Likuyani sub county residents in Kakamega County came out in large numbers to participate in the first ever marathon to be held in the area with an aim of nurturing talents as well as sensitizing locals to participate in environment conservation through tree planting.
The event dubbed ‘First Mazingira half-marathon’ was sponsored by Mr. Stephen Kisaka in collaboration with the Sango Ward Member of County Assembly Kennedy Kilwake.
Speaking at the marathon’s finishing point at Lugulu primary school in Mawe Tatu sub location Mr.Kisaka called upon residents to embrace environmental conservation through planting of trees.
He said besides tree planting in the gazetted forest land they should also take an initiative of planting trees on their private farms and other public areas.
Kisaka underscored the significance of tree planting arguing that it was the responsibility of every citizen to play a role in environmental conservation.
This, he reiterated was aimed at the governments vision of achieving 10% of forest cover so as to combat climate change effects. “Besides fighting climate change, conservation also plays a crucial role in providing income through log sales, thus alleviating poverty,” he said.
He also appealed to youths in the region to tap and nurture their sporting talents as a way of diversifying income generating activities in order to improve their living standards.
Promising to provide sponsorship to young men and women who are ready to make strides in sports from the sub county, while at the same time citing examples of leading sportsmen like Eliud Kipchoge who have given Rift Valley a new look, Kisaka urged the youth from Western region to avoid the rush to big towns for the scanty and unavailable white collar jobs when they could easily use income from sports to initiate development programmes within their Counties.
His sentiments were echoed by Sango MCA Kennedy Kilwake who promised his full support to diverse sporting activities.
He urged residents and other leaders not to over concentrate on football alone but also focus on other sports which he said are highly paying just like soccer.
Kakamega County CEC Member for Youths Sports and Social Services Robert Kundu Makhanu who graced the event thanked the marathon sponsors for their efforts to nurture talents and looking at the region’s sporting activities from a different angle saying it was encouraging to discover that the area was capable of producing world class marathoners.
Promising to work with other sports lovers Makhanu said his office was working on plans to turn the county into a rainbow of sporting activities urging other MCAs and leaders to emulate Kilwake and help expose the talents that are rotting down there in villages.
121 athletes from all five wards of Likuyani sub county participated in the 21 kilometre race for youths, 10 kilometre for the elderly, and 5 kilometer race for children.
The first top three from each category were rewarded with medals, with Brian Wekesa bagging a gold medal in the 21 kilometer race while Ian Waweru and Amos Manyonge took home bronze and silver medals respectively.
In the 10 kilometre race men category Simon Lumala emerged the winner followed by Alpa Ewoi and Thomas Kadel in the second and third position respectively while in 10km female category, Joan Nasimiyu took gold with Ann Khisa and Regina Masika fighting for bronze and silver respectively.
In the 5 kilometre male category, Ryan Omondi, Jessy Mocho and Amani Mocho took gold, bronze and silver in that order.
Also rewarded were 60-year-old Mzee Waswa Wakhale and 45-year-old Damaris Bakhoya for participating and completing the race.
Apart from receiving the awards, the winners of 10km and 21km race who are all high school students, Mr. Kilwake promised to pay the full school fees for the next year through the Kakamega county bursary. During the exercise over 1,000 tree seedlings were planted at the Lugulu youth polytechnic.