During every edition of the famous Kampala Marathon, there is a common slogan, ”every one is a winner at the end of the event”.

Kampala City was buried in a sea of yellow at the 2016 marathon
Kampala City was buried in a sea of yellow at the 2016 marathon

The story line was no different at the 2016 event, one that has witnessed the marathon grow in stature since inception.

Once again, the marathon attracted the enviable numbers where participants forwarded varying causes to obviously be part at all costs granted all the conditions – rain or shine.

Apart from the 42Km women event where the top three positions were taken up by the Kenyans, Uganda nearly had a clean sweep of the 10, 21 and 42Km categories at the famous 2016 Kampala Marathon.

From health reasons, winning cause, fulfillment of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the sheer magnetic peer pressure, almost every one who ran had a reason or two.

By 5 a.m, thousands of participants – young and the aged, marginalized and the filthy rich, male and female, boss and servant were united on a common wave length as they assembled and limbered on the paved Kololo Ceremonial grounds ready for their respective races at stake.

Kampala for sure, was clouded in a sea of yellow for the better part of the morning from the time the city Executive Director Jenifer Semakula Musisi flagged off the first lot at 6:10 a.m to the when the last person returned a few minutes to noon.

Bernard Cheptoch, a Ugandan used 2 hours, 19 minutes and 13 micro seconds to finish top of the 42km race.

Daniel Rotich (1:06:01) and Racheal Zena Chebet (1:18:30) won the men and women respective 21km races.

BBC Swahili sports journalist Isaac Mumena interviews Daniel Rotich after the 21KM men race
BBC Swahili Sports Journalist Isaac Mumena interviews Daniel Rotich after the 21km men race

Meanwhile, another pair of Ugandans, Elisha Chemutai (29:25) and Mercyline Chelangat (33:39) took home the men and women respective 10km top accolades.

It was the 42km women event whose 1-2-3 top performers were Kenyans to deny Uganda a complete clean sweep.

Rael Japyator used 2 hours 52 minutes and 56 minutes to finish aloft of the rest in the 42km women race.

She was closely followed by  Rosina Kibono ( 2:53:19) and  Monica Jepkorir (3:00:21) who finished second and third in the same race respectively.

Politicians, businessmen, lawyers, teachers, journalists, counselors, engineers, musicians, sportsmen, students, CEO’s and the ordinary lay-men all took part in the Marathon for various agendas, targets and aspirations.

Even animals as the Sheep took part
Even animals as the Sheep took part

Marathon varying objectives:

Whereas a large fraction of participants (especially in the 10km category) used the race for merely fun, networking and exercising, there was a ‘serious lot’ who raced for the hefty prize monies at stake, preparation for future engagements and obviously a career stepping stone.

Rotich for instance, the 21km men winner asserted the marathon is one way for him to prepare for the 2017 World Cross Country Championship due in Kampala.

My plan now is to prepare for World cross-country championships next year.

The entire Kampala Capital City Council Authority (KCCA) Football Club players used the event to wash down the rust from the international break as they prepare for yet a high profile build up with Kenyan champions, Tusker next Saturday at the Phillip Omondi stadium in Lugogo.

KCCA FC captain, Dennis Okot Oola led the rest of his club-mates at the Marathon
KCCA FC captain, Dennis Okot Oola led the rest of his club-mates at the Marathon KCCA media

Club captain Dennis Okot Oola finished 19th overall in the 10 KM race.

Other participants used the marathon to showcase the latest fashion trends, others optimally utilized the platform to acquire new working associates and majority had the once in a life time opportunity to break off from the demanding work schedules and exercise to keep fit and fresh.

A City Medical Ambulance first aider attends to an injured participant
A City Medical Ambulance first aider attends to an injured participant

Medical care for all the participants was well assured courtesy of City Medical Ambulance who alongside other sponsors made the race eventful.

Some participants sought for alternative means of making ends meet at the Marathon
Some participants sought for alternative means of making ends meet at the Marathon
A participant ran with the baby on his back
A participant ran with the baby on his back

At the end of the day, the elite runners smiled with their pay cheques after a hard toiled event, many immediately resorted to their homes to nurse the fatigue and some stayed back to get entertained by musicians who included diva Cinderella Sanyu, the city talk of town ace King Saha and others.

Till the World Cross Country championship in 2017, the Kampala Marathon will remain one of the best attended sports events this year only  rivaled by the Airtel Kabaka birthday run and the 4th September 2016 Uganda Cranes versus Comoros game at the Nelson Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.

Top 3 finishers per race at 2016 Kampala Marathon

MEN’S 10KM:
1 Elisha Chemutai (UGA) – 29:25
2 Micheal Kiprop (UGA) –  29:27
3 Martin Musau (UGA) – 29:32
WOMEN’S 10KM
1 Mercyline Chelangat (UGA) – 33:39
2 Esther Chekwemoi (UGA) – 35:53
3 Risper Chebet (UGA) – 36:28
MEN’S 21KM
1 Daniel Rotich (UGA) – 1:06:01
2 Felix Chemonges (UGA) – 1:06:22
3 Fred Arapsudi (UGA) – 1:06:24
WOMEN’S 21KM
1 Racheal Zena Chebet (UGA) – 1:18:30
2 Doreen Chemutai (UGA) – 1:19:02
3 Dorcus Ajok (UGA)-  1:20:00
MEN’S 42KM
1 Bernard Cheptoch (UGA) – 2:19:13
2 Joshua Bekele (UGA) – 2:21:40
3 David Cherop (UGA) – 2:22:04
WOMEN’S 42KM
1 Rael Japyator (KEN) – 2:52:56
2 Rosina Kibono (KEN) – 2:53:19
3 Monica Jepkorir (KEN) – 3:00:21.

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