THE inaugural John Stephen Akwhari Marathon will be in Arusha next month and even though it is a maiden event, all top ten winners will take home cash prizes worth 6m/- in total.
Top winners of the main 21 kilometres’ race, in both men and women’s categories; will earn 800,000/- while the first runners up are going to pocket 600,000/- and the third winners will walk home with 450,000/-.
The fourth winners will earn 250,000/- while those finishing in the fifth position are to get 200,000/-. The sixth winners 170,000/- the seventh 150,000/- eight winners 130,000/- the ninth (100,000/-) and the tenth 70,000/-.
Arusha is planning special athletics event to honour the ace national runner, who had done the country proud in Mexico City over 50 years ago.
The John Stephen Akhwari Marathon will be staged on June 9th 2019. Few people know Akhwari, the former national Marathon runner, who represented Tanzania in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico and managed to complete the race despite badly injuring his leg.
Akhwari coined the golden quote; “My country did not send me 5000 miles to start the race; they sent me to finish it!” The ace legendary runner repeated the same immortal line during a press conference held in Arusha on Friday.
Born in 1938, Mzee Akhwari participated in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City when he was only 30. He dislocated his knee during the race, but still continued to limp his way to the finishing line.
Aged 81 years, Mzee Akwari is still strong; “I was the first Tanzanian athlete to open the curtain into international marathon events, and this race being organised in my honour should encourage young people to take bold steps into similar sporting expeditions regardless of their backgrounds or capabilities,” he said.
The Director of John Akhwari Marathon, Sylvester Orao said the maiden event starts with 21 kilometres (Half-Marathon) next month. However, during the second installment of the race to be held in 2020, the race will expand into full marathon.
Arusha Regional Athletics Association (ARAA) Chairman, Jackson Jorwa stated that preparations are ready and that despite being the first time the race will be successful.