Capital FM (Nairobi)

13 April 2014

Kenya: President Uhuru in London to Support First Lady

Photo: IAAF
Wilson Kipsang during the BMW Berlin Marathon in 2013.

London — President Uhuru Kenyatta has arrived in London to support the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta in her historic inaugural London Marathon. The plane carrying the President and his entourage touched down at London's Heathrow Airport shortly after 2pm local time on Saturday.

On arrival, the President was received by British officials and the Kenyan High Commissioner to the UK, Ephraim Ngare. Some 35,000 runners will run past some of London's most iconic sites in the 34th edition of one of the globe's fabled events.

It is the first time a First Lady has run a marathon anywhere on the globe to support their causes. Mrs Kenyatta will run to raise funds for maternal health care as well as preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

On Saturday, the First Lady said she was ready for the London Marathon: "We have spent months preparing for this race and we are ready and in high spirits."

"We have come quite far with this and our focus is to raise enough money to buy the mobile clinics for all countries as well as ensuring that there is a sustainability fund and plan," the First Lady added.

President Kenyatta is expected to line up at the finishing line on The Mall, down the straight from Buckingham Palace, and next to Clarence House - the London home of Heir to the Throne Prince Charles - and Marlborough House, headquarters of the 53-member Commonwealth Secretariat.

As the First Lady approaches The Mall, she will run past Lancaster House, where many of the post-independence era constitutions were negotiated.

The earliest race which will involve men and women wheelchair racers.

Next to go will be the Paralympic athletes competing in the IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup before they are followed out by the elite women at an interval of 15 minutes.

At 10am there will be the mass start with the elite men leading the rest of the field of amateur and fun runners who raise huge sums of cash for worthy causes.

The London Marathon course is relatively flat and fast. It starts in Blackheath, heads east through Charlton and Woolwich for three miles, turns west to pass through Greenwich and round the Cutty Sark ship between six and seven miles.

The marathon then crosses the River Thames at Tower Bridge just before halfway then loops around east end of London, through Mudchute and Docklands, before heading west again along The Highway and Victoria Embankment to Parliament square, Birdcage Walk and the final corner in front of Buckingham Palace.

Kenyans are keenly following the events unfolding in London Marathon considering that apart from the First Lady and her team who are running to raise funds to support women and children access better healthcare, there are also several Kenyan elite athletes participating in the race who are expected to raise the national flag high.

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