Kenyans hold a special place in the rich history of the London Marathon which is perhaps the most popular among the six races in the World Marathon Majors.
The London Marathon that is a long-distance running event covering 42km and held in London, United Kingdom, is part of the World Marathon Majors.
The event was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in spring of every year for the last 38 years.
The race was founded by the 1956 Melbourne Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion and journalist Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley.
Shortly after completing the New York City Marathon in November 1979, Brasher was inspired by the people of New York coming together for the occasion, he asked “whether London could stage such a festival?”
Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya runs on his way to win the men’s elite group in the 2009 London Marathon on April 26, 2008. Photo/FILE
The following year, Brasher and Disley made trips to America to study the organisation and finance of big city marathons such as New York and Boston.
Brasher signed a contract with Gillette for £50,000, established charitable status and outlined six main aims in the hope to mirror the scenes he witnessed in New York and establish the United Kingdom on the map as a country capable of arranging major events.
The London Marathon was born.
London Marathon is now organised by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel as Chief Executive.
WAKIIHURI FIRST AFRICAN WINNER
Set over a largely flat course around the River Thames, the race begins at three separate points around Blackheath and finishes in The Mall alongside St James’s Park.
Since the first marathon, the course has undergone very few route changes. In 1982, the finishing post was moved from Constitution Hill to Westminster Bridge due to construction works. It remained there for 12 years before moving to its present location at The Mall.
Apart from being one of the six races in the World Marathon Majors, the London Marathon is also a large, celebratory sporting festival, third in England only to the Great North Run in Newcastle upon Tyne and Great Manchester Run in Manchester in terms of the number of participants.
From the day legendary Kenyan Douglas Wakiihuri became the first African man to win the prestigious marathon in 1989, Kenya and Ethiopia dominance began in 2003.
The women’s race has also been nostalgic for Kenyans with the history-making Joyce Chepchumba, who halted the European supremacy for 16 years with victory in 1997, hence becoming the first African to achieve the feat.
Kenya’s Daniel Wanjiru (left) and Mary Keitany pose with the trophy during a photocall beside Tower Bridge, the day after winning the men’s and women’s elite races at the London Marathon, in London on April 24, 2017. PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS | AFP
But it’s from 2010 that the women race has been an East Africa affair with Chepchumba orchestrating Kenyans victories in seven editions, with Ethiopians winning in two.
The first London Marathon was held on March 29, 1981 with more than 20,000 applying to run. However, 6,747 were accepted and 6,255 crossed the finish line.
However, what is interesting is that the men’s race had joint winners; United States of America’s Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen from Norway, who crossed the finishing line holding hands in a course record time of 2:11:48.
The first women’s race was won by Briton Joyce Smith in 2:29:57.
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who is also the Olympic Marathon champion, holds the London Marathon course record set in 2016 in a time of 2:03:05, missing the World Record then held by Dennis Kimetto by eight seconds.
The time in 2016 made Kipchoge the first person to run the race under 2 hours 04 minutes, though the 2003 World 5,000m champion would eventually down the record last year during the Berlin Marathon in 2:01:39.
London Marathon course has only produced one World Record through Moroccan-born Khalid Khannouchi of USA, who won the 2002 edition in 2:05:38.
Interestingly, Khannouchi had bettered his own World Record time of 2:05:42 set in 1999 Chicago Marathon, while still competing for Morocco.
The London course has produced seven women World Records including Paula Radcliffe’s mixed race of 2:15:25 set with victory in 2003 and Kenya’s Mary Keitany’s women only of 2:17:01 attained in 2017.
Course records for the London Marathon have been set 10 times in the men’s race, while seven times in the women’s race.
Steve Jones from Britain was the first man to run under 2 hours and 09 minutes when winning the 1985 Marathon in 2:08:16.
Kenya’s Mary Keitany celebrates after winning the women’s elite race at the London marathon on April 23, 2017 in London. PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS |AFP
Portuguese António Pinto, who had won in 1992, was the first man to run under 2 hours 08 minutes when he completed a double with victory in 1997 in 2:07:55.
Pinto also was the first man to run under 2 hours 07 minutes after he completed a hat-trick in 2000 in 2:06:36.
That also saw Pinto becoming the second man to win in London three times after Mexican Dionicio Cerón, who triumphed back-to-back in 1994-1996. In fact, he is the only man to have defended his London Marathon twice in a row.
Khannouchi’s victory in 2002 in 2:05:38 made him the first man to run under 2 hours and 06 minutes, as Kenya’s Martin Lel also become the first man to complete the race under 2:06 hours with victory in 2008 in 2:05:15.
The win saw Lel join Pinto and Ceron in the league of men who had won in London thrice.
Emmanuel Mutai from Kenya would run the first sub 2:05 race at London with victory in 2011 of 2:04:40 as Eliud Kipchoge would join the class of hat-tricks with the first sub 2:04 on the course with successful title defence in 2016 in 2:03:05.
KENYANS HAVE LION’S SHARE
Kipchoge would lose the title to Daniel Wanjiru in 2017, before recapturing it in 2018 in 2:04:17.
From Wakiihuri’s historic victory in 1989 in 2:09:03, it took 10 years for another African Abdelkader El Mouaziz of Morocco to win in 2001.
The East African athletes have stamped authority to win the race since 2003. The Kenyans have had the lion’s share winning in 13 editions, while Ethiopians have triumphed three times, through Gezahegne Abera (2003) and Tsegaye Kebede (2010, 2013).
Other Kenyans to have won apart from Lel, Kipchoge, Mutai and Daniel Wanjiru are Wilson Kipsang (2012, 2014), Evans Ruto (2004), Felix Limo (2006) and Samuel Wanjiru (2009).
