Route changes as MTN K’la Marathon returns

Wednesday October 16 2019

Street Warrior. Huawei Managing Director Liu

Street Warrior. Huawei Managing Director Liu Jiawei (C) shares a light moment with MTN’s Sen Somdev (R) after the 16th edition of the MTN Marathon was launched at Nyonyi Gardens in Kololo-Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY GEORGE KATONGOLE 

By GEORGE KATONGOLE

Organisers of the annual MTN Kampala Marathon have announced a number of changes and additional incentives to this year’s event. The changes are being introduced to make the marathon experience worthwhile, providing motivation and greater reliability.

According to national coach Paul Okello, who briefed Tuesday's press conference to unveil the 16th edition of the marathon, the 42 and 21km races will avoid the congested areas of Wandegeya and Entebbe Road. Okello said that most of the running will be done in the areas of Bugoloobi, Nakasero, Namuwongo, Kololo and Jinja Road. The longest loop will be repeated.

Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) official Lawrence Kavuma, who attended the launch at Nyonyi Gardens in Kololo supported the argument saying an unstable route has delayed the commissioning of the run into an international meet.

“The changing infrastructure in the city has limited our capacity and progress to get international certification of the run even though it remains the biggest in the country. Until we have a stable route, we cannot gain IAAF accreditation,” Kavuma said.

On top of the usual star attraction and the right to call it the biggest marathon of the year, the winner in next month’s Kampala Marathon will also bank a huge cheque. MTN acting Chief Marketing Manager Sen Somdev announced that up to Shs130m will be shared among the 39 winners.
This sum remains the same but the total prize fund increased to Shs180m. Joshua Chemutai won the 42-kilometre race to set a new record of 2:18.27 hours while Kenyan Lydia Wafula set the women’s best time to 2:44.59. Anyone who beats that record this year will get an additional Shs25m.

“The MTN Kampala Marathon is a major event not only to the elite athletes but also the community and our priority is to ensure that this is reflected in the prize fund. We have a long-term strategy to ensure it remains at the forefront and maintains its unique allure in sporting terms,” Somdev says.

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Proceeds from this year’s event will be used to improve maternal health at Health Centre IV facilities. Registration starts today.

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