The County Government of Uasin Gishu has confirmed its withdrawal from the Eldoret City Marathon sponsorship.
For the last three editions, the county has been the title sponsor of the race. But in a statement issued on Thursday, September 28, 2023, the county said it stopped being the title sponsor from the 2022/2023 financial year due to a number of reasons.
Top on the list are audit queries raised over the county’s expenditure in sponsoring the marathon. This is due to what the county said was the fact that the marathon is run by a private entity and not them.
“Eldoret City Marathon is run by a private entity known as Eldoret City Holdings. The County Government cannot fund a private entity using public funds since it is against the law,” read part of the statement issued by the county communications team.
Further, the county said previous editions in which it sponsored had audit queries flagged by the Office of the Auditor General.
“…as a consequence, the Uasin Gishu County Assembly did not approve its allocation of funds in the 2022/2023 budget,” the county noted.
Since its inception, the county has been allocating Ksh15 million to support the Eldoret City Marathon.
No prize money for the Eldoret City Marathon
However, following lack of the allocation in the 2022 edition by the county, the payment of athletes faced delays. The same issue has been cited as the reason behind a recent postponement of the fifth edition that was to take place this Sunday, October 1, 2023.
In a media briefing on Thursday, race director Moses Tanui said the race could not proceed as the prize money had not been deposited in the bank account by the new title sponsors – Dubai-based Gulf Royal Society.
The total prize money for the Eldoret City Marathon is Ksh18 million. Winners take home Ksh3.5 million for both men’s and women’s races while the top 20 athletes also get a cash award.
Meanwhile, the County Government of Uasin Gishu has revealed that it had asked race directors to restructure its shareholding to incorporate government ownership so as to enable them to continue being title sponsors.
The request was however declined.
According to Tanui who founded the race, incorporating the county shareholding in the Eldoret City Marathon management might put the race at risk.
He argues if the race remains being run by a private entity, it will outlive the current generation.
But even as the county says it withdrew from being a title sponsor, it says it had sponsored 1,000 athletes to take part in the race.
It remains unclear when the race will be held with the former two-time Boston Marathon champion assuring that it will be back.
“Even if it takes two years or so, Eldoret City Marathon will continue to exist,” Tanui said.