Eamonn Martin is the last Briton to win the men’s race in 1993.
Radcliffe and Keitany are the only athletes to run sub 2:18 hours on London Marathon course, while Radcliffe is the only athlete to have produced a sub 2:16 with the WR in 2:15:25.
Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen holds the most women victories with a record four times; 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988 with her victory of 2:21:06 in 1985 being a world record.
Radcliffe, Keitany and Katrin Dörre-Heinig from Germany have won in London three times each, while inaugural winner Briton Joyce Smith (1981, 1982) Kenyan Joyce Chepchumba (1997, 1999) and Russian Irina Mikitenko (2008, 2009)have won the event twice each.
After Chepcumba, the second Kenyan woman to win in London is legendary Tegla Loroupe, who is a former World Record holder in 2000, as Margaret Okayo followed suit in 2004.
Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot celebrates winning the elite women’s race of the 2018 London Marathon in central London on April 22, 2018. PHOTO | DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS |AFP
Winner Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot, (centre), second-placed Kenyan Brigid Kosgei (left) and third-placed Ethiopian Tadelech Bekele pose after the elite women’s race of the 2018 London Marathon in central London on April 22, 2018. PHOTO | DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS |AFP
Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot crosses the finish line to win the elite women’s race of the 2018 London Marathon in central London on April 22, 2018. PHOTO | DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS |AFP
It’s until 2011 when another Kenyan won in London, Mary Keitany, who would defend the title in 2012 compatriots Priscah Jeptoo and Edna Kiplagat reigned in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Ethiopia’s Tigist Tufa interrupted Kenyans dominance in 2015 before Jemima Sumgong triumphed in 2016 as Keitany reclaimed the title in 2017.
The 2016 Rio 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot upheld Kenya’s reign with victory in 2018.
Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]
“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank. The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain.
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone
Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.
Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.
ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.
Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.
Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.
A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.
Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.
The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.
Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.
“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.
In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.
“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.
“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”
The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.
Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.
The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.
They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.
The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.
Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.
As part of aggressive campaigns for his presidential bid, the DP, who views the former Prime Minister as his main challenger in the 2022 polls, will begin his tour in Migori and Kisumu in the third week of July, and thereafter Homa Bay and Siaya in the last week.
The DP has rolled out a ground operation that includes United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party and aspirants’ regional forums, regional economic forums, allowing affiliate political parties to sprout without the demand that they merge with UDA and assembling a wide array of professionals to front his presidential bid.
In a politically changed environment unlike the one in 2017 when he was an influential voice in government and the chief campaigner, DP Ruto now finds himself technically being the head of the opposition after the acrimonious fall-out with the President.
The relationship has worsened further after President Kenyatta’s truce with the ODM leader, his main challenger in the 2017 disputed presidential vote, thus alienating the DP further.
His allies say he’s building the infrastructure that will help him win decisively in the first round in next year’s presidential election.
Leading the preparations for the DP’s Nyanza tour is Mr Odinga’s former aide, management consultant and strategist Eliud Owalo, who is also the convener of the Luo-Nyanza Economic Caucus.
Yesterday, he said the DP will start his Nyanza tour in mid-July for what he termed an intensive grassroots tour aimed at campaigning for his presidential bid.
“The leader of the Hustler movement, Deputy President William Ruto, will make an intensive grassroots tour of the four Luo-Nyanza counties within the second half of the month of July.
In the two-legged tour, he will first visit Migori and Kisumu counties in the third week of July 2021 followed closely by a tour of Homa Bay and Siaya in the fourth week of July 2021,” read a statement sent to newsroom, which Mr Owalo signed.
Apart from the meet the people tour, the DP is expected to attend church services as well as continue with his economic empowerment programmes for youth and women groups.
The DP is expected to use the tour in his political opponent’s backyard to popularise his bottom-up economic model.
The region has always voted overwhelmingly for the ODM chief in the past elections.
“We want the Luo Nyanza region to lay its stake in any future governance dispensation on the basis of a responsive and feasible development agenda for our people as opposed to positions that individual members of the community will be holding in that government,” Mr Owalo said.
The DP started courting the region last year when Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi hosted more than 100 youths from Nyanza under the umbrella of “Nyanza Youth Movement for Ruto 2022” led by Mr Stephen Midenyo aka Mada and 2013 Rangwe Parliamentary candidate Everest Okambo.
A year ago, as part of a broader plot targeting the region, Mr Sudi and his Kiharu counterpart Ndindi Nyoro made a discreet visit to Bondo and Kisumu counties in what they described as “private functions” but which had a strong political inclination.
A week ago, Migori governor Okoth Obado, who is viewed as a rebel in the region, was hosted by Mr David Ruto, the DP’s brother.
The plan, Mr Sudi says, is to target the youth, women’s groups and the church to reach out to the Nyanza populace and lure a significant number of voters to join DP Ruto’s bandwagon.
“We’re reaching out to the whole country because the hustler movement is not confined to a certain region,” Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono told the Nation.
A meeting convened by Mr Owalo at a Nairobi hotel in mid-May had many former foot soldiers of Mr Odinga attending. They include those who decamped after losing ODM nominations in 2013 and 2017 elections, among them former Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, former Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno and former Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo.
Also in attendance was Citizen’s Convention Party (CCP) leader Grace Akumu.
UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina told the Nation that in their recruitment drive, Nyanza is not left out. The party’s clerks, she said, are stationed in the region.
Won’t bear fruit
Mr Odinga’s troops led by Suba South MP John Mbadi have been on record saying that such meetings won’t bear fruits for the DP.
Mr Mbadi said the DP needs to understand why people of Nyanza associate with ODM and believe in Mr Odinga. The DP is also said to be making inroads in Mr Odinga’s other support bases of Western and Coast.