|The start of the men's Kaptagat Half Marathon race in 2018|
Kaptagat forest is not only a good environment for preserving the indigenous trees that support wildlife and attract the rainfall, but also offers an atmosphere conducive for runners to train in. Among the world’s famous athletes training here include the marathon record holder and Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, among others. The forest covers two counties of Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu and, with the race route connecting the two counties, given the counties being referred to as the Home of Champions and the city of champions respectively, the level of competition in this race is tough.
Philemon Rono, the two-time Toronto Waterfront Marathon champion and 2009 world cross country junior bronze medalist was the winner of the men’s race last year after cutting the tape in 62:23.6 ahead of Davis Kiprotich who finished second in 63:11.7. Wesley Kimutai was the third finisher in 63:15.0.
Coincidentally, Rono who took an early lead just after 5km on his way to winning the race trains in this forest together with Kipchoge.
|Cynthia Jerop leading the women's race in 2018|
Proceeds from the marathon will go towards helping in the conservation of the forest through the strengthening and the establishment of youth-managed tree nurseries. Cypress, pine, bamboo and indigenous tree nurseries will be set up throughout the year. Kenya Forest Service (KFS), who are part of the sponsors of the marathon, will provide the technical advice. A limited amount of funds raised will go towards awarding and nurturing sporting talents.