THE FIRST EDITION OF THE BUJUMBURA HALF MARATHON FOR FRATERNITY ON 31ST AUGUST, 2014
The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya in Burundi together with other stakeholders namely: Burundi National Tourism Office, Burundi National Olympic Committee, the Sport’s Gym, Wright Tours and Travel Agency and the Green Belt Action for the Environment (ACVE) teamed up to form the Bujumbura Marathon Organizing Committee (BUMOC) to realize the Bujumbura Marathon. BUMOC Presidency is held by Ms. Njambi Kinyungu, the Chargé d’Affaires on behalf of the Kenya Embassy.
The first edition of the Bujumbura Marathon for Fraternity held on 31st August, 2014 was a half marathon of 21km, with additional circuits of 10km and 3km under the theme ‘I Run for Fraternity: I Love Bujumbura.’ The Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture of the Republic of Burundi Hon. Adolphe Rukenkanya officially flagged off the three circuits at the Jardin Public, City of Bujumbura.The objective of the marathon was mainly to: celebrate the fraternity between Kenya and Burundi especially in Kenya’s jubilee year; Identify and nurture marathon talent in Burundi from the grassroot levels; and generate proceeds to assist sections of the population affected by floods and mudslides in the northern part of Bujumbura which occurred on 09/02/2014.
The marathon featured world class athletes from Kenya and Burundi including Wilson Kipsang’, Wilfred Bungei, Simon Chebon and Burundian Dieudonné Kwizera. The Kenyan star athletes were on hand to conduct a marathon clinic on 30th August, 2014 for 30 athletes (27 men and 3 ladies) ahead of the marathon proper for purposes of imparting tips on how to nurture individual talent to attain professional levels of preparedness and improve competitiveness.
The marathon attracted 790 participants, including the sizeable expatriate community in Burundi and beyond, 175 of who were women. 5 athletes from the Democratic Republic of Congo also participated in the event. This was a tremendous show given it was the first edition of the Bujumbura race. The spectacle attracted an estimated 1,500 spectators.
BUMOC worked in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture; Ministry of External Relations and International Cooperation Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism; Ministry of Home Affairs all of Burundi; Office of the Mayor of the City of Bujumbura; Office of the Director General of the Police; the Paul Tergat Foundation; the Association of Kenyans Living in Burundi (AKB); The Red Cross Society and Infirmières sans Frontiers; and volunteers from the Burundi Scouts Movement and from the AKB.
Various Kenyan and Burundian sponsors came on board to capitalize on the immense publicity that the marathon would generate. Featuring prominently were corporate sponsors including: the Kenya Ports Authority, Kobil Burundi, KCB Burundi, Kenya Airways, Safintra Burundi (affiliate of Mabati Rolling Mills), Pembe Millers, KK Security, Hotel Club du Lac and Martha Hotel. Burundian sponsors included Econet, Leo, Tempo Africell, Brarudi, Dolphin Designs, APALCO and Fitness Factory.
The marathon has generated a lot of interest on Burundi given the diversity in participation both from the region and internationally. The marathon will potentially place Burundi on the global map as a viable touristic and investment destination.