarno was a marathoner and participated at the 2009 Kass Marathon though he didn't finish. "He was fit for the race and had trained well for Kimbilio Marathon hence was physically okay," Seurei said.

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