It has produced some of the country’s finest athletes and Elgeyo Marakwet County is set to produce even more following the setting up of a special facility to train runners.
Last week, the Sh4.8 million Marakwet-based Shoe4Africa Moses Kiptanui School and Sports Academy opened its doors to thousands of potential athletes who hope to leave a mark in the global scene.
The project, which took six months to be completed, is designed to identify young athletics talent and to offer the athletes scholarship to study at the institution while nurturing their sporting ability.
Project founder and director of Shoe4Africa Foundation, Toby Tanser, said it has been his drive to grow athletics talent in Kenya and that the school would help mould future stars.
He said he opted to name the institution after renowned athlete Moses Kiptanui so that students would emulate him.
“I came to Kenya and liked the athletics potentiality this country basks in and thought of establishing schools with which these children can study and at the same time succeed old runners. We are thinking of establishing a gym in due course,” Mr Tanser said.”
“And with the help of the school, teachers can help identify talent more easily as they stay close with them,” he added.
Mr Kiptanui, a former world steeplechase record holder, said he is glad to give back to the community where he grew up, adding he has been dreaming that one day his village would dominate the world of athletics.
He said he would team up with Mr Tanser to offer the scholarships for the best performers in class, thus blending sport and education.
“It is good to excel in athletics but even much prestigious to curve an image in both the fields of education and the sport,” said Mr Kiptanui.
He said he would be offering training lessons during weekends to children who are passionate about athletics.
So far, the Shoe4Africa Foundation under Mr Tanser has spent about $2.5 million on school projects namely, Shoe4Africa Janeth Jepkosgei Primary school, Shoe4Africa Martin Lel-both in Nandi County and the already completed soon to be launched Shoe4Africa Sally Kipyego also in Elgeyo Marakwet.
The Kiptanui academy will be the fourth one.
Athletics Kenya North Rift Chairman Michael Rotich said the school will help boost education and nurture young talent.