Athletes from the six EAC countries will take part
All is set for the second edition of the Afrika Mashiriki half Marathon in which Kenya's first lady Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta will flag-off at the Kololo ceremonial grounds in Kampala this weekend.
On Sunday, the half marathon in honor of the founders of the East African Community (EAC) is expected to attract athletes from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Zambia, according to the organizers.
"Athletes from the six EAC countries will take part in this half marathon. We also have a confirmation that athletes from Ethiopia and Zambia will join the run", Richard Baguma Tinkasimire, the Chairman organizing committee told New Vision in an interview.
According to Tinkasimire, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta who also organizes an annual marathon in Kenya, will flag-off the run, expected to attract thousands of athletes at the kololo ceremonial grounds.
The half marathon will have three routes; the 1 Kilometre race for the children, 10 Kilometre and the 21 Kilometre race. Over 5000 athletes are expected to take part in the run which will start and end at the Kololo ceremonial grounds, according to the organizers.
The 10 Kilometre race will pass through areas of upper Kololo Terrace, Lugogo Bypass, Kira Road, Yusuf Lule, Lower Kololo terrace and end at Kololo grounds.
On the other hand the relatively longer 21 Kilometre race will start from Kololo grounds, to Lugogo by-pass, to Ntinda, continue through the Ntinda-Kisasi road, take the Northern by-pass, to Kalerwe round-about, take the Kampala-Gayaza road through Wandegeya, to Nakasero road, connect to Nile Avenue, down to Garden City, to Jinja road, branch off at the Jinja road round-about to Kololo grounds.
The run will be held under the theme "Addressing youth unemployment through embracing sports" while proceeds from the event will go towards supporting initiatives for sustainable utilization of Lake Victoria and River Nile.
"We want to support conservation and sustainable use initiatives because Lake Victoria and River Nile are the two most important water bodies in the region", the Marathon organizing committee chairperson Tinkasimire said.
The day will climax with an awards dinner at the Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo where President Yoweri Museveni is expected to be the chief guest and many national and international dignitaries will attend.
At the dinner, various people will recognize and awarded for their contribution towards the EAC. "First, we will honor and award the founders of the East African Community (The late Julius Nyerere, the late Dr. Apollo Milton Obote and the Late Jomo Kenyatta) for their visionary leadership.
The second category will be for those who revived the East African Community (President Yoweri Museveni, former Tanzania President Benjamin William Mkapa and former Kenyan leader Daniel Arap Moi). Also at the dinner, the composers of the East African Anthem will as well be recognized and awarded", Tinkasimire elaborated.
According to the organizers, former first ladies Mama Maria Nyerere from Tanzania and Miria Obote of Uganda will attend the dinner and pick the accolades for the two fallen former East African leaders who laid a strong foundation for the integration of regional states.
The organisation was founded in 1967, collapsed in 1977, and revived on 7 July 2000. Africa's youngest nation South Sudan's membership into the group was approved in March this year and is formally agreed with signing the EAC treaty last month.
Marathon participants will pay 10,000 shillings and registration is ongoing at various points in Kampala including KCCA City Hall, Constitutional square, Nakumatt Oasis and Acacia Malls and Aga Khan University Hospital.