The fourth edition of the Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon will be held at the Meru National Polytechnic, Meru County, this Sunday 14th May 2017.
The race will bring together deaf athletes from all over the country, and will feature top names such as Beryl Wamira, Simon Kibai, and Daniel Kiptum, who will be back to defend their titles.
The annual event will include 21Km and 10Km races for both men and women, with the top three in the half marathon walking away with Ksh.75,000, Ksh.65,000 and Ksh.55,000. The winner, 1st and 2nd runners up in the 10Km race will bag Ksh.30,000, Ksh.20,000 and Ksh.10,000 respectively.
“This event has become very important in our athletics calendar, as it shows us the form our athletes are in before the season begins. Most of the expected participants are already in training, and we expect a fantastic show this weekend,” said Bernard Banja, Secretary General – Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya (DAAK).
“We will also use this race as an opportunity to scout for athletes who will participate in the National Deaf Athletics Championships slated for 23rd and 24th May 2017 in Uasin Gishu,” said Mr. Banja.
Title sponsor Safaricom returns to the race for the fourth year, matching last year’s Ksh.5 million sponsorship again this year. As the race has gained more prominence within the DAAK calendar, Safaricom has gradually increased its sponsorship from the Ksh.2 million support given in the race’s first year.
“Working with DAAK continues to reinforce the belief that our contribution is transforming the lives of our deaf athletes, who have proved time and again that they are forces to be reckoned with,” said Albert Mulei, Head of Regional Sales and Operations, Mt. Kenya – Safaricom.
“These athletes are shattering stereotypes and recording outstanding performances both locally and abroad, and we are committed to continuing our support through the Safaricom Athletics Series,” said Mr. Mulei.
In 2013, Kenya received a total of 17 medals during the 22nd Summer Deaflympics games held in Sofia, Bulgaria, placing the team 8th out of 72 countries that took part in the competition.
In June 2016, Triple World Deaflympics Champion Simon Kibai retained his title after clocking 13:59:02 in the men’s 5000m race at the National Deaf Track and Field Championships. A week before that Kibai had defended his title in the 21km Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon held in Bomet County, finishing in a time of 58:46:02.
The Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon is the first of 11 races under the 2017 edition of Safaricom Athletics Series.
The Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya (DAAK) is a non-profit making organization endowed with the noble responsibility of fully nurturing Kenyan Deaf athletes both men and women in the country.
DAAK participated at the 22nd World Deaf Athletics Championships in Sofia , Bulgaria from 27th July- 4th July that saw the athletes clinch 17 medals which include six gold, five silver and six bronze, placing the team in the 8th position globally out of 72 countries that took part in the competition and 1st in Africa.
About the Safaricom Athletics Series
The Safaricom Athletics Series was launched in 2013 and is the umbrella banner under which Safaricom manages all its athletics properties. Under the series, there are mixed portfolios of athletics events, which include Athletics Kenya-sponsored competitive races and community-based events.
Over the past two years Safaricom has expanded its athletics portfolio to include more races, as the company seeks to widen the scope of athletic talent that can be identified and nurtured through various sporting events. In 2014 Safaricom added the relay edition to the sponsorship basket and in 2015, the Series was expanded to include track and field events.
The Safaricom Athletics Series brings under one roof the Kisii Half Marathon, Iten Road race, the Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya (DAAK) events, Henry Wanyoike Hope For The Future Run, and the Mombasa International Marathon.
Others races in the series include: Ndalat Gaa Cross Country (Nandi) and the Kisumu City National Marathon.
Each year Safaricom invests tens of millions of shillings in various athletics events with the aim of transforming lives through sports, and has seen many young men and women discovered at these events rise to become celebrated athletic stars.