The 15the edition of the Kigali International Peace Marathon has attracted over 10,000 participants in both the amateur and elite categories.
Among the elite athletes to watch out for, is Kenya’s Eliud Cheptei the long-distance runner who won last year’s MTN-Marathon in Uganda.
“I am here to compete for the second time since 2015 because of the attractive prize money. I don’t expect any competition from athletes from other countries except my fellow Kenyans,” he said.
Rwanda will be represented by Martha Yankurije and Adeline Musabyeyezu in the half marathon in the women’s category but won’t have a representative in the full marathon.
Noel Hitimana, Felicien Muhitira, Yves Nimubona, Potien Ntawuyirushintege, Christophe Tuyishimire and John Hakizimana will lead Rwanda’s charge in half marathon category while Alexis Nizeyimana, Felix Ntirenganya, Enock Ndagijimana, Frederick and Gilbert Dushimirimana will take part in the full marathon.
Rwandan athletes dominated the half marathon races at the 2018 Kigali International Peace Marathon with Salome Nyirarukundo and Noel Hitimana winning gold medals in the women and men half marathon categories, respectively.
More than 80 Kenyans comprising of mostly upcoming athletes who have taken part in elite races around the world are in Rwanda for this year’s marathon.
Rwanda Athletics Federation president, Fidele Mubilig has admitted that the competition is stiff because of elite runners taking part in the arce. We invited athletes from Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, DR Congo, Tz, Ethiopia, Burundi and Congo Brazzaville.
“We don’t have hope in the full marathon because our athletes have not proved in the standard long-distance qualification time. This is the reason why our athletes like European based Felicien Muhitira and Noel Hitimana will be focusing on the men’s half marathon,” said.
He, however, noted that to motivate local athletes they have raised the prize money for local athletes.
The top winners will be tested for anti-doping drugs according to organizers.
“The tests will be carried out immediately after the marathon by local doctors and the samples will be transferred that day to the approved World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya to be analyzed,” Athletics Federation president said.
The program by RAF is to preserve the integrity of the Kigali International Peace Marathon in response to awareness that doping is prohibited.
In 2016, the Regional Anti-Doping Organization (RADO), slapped a 4-year ban on Rwandan Olympian Robert Kajuga for dodging a doping test.
The 34-year-old athlete represented Rwanda in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 Summer Olympic in London where he finished 14th.