CLOSE to 2000 runners are expected for the 2014 edition of the MTN Kigali Peace marathon that will be flagged off today at 7.00am at Amahoro stadium in Remera.
Athletes from around the world will participate in the tenth edition of the event, under the theme: ‘In the new world, we run together.’
The biggest sporting event on the country’s sporting calendar has attracted elite athletes from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea with Kenya having the biggest entry of star athletes.
The Kigali Peace Marathon began with the idea that sport could be a way of building peace and reconciliation in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Proceeds from this year’s participant registration fees will go to the Demobilization Commission to support the rehabilitation of the former fighters.
Rwanda Athletics Federation (RAF) told Sunday Sport yesterday that by press time 1962 runners had been registered for the event, but the number could have risen later in the evening as registration was still on-going at Amahoro stadium.
The federation’s Technical Director Jean Pierre Ndacyayisenga said, “We expect a successful marathon race. There will be stiff challenge for honours as international elite athletes from Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda among others arrived in the country on Friday night ready to battle for a share of the prize money.”
“Rwanda will also be represented by a team of elite runners. This is also a platform to challenge international runners for prizes. We believe they will stage better performances compared to last year’s edition,” added Ndacyayisenga.
The full marathon will be contended by 252 runners while 720 are set to battle for the half marathon honours. 990 runners are registered in the family Run for fun category with only four set to compete in the wheelchair race.
With top marathon runner Jean Pierre Mvuyekure not competing as he focuses on Glasgow Commonwealth Games’ marathon, APR’s John Kabyemera and Frederic Habamurama in men’s category are the only local runners set to run the 42km event.
Fifteen male runners led by Alexis Nizeyimana, Eric Sebahire and Godfrey Rutayisire will take part in the half marathon while Claudette Mukasakindi has returned from Italy to lead Rwanda’s quest for medals in the women category alongside two-time Olympian Epiphanie Nyirabarame, Pelagie Usengimana, Media Nyirarangwa and Vivine Niragire.
Last year’s winners; Kenyan trio of Barnabas Kipyego, Julius Kipkorir and Limo Peter Kibet are all set for the full marathon alongside fellow countrymen Alex Melly and Yatich Lawrence Kemboi
In the women category, defending champion Faye Mosjsa Dabele is also on the list of registered athletes. She is accompanied by last year’s silver-medalist Ayam Tigist Teshome from Ethiopia.
Marathon winners will pocket Rwf. 1.2m, 1m, Rwf. 800,000, Rwf. 600,000, Rwf. 500,000 and Rwf 400,000 respectively.
Half marathon winners will earn Rwf. 800,000, Rwf. 600,000, Rwf. 500,000, Rwf. 400,000, Rwf. 300,000 and Rwf. 250,000.The prizes are based on the international standard recommended by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).
This year’s marathon is sponsored by MTN Rwanda to a tune of Rwf 53 million. Other sponsors include; World Vision, Inyange, Iaaf, Kanombe Military Hospital and the Ministry of Sports and Culture.