Chile runners in Kenya despite polls tension

A team of runners from Chile, who had planned to compete in the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon initially scheduled for this weekend, has been training in Kenya even after the postponement of the race to November 26 due to high political temperatures in the country.

The annual race was initially scheduled for Sunday.

The six-member squad, comprising of fun runners and a coach, has been visiting athletics training camps and hotels in the country before they head back home this week.

They are Nancy Miranda, Alexander Manriquez, Marcos Pomar, Silvana Saavedra, Gabriel Espinoza. Their coach is Stephen Kamau, a former 800 metres runner.

The team usually travels the world, participating in athletics competitions for fun.

Initially, 15 runners had planned to participate in the annual Nairobi race but only six gathered the courage to travel in the wake of the repeat presidential poll.

Nation Sport caught up with the team at Naromoru River Lodge hotel in Nyeri County where they have been pitching camp for the last three days in the company of former world marathon champion Douglas Wakiihuri.

“This was the first time we were visiting Kenya and we were looking forward to running with champions in Nairobi. We decided to come, anyway, despite the cancellation of the event and we have enjoyed interacting with champions at various training camps,” said Miranda, one of the runners.

She added that besides participating in competitions, the team is usually on a mission to learn about other people’s cultures and traditions.

Manriquez, who ran in last year’s New York Marathon and the 2014 Chicago Marathon for fun, said the team will consider coming back to Kenya for future events.
His counterpart Espinoza, who ran in the 2012 Boston and 2015 Berlin marathons, described his experience with local runners as “memorable.”

“I like the weather and the food in this country. Local people are friendly and welcome. It feels like home away from home,” said Espinoza.

According to the team’s coach Kamau, the athletes usually participate in competitions around the globe for fun run.

“We were very disappointed to read the news over the cancellation of the Nairobi Standard Chartered marathon but we decided to visit the country and meet with local athletes and share experiences,” said coach Kamau.

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