John Stephen Akhwari Marathon set for Arusha next month

18May 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
John Stephen Akhwari Marathon set for Arusha next month

ARUSHA is planning a special athletics event to honour the ace national athlete, John Stephen Akhwari, who had done Tanzania proud in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico more than 50 years ago.

John Stephen Akhwari

The race, known as the John Stephen Akhwari Marathon, will be staged in the region on June 9.

Few people know John Stephen Akhwari, the former national marathon runner, who represented Tanzania in the 1968 Olympics and managed to complete the race despite badly injuring his leg.

Akhwari coined the golden quote; “My country did not send me 5000 miles to start the race, they sent me to finish it!”

The ace legendary runner repeated the same immortal line during a press conference held in Arusha yesterday.

Born in 1938, Mzee John Stephen Akhwari was 30 years old when he dislocated his knee during the 1968 Summer Olympics, but still continued to limp his way to the finishing line.

Aged 81 years, Mzee Akhwari is still strong. “I was the first Tanzanian athlete to open the curtains into international marathon events,” he said.

“This race being organized in my honour should encourage young people to take bold steps into similar sporting expeditions regardless of either their backgrounds or capabilities.”

John Stephen Akhwari Marathon’s Director, Sylvester Orao, said the maiden event starts with 21 kilometers race next month.

However, during the second installment of race, to be held in 2020, the race will expand into full marathon.

Winners of the main 21 kilometers’ race, in both men and women categories will earn 800,000/- apiece while the first runners-up are going to pocket 600,000/- apiece and the third winners to get 400,000/- apiece.

The fourth winners will earn 250,000/-, while those finishing in the fifth position are to get 200,000/-.

The sixth winners will receive 170,000/-, the seventh will pocket 150,000/-, the eighth-placed winners will receive 130,000/- whilst the ninth will get 100,000/- and the 10th will take 70,000/-.

Arusha Regional Athletics Association Chairman, Jackson Jorwa, disclosed that preparations are ready and maintained that the race will be successful despite taking place for the first time.