Elite Kenyan Runners Delay Trip to U.S. Over Hurricane Sandy
Elite Kenyan runners penned for Sunday’s New York Marathon had not left the country by Wednesday evening as organisers continue battling to have 50,000 runners start the race following the raving hurricane Sandy.
According to Athletics Kenya president, Isaiah Kiplagat, the federation was awaiting communication from organisers on whether it was safe for them to fly out to the Big Apple city collaterally damaged by super storm that passed through the American East Coast on Monday.
“They are still around (in Nairobi) waiting to be told of their travelling plans and I can confirm none of them has left the country yet,” Kiplagat said on Wednesday.
“We expect communication from them by tomorrow morning (Thursday) so that we can be certain that our athletes will be safe. What happened there is very unfortunate and we understand the pain organisers are going through.”
Berlin marathon champion, Geoffrey Mutai, who is scheduled to travel on Thursday to New York for his coronation as the 2011/2012 World Marathon Majors winner, said they were disturbed about their prospects to make it there in time.
“I have seen what happened there on television and it was a huge blow to the city. My colleagues left here (Eldoret) yesterday (Tuesday) but I understand their flights were held back.”
“I will leave here tomorrow but I’m not sure how this will turn out in the end,” he said from his Kapng’ etuny training base.
London marathon winner, Wilson Kipsang, the fastest man drawn in the men’s field (2:03:42), former two-time New York winner, Martin Lel, last year’s Berlin Marathon champion, Moses Mosop and Paris crown holder, Stanley Biwott, are the headliners from Kenya in the men’s race.
World marathon champion and 2010 New York winner, Edna Kiplagat and Boston titleholder, Sharon Cherop are scheduled to take part in the women’s race.
On Wednesday, organisers once again reiterated they would press on with organising the event and bringing the expected 50,000 elite and amateur runners to the Staten Island start.
New York Road Runners president and CEO, Mary Wittenberg was quoted saying that the race would be used to showcase the resilience of New Yorkers after they were hit by the largest storm ever recorded.