INAUGURAL BUJUMBURA MARATHON A GREAT SUCCESS
(Posted 02nd September 2014)
Big names from the world of athletics came to Bujumbura last weekend with the Kenyan contingent led by none other than Wilson Kipsang, holder of the world marathon record accompanied by 800 metres Olympic champion Wilfred Bungei and many others from the region, giving prominence to the Bujumbura event and showing solidarity with Burundi’s effort to position itself at last as an equal partner in the East African Community.
Burundi’s Tourism Board, which offices were only repainted a week earlier under a self-help initiative by the tourism fraternity, was the main driver behind the event.
The three races, a half marathon of 21 kilometres and a 10 and 3 kilometre race were all well attended and the course through Bujumbura lined with spectators, cheering on amateurs and the more professional athletes who had come to race each other.
Carmen Nibigira, CEO of the Burundi Tourism Office – leaving shortly on study leave to complete her Ph.D. studies in the United States – was swift to point out that the event, among other objectives, was to strike a partnership with Kenya as the country’s Embassy was one of the key sponsors of the event. ‘I run for fraternity, I love Bujumbura’ was the theme of for the races, adding sports to the objective to position Bujumbura as East Africa’s culture and culinary capital. Key sponsors of the inaugural event were among others Kenya Airways, the Kenya Commercial Bank, the Kenya Ports Authority and the Paul Tergat Foundation which nurtures young sporting talent.
The winners were reportedly all Burundians and according to Carmen Nibigira: ‘Everyone who participated was a winner. The objective was to participate and come to share the fraternity in our amazing capital Bujumbura, a city in which we love sport and practice it with pride. This is what makes our capital unique and stand out’.
Well there you have it, Bujumbura and the whole of Burundi awaits with more events and festivals and all and of course to explore the shores of Lake Tanganyika and the forests and parks.