Bujumbura Marathon supported by Olympic Champions

The first edition of Marathon has been held at Bujumbura this 31th August. It has been supported by two Olympic champions from Kenya. About 600 people have participated among which Congolese, Burundians as well as foreigners living in Burundi.-By Lorraine Josiane Manishatse

The two Kenyan Champions Wilfred Bungei (first from left)and Wilson Kipsang( fourth from left)with some of participants ©Iwacu

The two Kenyan Champions Wilfred Bungei (first from left)and Wilson Kipsang( fourth from left)with some of participants ©Iwacu

The first Edition of Bujumbura Marathon held on this 31st August has been a success. People have responded massively. According to Honorable Hafsa Mossi, Vice President of BUMOC (Bujumbura Marathon Organization Committee), the presence of Olympic Champions in that marathon has encouraged Burundians to participate. It is also a good opportunity for Burundian athletes to get contact with them. “Thanks to the Kenya Embassy in Burundi which has organized the Marathon, Wilson Kipsang the 2013 Olympic Champion and Wilfred Bungei the 2008 Olympic Champion have taken part in that Marathon. Their presence should inspire young Burundians to practice sport as a profession and not only as a hobby,” she highlights.

Hafsa Mossi indicates that they should praise the way people have responded massively despite some problems. The number of attendees has significantly surpassed the expected number. “We can’t receive all people who want to participate in this marathon. There are some who have come in the morning for enrolment but materials like numbers, T shirts were over. The means provided for that event couldn’t not be enough for all participants,” she explains.
She points out that they have met some challenges like the non-respect of the starting time. “I hope that we will be more careful in the second edition,” she says.

Wilfred Bungei is impressed by the massive participation of people. “As it is the first edition of Marathon in Burundi, I didn’t expect to see this big number of participants. Something that has impressed me more is the way people along the streets applauded when athletes were running,” he praises. However, he recommends the organization group to make more advertisements for the second edition because some people have not been informed about the Marathon Event in time. Futhermore, they should avail water in many positions along the street so that participants could get it if need be.

For Dieudonné Matabaro Bakenga, the President of Congolese Delegation, the event has gone very well. “It is impressive to have that number of participants while it is the first edition. This shows that Burundians are fans of athletics,” he says. He indicates that the organizers should distinguish the athletes’ numbers according to the distance. “Today the marathons of 21Km, 10km and 3km are not distinguished regarding the number of participants,” he emphasizes.
Bungei regrets that Burundi had Olympic champions last years and wonders what has happened these days. “Burundians should organize many marathon events to give much opportunity of trainings to Burundian athletes. They should also participate in regional and international competitions for example in Kenya, there are at least three big competitions organized each year,” he says.