Standard Chartered has announced the launch of its annual Nairobi Marathon with the date set for 31st October 2021.
The marathon, which has previously been fully physical will now adopt a hybrid format that includes both physical and virtual participation.
The marathon makes a comeback this year after it was cancelled in 2020 due to unprecedented challenges brought about by COVID-19 and the containment measures required. The newly adopted hybrid format will combine the traditional mass participation physical race for elite runners only with a virtual option for the rest of the participants.
The physical marathon restricted to 2,500 local and international elite athletes will be held on the Southern Bypass with Carnivore Grounds as the marathon venue. With a great view of Nairobi National Park along the bypass, this year’s Marathon will be a great showcase of our city and its potential in the tourism sector.
The virtual marathon will be targeting 13,500 participants to encourage active lifestyles among participants will be done between the 25th – 31st of October 2021.
The newly adopted hybrid format will combine the traditional mass participation physical race for elite runners only with a virtual option for the rest of the participants.
To participate, entrants will be required to check the SCNM website on the registration portal and pay a standard fee of KES 1,000. Optional donations to the Future Makers initiative are encouraged by clicking the donations buttons on the registration portal on the marathon website.
Speaking during the launch, Kariuki Ngari, CEO Standard Chartered said, “Upon cancellation of the marathon last year, we took time to engage with a couple of stakeholders and gained some useful insights for future marathons. One of the key things that came up was the adoption of virtual marathons and the emergence of virtual running communities across the world. This has been reflected in our hybrid marathon this year which will allow for virtual participation. We have also considered key issues such as safety and have consequently set up measures to ensure Covid safety protocols are observed during the marathon.’’
‘’Last year, a number of elite runners were affected due to the cancellation and we stepped up to offer financial and educational support through the KipKeino Foundation. We look forward to seeing many of them participate in this year’s marathon and we will keep working towards ensuring our athletes are well equipped to perform well in a number of areas, including financial management. Additionally, the funds collected will be instrumental in driving our Futuremakers initiative which provides youth in need with education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. In 2019, these fundraising efforts supported over 4,400 girls with life skills and economic opportunity training and the bank also invested KES 15 million to support women-led start-ups. Additionally, more than 650 youth and SMEs received financial literacy training. We are grateful for the support received for the past 17 years from participants, volunteers and partners and we look forward to running together for a worthy cause.’’ he concluded
The races for the day will include 10 Kilometers, 21 kilometers, 42 kilometers and the 42 kilometers relay. The first race of the day will be done at 7:00am.
Commenting during the launch, Athletics Kenya Chairman Rtd Gen. Jackson Tuwei said, “This is an opportune moment for athletes to come and prove themselves in the marathon. Last year was a difficult year for athletes and this year, together with various stakeholders, we are planning every event with the athlete’s welfare in mind. The long-standing relationship with Standard Chartered Bank has been fruitful in nurturing the next champions in road races and we believe this race is a launching pad for many budding athletes in the region.”
He added, “Elite athletes will be selected based on their timings from 2019 since majority of them were not able to compete in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For men, this will be between 2 hours 7 minutes to 2 hours 20 minutes while for women, will be between 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours all for a full marathon.”
The elite athletes will be selected from the Athletics Kenya database, training camps, previous SCNM edition database and previous marathons in the country. For the international elite marathoners, Athletics Kenya will reach out to respective athletics federations around the world to participate in the event for the (10Kms, 21kms and 42kms) categories.
To be selected among the 13,500 virtual participants, one will be required to download the Strava app. Then he/she will be required to sign up for the challenge (Either 5Kms, 10km, 21kms, 42kms or 42kms relay). Once completion of the challenge, they will be issued with a reward which may include Strava virtual badges, slots for physical warm up races, Strava premium subscription for a year, shopping vouchers and LFC merchandize.
There will also be warm up races to the main marathon which will include a limited number of SCNM community to practice together. These sessions will be conducted by seasonal trainers and coaches and will be held at Sanctuary, Karura, Ololua and Arboretum. Participation for the warm-up races will be determined by best performing athletes on the Strava challenges.