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***** Location: Nairobi, Kenya
***** Season: Start of Short Rains
***** Category: Humanity


The Nairobi Marathon takes place on the last Sunday of October each year and provides much entertainment to the athletes, the adventurous, the organisers, supporters and onlookers, the charities benefiting from sponsorship, as well as those simply out to enjoy themselves for a day. It also provides a certain amount of headache for travellers and church goers, as many of the roads are barred for a major part of the day, making it more difficult to reach one’s destination in good time.

There are now many categories, each for women and men : the 42 km marathon, the 21 km half-marathon, a 10 km race, a wheelchair race, and more.

Kenyans are great long-distance runners, and even though international level competition is not yet high in the Nairobi Marathon, this is a place where new talent is discovered and where those who are not yet professional athletes may find themselves heading in that direction.

Isabelle Prondzynski


They're long. Tough. Challenging. Inspiring. Satisfying. And strangely addictive. For the past three years, Kenyans of all ages and abilities have been introduced to the unique joy of running through The Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon. With full, half, 10kms and Family Fun Run events, people running in teams and costumes for charities and for themselves, why not come down to the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday 29 October, 2006 and discover that feeling for yourself?




Huge crowd turns up for the big race

Publication Date: 30 October 2006

Donning their best sporting gear, thousands of runners, many aiming at confronting personal challenges, flocked the streets for this year's Nairobi Standard Chartered Marathon.

They were there too, the Zangalewa Troupe, busy taking the young ones through their warm-up programme at the Upper Hill Road, the official starting point for the 5 kilometre children fun race.
Down the Lang'ata Road were the 10Km runners.

At the Aerodrome Road was a huge group of men and women ready to challenge the course in the 21Km race while the toughest men were opposite the Nakumatt Mega branch for the 42Km race.

The gunshot
Sports minister Maina Kamanda, his assistant Joel Onyancha and the Nation Media Group chairman Hanninghton Awori were at hand to flag off the athletes. And at exactly 7:45am, it was everybody for himself and God for them all at the sound of the gunshot.

Of course the remaining crowd was there to do what they know best, cheer. The 30,000 seater Nyayo stadium was half full while many kept at the road side to catch a glimpse of the action.

With no risk of being knocked off the road by a speeding car, courtesy of the good work the police had done, it was the best foot forward for every runner.

Back to the stadium, fans were kept busy with a live band from Thika School for the Blind, yes the blind because the theme of the marathon was; Seeing is believing. And when they had finished their act, they ushered in the Administration Police band to take over.

And before the whole crowd had settled down in the stadium, 10 km winner Samson Gichuki was through, having taken 28 minutes. Philimon Gitia (21km) followed then Hosea Kiprotich Rotich.


Thousands turn up to grace Nairobi international race
By Chris Mbaisi, 2006

They came in their numbers and painted the city blue. As early as 5.30am the city, specifically the Nyayo National Stadium was overflowing with humanity.

They were all here for a mission as once again Standard Chartered Bank Nairobi International Marathon had united the world. They came from as far as Botwana, Denmark, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Age was not a problem here. Even those as young as five, had their place in the Nairobi Marathon, which marked its fourth year yesterday.

For the elite runners, 42km full marathon and 21km half marathon were the races of choice. The 10km catered for the so-called keep fit lot while the joggers, starters and families had their fun in the 5km.

And when the moment of reckoning came, it was time to harvest what one had invested in training. There was agony and ecstasy in each step. Nerves were tested beyond limits as elite runners suffered like warriors in over two hours of battle. They breathed hard on the shoulders of their opponents with their heads buried in sweat.

They could hear their names being called out but their heads proved a heavy load to lift; they just waved. They were all alone locked in a solitary duel between mind and body.

Further back, the joggers’ most of them office workers from the corporate world and school children competed against all odds. They endured hours upon hours of endurance and isolation. Courageously, they pursued the unimaginable goal of running the ‘killer’ 42 kilometres and 21km race. For them, it was not about the victory, not even the money but the satisfaction of completing a full marathon.

Close to 20 Samburu warriors donning red shukas stood out in the crowd. They were running under the Ol Malo Trust team with the sole aim of raising awareness in the Ol Malo Eye project.

At Nyayo Stadium, there were wild cheers as the full marathon winners Hosea Kiprop (men) and Irene Chertutich (women) crossed the line.

As the winners leaped across the finish, it was the turn of pressmen (local and foreign) to jostle for interviews as photojournalists took positions to click their cameras away.

Meanwhile, Philemon Gate won the half marathon after posting 1hrs one minutes and 25 seconds. Moses Kororia was second in 1:01:52 while David Rutto came third after returning 1:01:52.

Beatrice Rutto took the honours in the women’s category after returning 1:10:52. Anne Cheptanui (1:12:36) and Agnes Cherop (1:12:36) took the second and third positions.

Pic by Jacob Otieno

Kiprop Rotich and Irene Cherutich lift their trophies after they won the men’s and women’s races respectively during the Standard Chartered Nairobi International Marathon yesterday. They also pocketed Sh1.5 million each.

Worldwide use

Marathons are run in many of the major cities of the world and can be kigo for the relevant season in each. The most famous marathon must surely be that of New York, which this year (2006) was run exactly one week after the Nairobi Marathon.

Kenyan runners are among the leaders in the marathons all over the world -- the Olympic and World champions running in the biggest ones (New York, London, etc) and the newcomers testing themselves elsewhere, including in Nairobi. It is usual that, among the first six places in a marathon, particularly in the male category, three or more are taken by Kenyans.

Kenyan children run huge distances on their way to and from school each day -- and there are well-known primary and secondary schools in the Highlands of Kenya, where future athletes receive excellent training.

Isabelle Prondzynski



In regards to Marathon, in Canada we run mini or half marathons as well as full marathons and the races are both professional and amateur races with many training for the first time in their lifes, usually to raise money. To me, any type of marathon speaks to endurance. While there are winners, just to cross the finish line can be an accomplishment.

A relative of mine recently announced she was foregoing birthday presents and would we please instead, sponsor her in a race to raise money for the poor of her community.

late September--
at forty, running
her first marathon

Carole MacRury

Things found on the way

Haiku Marathon

Haiku I

Forced words in pattern
Beginner's try at Haiku,
Please make allowance

Neeraja Balakrishnan


Marathon day --
all along the barriers
we walk to church

Marathon day --
the girl in the red T-shirt
falls asleep in church

Marathon day --
even the sermon runs
on and on

Isabelle Prondzynski, Kenya 2006


marathon -
his speed qualifies him for
another marathon

Bill Kenney


it is run till
the last breath

tireless sun
i count days

mountain to sea:
only downhill

vishnu p kapoor, India


In Sri Auro Ashram
they run through roads lanes gardens
Mini Marathon.

© Aju Mukhopadhyay, 2006


week-end so short
the boy-friend ran away -

Pia von Prondzynski

Related words

***** Special Olympics, Paralympics
non-seasonal topic for haiku


Special Olympics, Paralympics
International Paralympics Committee

Special Olympics--
the rosy-cheeked smile
of the last skier

Carole MacRury


a one-legged marathon runner crosses the line

WHC marlene mountain - 'connections'

Please send your contributions to
Gabi Greve / Isabelle Prondzynski
worldkigo .....

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