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Cheeky messages that kept StanChart Marathon competitors going

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The 17th edition of the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon, which was held on Sunday morning, brought out the humorous and good-natured side of city dwellers that added an extra spice to the event.

A few placard waving fans, who were strategically positioned along the route, stole the show – at least off the course – with their cheeky messages to the competitors.

PHOTO | COURTESY
PHOTO | COURTESY

The pictures immediately went viral on social media under the hashtag #StanChartMarathon.

Most of the messages captured recent events in the country – from the exploits of marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in Vienna to the endless corruption cases in Kenya.

PHOTO | COURTESY
PHOTO | COURTESY

One foreigner who spoke to Nairobi News said the messages were simply meant to motivate the participants.

Away from the fun and games on the sidelines, Brimin Kipkorir (2:10:42) and Purity Changwony Jebichi (2:30:33) emerged victorious in the men’s and women’s 42km races respectively.

These signs… Kenyans are the best. #stanchartmarathonpic.twitter.com/HZdvTHCWps

— Eric Mugendi (@mougendi) October 27, 2019

By Nairobi News

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Son of ex-VP Wamalwa dies at their Milimani home in Kitale

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A son of the late former vice-president Michael Kijana Wamalwa, William Makali Wamalwa, is dead.

His uncle, Robert Wamalwa, Monday confirmed that his nephew died on Sunday evening at their Milimani home in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County.

The family suspects it could be diabetes that led to his death but are waiting for a post-mortem report.

“My nephew was diabetic and that might have led to his death but, of course, when the official post-mortem report is out, we will know what happened,” Mr Wamalwa told the Nation.

Makali, who was the third born in his family, was in his mid-20s and was a second year student at the University of Nairobi where he was studying commerce.

His uncle dismissed claims on social media that Makali died of depression, alcoholism and drug abuse.

“It is far from the truth. It is very unfair and people should not capitalise on something like that. They should respect the family and the dead,” said Mr Wamalwa.

He added that he was with his nephew the previous day and he looked fine.

An official family statement will be given after a post-mortem examination report is released.

Makali will be buried at the family’s Three Rivers farm in Saboti on December 14, 2019.

by nation.co.ke

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Welcome to the Nyeri matatu stage, a ‘highway to heaven’ for drivers, touts

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For a long time, the matatu sector has been viewed as a hotbed of deceitful, dishonest, cunning and undisciplined people. Already overburdened commuters often struggle with the whimsical arbitrariness of the charges demanded by the public transport operators.

But matatu operators in Nyeri town are trying to portray themselves in a new light. Every morning at 8am at the main matatu stage, a group of men in blue and maroon uniforms plug in a sound system and begin their morning fellowship.

They start with prayers and a number of worship songs. Their aim, they say, is to reach out to as many drivers, touts, businesspeople and passengers at the terminal as possible.

James Waruingi Ndirangu, a driver who has been operating in Nyeri town for more than 10 years, started the fellowship two years ago. He had seen the lawlessness, fights, vulgarity and drug abuse and sought divine intervention for these social ills.

“I was seated at the stage waiting for my turn to ferry passengers when, being a staunch Christian, I felt the need to start the morning prayers,” he said. He printed out notices of the prayers and passed them around, asking people to join him during the prayers.

“I was afraid that people would not embrace it but I decided to try it anyway and on July 16, 2017, we held our first prayer meeting. There were only a few people but that was more than I expected,” he said.

With time, more people embraced the idea and with their help they received enough donations to purchase a public address system.

“I started these morning prayer meetings to reach out to the operators, who are usually too busy and they do not go to church on Saturday or Sunday. There are also passengers who have been travelling and they need it too,” he said.

Mr Ndirangu and his team start the prayers at 8am with singing, prayers and a devotion.

He says that the prayers have brought sanity to the stage, with the young men turning over a new leaf by quitting drugs and some being bold enough to participate by playing the instruments and being on the alternating preaching schedule.

“We have managed to reach out to the youth and pull them from drugs and substance abuse and now they work just like the rest of us to make an honest living,” he said.

A few metres away at an open field, where lorries are parked just behind the governor’s office, Pastor Joseph Kinuthia preaches to a group of men who are quietly seated and patiently listening to him. They are lorry drivers.

He started the fellowship in 2018 after many members of the Nyeri Lorries Self Help Group, which he chairs, were afflicted by diseases and death.

“Every week we would have at least two cases we were contributing to. Other members were being arrested for fights, and being a pastor, I knew that these issues could be solved if we indulged in our faith,” he said.

He says the group, which has at least 300 active members, embraced the idea and now they hold their fellowships three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

At a glance
HOW IT STARTED

James Waruingi Ndirangu, a driver who has been operating in Nyeri town for more than 10 years, started the fellowship two years ago. He had seen the lawlessness, fights, vulgarity and drug abuse and sought divine intervention for these social ills.

