Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie – who set 27 World records in his long career, and is widely considered one of the greatest distance runners in history – has thrown his support behind the Kenya Champions Walk for Peace.
It will see a group of top Kenyan athletes – including Wilson Kipsang, who broke Gebrselassie’s Marathon record in 2013 – carrying a torch for humanity over 522 miles in 22 days through the heart of the Rift Valley from Lodwar, Turkana to the shores of Lake Bogoria, starting 15 July.
Gebrselassie, who announced his retirement from competitive running less than two months ago, will join the Kenyan champions during the final day of their walk on 6th August, for the closing few miles to the finish.
“When people are being killed and driven from their homes, it’s a tragedy for all of us,” says Gebrselassie. “That’s why I’m thrilled to be joining the Kenya Champions Walk for Peace, using my profile to support peace-building with the Aegis Trust to end the violence and save lives in Kenya’s North Rift Valley. You don’t have to be a champion like me to join in though. Come to www.walkforpeace.co.ke and get involved!”
The athletes are aiming to raise $250,000 in sponsorship from fans and the public to kickstart a peace-building programme that will engage at least 10,000 young people at risk of being drawn into the ethnic violence, saving lives and preventing suffering in the Rift Valley.
They include Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, Paul Tergat, Tegla Loroupe, Ezekiel Kemboi, John Kelai, Irine Jerotich, Andrew Lesuuda, Alex Kipchirchir, Stephen Kiprotich and Douglas Wakiihuri.