This year’s Tegla Loroupe Peace Race will be bigger and better as it has been expanded to include amputee football and boxing.
On its 15th edition, the event is aimed at fostering peace and tranquillity among warring pastoral communities especially Marakwet and Pokot.
The two-day cross-border competition will see athletes and athletics enthusiasts converge at Kapenguria for peace talks with the local community on November 8, giving way for a cultural festival in the evening.
On November 9, a 10km peace race, a 2km fun race and walks will be held alongside boxing and football matches.
Boxers drawn from the Tegla Loroupe boxing foundation in Nairobi and the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) will form a bulk of the bouts. The same boxers will also train the locals as the Loroupe Foundation hopes to start sustainable sporting careers outside of athletics for the local community.
“We are not just focusing on sports but on the development of the pastoral communities. For peace to prevail and cattle rustling to be a thing of the past, we have to present the youths with alternative income, generating activities. We introduced farming and we were doing well until the situation changed recently,” said Loroupe, a United Nations person of the year 2016.
An emotional Loroupe called on security forces to come up with lasting solutions for the people of Turkana, Marakwet, Pokot and the larger Rift Valley in regard to the recurring clashes.
“If we are to be at par with other area, of the country in development, the leaders have to work with our police to bring peace to this area. I cannot do it alone. The situation calls for a mental ‘disarmament’ of these bandits. If anyone is caught fuelling the war in the area they should also face the full force of the law,” added Loroupe.
Additionally, former Inspector General (IG) of police David Kimaiyo who was present at the Peace Race launch called for change in legislation saying tougher laws will deter young men from joining these criminal elements.
The event organisers are expecting the turn-out to rise from last edition’s 3,000 participants with an increase in activities. Notable athletes expected to grace the event include Eliud Kipchoge, David Rudisha, Mary Keitany and Vivian Cheruiyot.