“I was seated at the stage waiting for my turn to ferry passengers when, being a staunch Christian, I felt the need to start the morning prayers,” he said. He printed out notices of the prayers and passed them around, asking people to join him during the prayers.

by nation.co.ke

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Kenyans sweep in Obama’s birthplace

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Sport may still be frowned upon in Kenya where politics – and political horse-trading – seem to be the nation’s staple, but athletes most certainly continue to positively impact on lives.

Stories of athletes rising from rags to riches might sound cliché, but they must be told to inspire future generations.

The story of Titus Ekiru and Margaret Muriuki Wangare is right down this alley.

On Sunday in Honolulu, the city that brought forth USA’s first black president – Kenyan-American Barack Obama – they continued to remind USA that Kenya won’t just get off the American headlines just yet with a sweep of the Honolulu Marathon titles.

And what’s more, defending champion Ekiru, 27, set a new course record, defending his title in two hours, seven minutes and 59 seconds to become the fastest man over the marathon in the beautiful Island of Hawaii where USA’s 44th president was born.

The wins came hours after another Kenyan, US-based Edward Cheserek, won the curtain-raising mile race on Saturday in three minutes and 53 seconds.

It was 33-year-old Wangari’s marathon debut, and she dedicated her 2:31:09 victory to her ailing mother, Agnes Muthoni Kenyua.

From her race earnings, she can afford better medical care for her beloved mum.

“It’s been tough. My mother was diagnosed with kidney failure but despite her illness, she has been praying for me a lot,” said an emotional Wangari, who left the track (5,000 metres) to focus on the road, making her 42km debut Sunday.

She also dedicated the win to her four-year-old daughter, Lynnolive Jemutai and husband, Jacob Kipchum Yator.

Fellow Kenyan, US-based Betsy Saina, who has been training in Flagstaff, Arizona, was second in 2:31:51.

Saina blamed herself for underrating the tough course in the Hawaiian State capital, failing to match a late lush by Wangare.

“I came here as favourite and I thought I’d push later in the race, but I think I underrated the course a bit,” the Iowa State University running legend told Nation Sport.

In the men’s race, Ekiru led a clean sweep of the podium and said there’s no time to celebrate as he heads back home to prepare for his entry into the rich World Marathon Majors circuit.

He plans to attack the Tokyo Marathon on March 1 and will be knocking on selectors’ doors for an Olympic ticket.

Former winner Wilson Chebet was a distant second in 2:13:13 after experiencing some problems with his right thigh muscle in the second half, with Edwin Koech (2:14:19) completing the Kenyan sweep.

Ekiru, paced by Reuben Kerio, third here last year, peeled away, like an onion, from the lead pack in trademark fashion between kilometre 22 and 23.

Chebet and Koech were unable to respond. Ekiru then motored to the finish alone.

“The pacemakers did a good job,” he said.

“I’d wanted 63:30 at halfway and they did like 63:40, which wasn’t bad.”

“There’s very little time between now and the Tokyo Marathon so I won’t celebrate too much this Christmas when I get back to Kapsabet as I have to start early preparations,” said Ekiru. who shattered the course record of 2:08:27, set in 2017 by fellow Kenyan Lawrence Cherono.

Again, Ekiru’s story has been that of battling poverty to make a living through sport.

The rising star from Turkana didn’t finish primary school education, dropping out of primary school at Kosirai in Nandi County due to his family’s state of poverty.

But his command of English is impeccable and his focus unwavering.

Honolulu Marathon President and CEO Jim Barahal said he would dish out a cheque of $40,000 (Sh4 million) to Ekiru – $25,000 (Sh2.5 million) for the win, $10,000 (Sh1 million) for the course record and a further time bonus of $5,000 (Sh500,000) for running a sub-2:08 time.

Wangare will take home Sh4 million which will most certainly go a long way in assisting her ailing mother.

Leading results from the Honolulu Marathon on Sunday

1. Titus Ekiru (Kenya) 2:07:59

2. Wilson Chebet (Kenya) 2:13:13

3. Edwin Koech (Kenya) 2:14:19

4. Mike Cheshire (Kenya) 2:16:30

5. Jackson Limo (Kenya) 2:17:09

6. Osako Suguru (Japan) 2:17:29

7. Takuya Fukatsu (Japan) 2:19:00

8. Shinya Ohashi (Japan) 2:23:54

9. Taku Harada (Japan) 2:30:32

10. Takaaki Awata (Japan) 2:34:23

1. Margaret Wangare Muriuki (Kenya) 2:31:10

2. Betsy Saina (Kenya) 2:31:51

3. Renee Metivier (USA) 2:43:17

4. Miharu Shimokado (Japan) 2:45:22

5. Kaoru Nagao (Japan) 2:52:55

6. Eri Oda (Japan) 2:55:39

7. Polina Carlson (USA) 2:57:37

8. Rosanna Breslin (USA) 3:04:49

9. Bree Brown (USA) 3:07:47

9. Akiko Patterson (USA) 3:09:14

By Nation

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