Message from the CEO
The Covid-19 pandemic brought disruptions affecting our sports industry. To ensure the wellbeing of all our stakeholders, we had to make a difficult but necessary decision of cancelling the 18th edition of the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon in 2020.
The Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon is the premier running event in Kenya and the only World Athletics accredited event in the country. Elite athletes use it as a springboard to launch their international careers. Over the last 17 years, these young men and women have graced our event annually, giving it the status that it enjoys today.
I also recognise the immense economic opportunity the marathon presents to these young athletes. For this reason, we launched our partnership with Kipchoge Keino Foundation to offer relief to athletes who were experiencing economic hardship due to the current pandemic.
Over the last year, we have been able to reach over 500 athletes from Uasin Gishu, Kericho, Kisii, Narok, Kajiado and Nyandarua Counties with literacy and entrepreneurship training. We have equipped young and upcoming athletes with knowledge on business ideation, managing and growing businesses, investment, retirement planning as well as debt management. Our next session will be conducted at the end of this month in Embu County.
I strongly believe that this initiative has enabled the athletes to make better financial decisions and develop entrepreneurial skills that will help them have an alternative source of income aside from running. As we begin to manoeuvre around our new normal, we are elated to bring back the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon. 2020 allowed us time to obtain insights from our stakeholders and reflect on how we can improve our marathon experience. While establishing that safety is important to our stakeholders, we realised that a sense of community is equally important to them. We were also reminded of the crucial role the marathon has played in providing a platform for budding athletes to launch their careers. These valuable insights have influenced our decision for the 2021 marathon edition format.
We are glad to announce that the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon 2021 will be taking place. The physical marathon will be held on the 31st of October of 2021 and will be restricted to 2,500 select local and international elite runners. We intend to bring back a platform for competitive running for our elites and give them a chance to regain their footing. The ongoing road construction on Uhuru Highway and Mombasa Road paved way for a new marathon route; the Southern Bypass. The route’s proximity to the Nairobi National Park makes it a very scenic route and has offered thrilling opportunities to also advance tourism.
The virtual marathon will be open to participants across the globe to run the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon along the greatest athletes. This is a golden chance for us to expand the marathon and offer a new digitized experience to our runners. From the 42km full marathon to the 5km Family Fun Run, participants will be able to complete their race from a safe place of their choice. Additionally, we are committing to walk the marathon journey with our community by providing virtual running challenges and warm-up races that will allow us to interact as a build-up to the marathon. The Arboretum will be promoted as one of the training spots for the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon. We want to encourage communities to utilise forests and natural ecosystems to promote wellness.
We see this year as one that will allow us to forge partnerships and encourage running amongst communities. This year offers an exciting challenge for all of us and we pledge to offer a brilliant experience to all our runners.
We look forward to seeing you at the finish line, virtual or otherwise!
Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya