Meru Governor H.E. Kiraitu Murungi on Tuesday officially launched the Mt. Kenya Mountain Running Championship, scheduled to take place in February 2020.
Under the theme ‘Challenging the Heights’, the race will be the first of its kind in Kenya and will hopefully attract runners from around the globe, therefore promoting the county as a tourism, investment and sports hotspot.
Mt. Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest in Africa, and with 40% of the mountain being in Meru, the county government is hoping to leverage on this and bring more tourists to the county.
Speaking during the launch at the Kenya School of Adventure and Leadership, the governor said that the race presents a new window to showcase Mt. Kenya’s full potential.
The governor confirmed that the route had been vetted to ensure that it meets the international standards of 2800m above sea level for a mountain run.
“There will be the Elites 12km run with a cash prize of Ksh 500,000, there will also be a race called ‘keep the doctor away’ a 2km run for both men and women,” Governor Murungi said.
“There is definitely something for everyone, regardless of age or where one comes from,” he added.
Through the race, the county is hoping to attract more tourists to the region, boost local economy as well as support the fight against cancer, where Meru is among the leading counties in cancer cases in Kenya.
The proceeds from the marathon will go into establishments of Meru Cancer Institute at Meru level 5 hospital – for research, awareness creation, support of cancer patients and promoting preventive measures.
Mountain running is a combination of running, jogging and walking depending on how steep the trail is. It is recognized by the international association of athletics federations and is governed by the world mountain running association that has been organizing world championships since 1985.