KILIMANJARO Marathon continues to gain popularity in the country and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has advised its organisers to invite top government leaders to participate in the five kilometre fun run during the event's tenth anniversary in 2012.
Over 800 runners took part in the annual race held in Moshi at the end of last month and which also involved the Vodacom 5km Fun Run.
“I believe President Jakaya Kikwete will still be in office when you celebrate Kili Marathon's tenth anniversary in 2012,” Pinda said.
“It would be great if the organisers invite him (Kikwete), new Zanzibar President, Speaker of the National Assembly, Prime Minister and other senior government officials to run the fun race.
The premier commended Vodacom for sponsoring the fun race which attracts many runners, especially those with advanced age.
Among those who took part in the fun race this year were Deputy Minister for Information Culture and Sports Joel Bendera, former Member of Parliament for Kilolo and retired soccer player Venance Mwamoto, and National Sports Council chairman Iddi Kipingu.
The race was won by Wilbroad Kidaga, who walked away with a Nokia handset, airtime worth 20,000/- and a 70,000/- cash prize.
Runner up Paulo Kalera was awarded a Nokia handset, airtime worth 20,000/- and a 50,000/- cash prize while third placed Doto Ramadhan also won a handset, airtime and cash.
Vodacom marketing managing executive Ephraim Mafuru said he has been impressed by this year’s event because Tanzanians have proved that they are willing to publicize their country through the marathon.
He said Vodacom, who are co-sponsors of the marathon, will make sure that the race is improved every year.
“Vodacom will continue to sponsor the annual event because the aim is to promote talents by allowing all Tanzanians to take part in the marathon,” Mafuru said.
Kenya swept all top places in the gruelling marathon. Stephen Chebogut clocked 2 hours, 15 minutes, 32 seconds to emerge winner followed by compatriots David Kiprono in 2:16:46 and Julius Kimakorir.
Kenyan athletes also dominated the women's marathon with Frida Lodepa finishing first in 2:40:22, followed by compatriots Evelyne Attanja in 2:40:26 and Leah Kusar in 2:42.32.
World half marathon champion Fabian Joseph led an all-Tanzanian onslaught on his way to setting a new Kili half marathon course record of 1:03:59. He was followed by Dickson Marwa in 1:04:19 and Damian Chopa in 1:04:36.
Naomi Maiyo of Kenya won the women's half marathon after clocking 1:16:26 followed by compatriot Beatrice Rutto in 1:16:36, while Tanzania's Restituta Joseph placed third in 1:16:47.