More than 8000 athletes are expected to take part in the Kigali International Peace Marathon, according to Jean-Pierre Ndacyayisenga, the technical director of the Rwanda Athletics Federation (RAF).
The 14th edition of the annual race is scheduled for May 20.
Unlike previous editions where registration portals were open weeks before the event, RAF started registration a month earlier this time round, and over eight thousand people, including amateurs and professionals, will take part in the multi-category races.
Last year, the one-day event attracted over 6,000 participants under three categories – full marathon (42km), half marathon (21km) and run for fun (7km).
“Our goal at RAF is to ensure the Peace Marathon keeps getting bigger and better. This year’s edition will enjoy a 30% increase in terms of participants, also more countries will be represented than any other previous edition,” Ndacyayisenga told Times Sport yesterday.
The budget for this year’s edition has also increased to Rwf120m from Rwf90m last year. However, despite an increase in total budget, prize will remain the same as last year’s with the gold winners in both men and women categories walk away with Rwf2m, while silver winners will pocket Rwf1.5m, whereas bronze winners will take Rwf1.2m.
The half-marathon race will start from Amahoro National Stadium via Chez Lando, Gishushu, MTN Centre Nyarutarama, Gacuriro and back to Gishushu, then Parliament, Umubano Hotel and then to Gishushu, Kisementi, University of Rwanda (former KIE), Contrôle Technique, SportsView Hotel and back to Amahoro Stadium, while the 42km-marathon race will run twice this course.
The 10km Run for Peace will start from Amahoro Stadium via University of Rwanda (former KIE), Contrôle Technique, SportsView Hotel and then back to the stadium. There will be no prize for this category.
Sensational Salome Nyirarukundo is the sole Rwandan athlete to have ever won women’s half-marathon, last year. The event has been notably dominated by Kenyans in both men and women categories.
RAF, MINISPOC launch preparations course today
In the meantime, the local athletics governing body and the Ministry of Sports and Culture (MINISPOC) will officially launch the registration and highlight the progress made in preparations, a ceremony that will take place at Kigali Cultural Village this afternoon at 4pm.
During the ceremony, there will unveil the roadmap of preparations and registration for local, regional and international participants, as well as courses of the three categories of competitions, run for fun, half-marathon and full-marathon races.
Since 2004, RAF has been organising the Kigali International Peace Marathon.
It started as a way to use sports in the healing and reconciliation process in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Today, the event has grown to become one of the most respected annual athletics event in the region and the continent.