Sports

Meru County hold mountain run to support fight against cancer

MERU, Kenya, Feb 28 – Meru County on Saturday successfully held the second edition of Mount Kenya Mountain run championships aimed at raising funds to boost the fight against cancer, wildlife protection as well as environmental conservation.

The first edition of the championships was held in 2020 but could not be held last year as a result of the Corona Virus pandemic.

Speaking during the event, area Governor Kiraitu Murungi said the championships will be an annual event considering that the two editions had been very successful.

“Cancer has become a menace in this county and at the moment we are ranked number two countrywide in its prevalence. We are not happy with the position and we have decided to create a Meru Cancer institute to improve prevention and early detection of cancer as well as improving the quality-of-life following diagnosis and treatment,” said Kiraitu.

Governor Kiraitu hands over a dummy cheque to Mr Patrick Kipngéno who won the 13-kilometer race. PHOTO/Dickson Mwiti

He said some of the proceeds from the run will go towards supporting the institute and Meru hospice who have done a lot in taking care of terminally-ill cancer patients.

Last year, the governor issued a Sh1million cheque to the hospice which was from some of the proceeds from the 2020 edition.

Kiraitu added that the county government was also passionate about conserving and protecting wildlife and the environment for the benefit of future generations.

He said his government was as a result working with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Lewa Conservancy, and Community Forest Associations (CFA) to establish a unique mountain bongo and rhino sanctuary within the region.

“We are discussing with KFS to fence off an 80-acre area around the Mount Kenya Forest where the sanctuary will be established,” said Kiraitu.

He said Rhinos were facing extinction and fortunately some of the bongos which were taken from Mount Kenya some years back have greatly multiplied in Florida, USA.

“We are planning to import the bongos from Florida back to Mount Kenya at a cost of Sh200million which we have already raised through the support from the community and other agencies,” Kiraitu said.

Governor Kiraitu Murungi and First lady Priscilla Murungi pose for a photo with one of the oldest participants in the 13-kilometer race. Photo/DICKSON MWITI

He said the airlifting of the bongos will take place as soon as the sanctuary is established.

The governor said his government was doing everything possible to open mountain tourism including opening up a 22-kilometer road to lake Ellys, the most beautiful lake in Mount Kenya sitting at 13000feets above sea level.

He added that Meru County Investment and Development Corporation has also partnered with owners of the old Moses to put up a top-notch hotel in the mountain to attract tourists in the region.

“We are thinking big, aiming high and we are going to make use of the great position that we occupy,” he said.

Athletics Kenya Chairman Jackson Tuwei lauded the county for organising such a successful event adding that Mount Kenya Mountain run has now been put on the national calendar of events after the organisers met all the standard specifications.

 “This event is significant to our country as we are holding our fourth national mountain running championships within the last two years,” said Tuwei.

-BY KNA-

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