Nairobi — Organizers of the Baringo Half Marathon have confirmed that two Ethiopian athletes will be invited for this year's edition which is set to be held on November 4, as part of their collaboration with the Great Ethiopian Run.
Simon Chebon, who is one of the organizers of the annual 21km showpiece, also hinted that 2016 Paris Marathon champion Visiline Jepkesho who is a past winner of the event might be coming in for this year's edition.
"We have been partnering with the Great Ethiopian Run but we stopped for the last like two years. We will resume and they have confirmed they will send two athletes and one manager and in turn we will also send two athletes and a manager for their run which will be on November 26," Chebon told Capital Sport.
He also added that Jepkesho will confirm her participation once she knows whether or not she will compete in the November 4 New York Marathon.
The organizers meanwhile have disclosed they will be changing the route for this year's showpiece which will mark 15 years since the first race, organized by former Marathon World Record Holder Paul Tergat and his foundation.
"The technical team has advised that we chose a different route since the one we have been using is currently not tenable for both athletes and spectators. We have been starting from Kabartonjo but this year owing to the state of that course, we will change," Chebon said.
"We will be using the Kabarnet-Sacho-Tenges road and we will start near Timboiywo, a town that is approximately 18km away from Kabarnet," He added.
Chebon also noted that a 10km run on the same course and a 6km fun race for kids within Kabarnet town has been added to this year's event.
The organizers received a shot in the arm with gaming company Lotto pumping in Sh5mn sponsorship, moving up from their Sh4mn sponsorship last season.
"We are pleased to partner with such noble events because as a company our ambition is to help grow sports in the country. Not only the Baringo Half Marathon but we are also looking to venture into new ways of seeing sports grow and among the items we are deliberating on is rehabilitation of infrastructure because we have noticed this is an area of concern," Lotto Foundation chairman Brian Walucho said.
The launch was also graced by Baring Governor Stanley Kiptis who has vowed to give more support to sports in the county; one he says is rich in sporting talent.
"I am very pleased when such partners come on board and it is one of the things we want to do as a county because there is so much talent. We have an example in Mary Keitany who will be running in New York, she is from our own county. How many more can we get? We want to have many more of such noble events and this will help us grow" Kiptis posed.
The Governor, speaking to Capital Sports on the sidelines of the event also hinted he will be looking to pump up the financial allocation for sports in his county during the supplementary budget in January to add on to the meager Sh6mn allocated during the last budget reading.
"To be honest, Sh6mn is very little money. I want us to add on to something close to Sh20mn so that we can fully maximize on the sporting talent. We have four training camps around our county and we want to see whether we can equip them with modern training facilities," the Governor revealed.
He has also hinted that he wants to engage apparel company Nike, sponsors of three-time New York Marathon Champion Mary Keitany to partner in constructing a new modern stadium in the county.
"I have talked to Keitany and her coach and I already have a proposal for Nike to look into ways they can help us because we need to stadia in the county. We already have one in Kabarnet which is almost complete but we also want to put up one in Eldama Ravine," the Governor said.