The Standard Chartered Nairobi wheel chair women defending champion, Carol Wanjira has hailed the race organisers for making sure that the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) race takes place every year since its inception 19 years ago.
The 31 year-old who trains on the highway of Thika road and the Kasarani stadium shared exclusively with Athletics News her experiences of what it takes to be where she is and the challenges she goes through as a PWD athlete to actualize her dreams.
- What are the challenges that the runners with PWD face during preparations?
We pass through a lot challenges during our training as we luck proper training facilities and the training fields which are roads that are also used by the vehicles and public in general. Most of the time when normal people see us on bikes they tend to think we are beggars. This narrative should change as we are doing and giving our best to be at the top in our area of specialization.
- How are preparations for the marathon for individuals with PWD ongoing?
Most of the time I challenge myself by training with men who push me with strength endurance and also training with former champions as they have knowledge and knowhow of the game and we learn from one or two things from them that help to propel us to greatness.
- What are some of the marathon you have participated?
I have participated in two marathons that have incorporated the wheel chair race with number one being the Standard Chartered Nairobi and the Nakuru Marathon.
We had hope that the highest paying marathon Africa, the Uhuru Classic will also consider having a race for the PWD but to our surprise the never had such.
We kindly ask that more marathons in Kenya should embrace us so that their races can be complete.
- How was the experience like?
The experience has always been great especially when being awarded with your prize. This year we expect a more challenge and new experience as the route has been changed from the normal way we are used to.
- What do you expect in this year’s Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon?
My expectation is to defend my title which I won in the last edition though am expecting I tough competition as my competitors will also be fighting for the same crown. But am ready to fight for what belongs to me.
- What can you tell organizers of the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon for individuals with PWD?
First and foremost, we are grateful to the Standard Chartered Nairobi race organisers for allowing us all those many years to participate and win something for ourselves.
Secondly it’s one of the most organized race for the PWD in the country and it gives us hope to train and prepare for the editions ahead of us. I want to encourage parents who have children with disability that there is a good future for them in our society.
Wanjira who is trained by Sarah Ribeshe won her race today during the launch of Training Program for Persons with Disabilities. she took the honors in a time of 28:13 and was followed by Eunice Otieno in 29:06 with Teresia wanjiku closing the podium three finishes in 29:29.
Speaking during the launch event at Parklands Sports Club, Mr. Peter Gitau, Chair of the Local Organising Committee said, “At Standard Chartered, we believe in a fair and balanced world, where everyone is welcome to participate and given the same chances in a safe and inclusive environment. We aim to boost access and equality within our events by running outreach programmes and partnering with local organisations to understand how we can improve accessibility to our events for people living with disabilities.”