FILE: Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia (L) crosses the finish line as she wins the women’s 5,000 metres heats ahead of Mercy Cherono of Kenya (C) during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China August 27, 2015. REUTERS

Olympian Mercy Cherono leads over 500 runners who have confirmed participation in the inaugural Nakuru City Marathon to be ran in the streets of Nakuru town on Sunday.

The presence of Cherono who is the 2013 World Athletics Championships 5000 metres silver medalist has elicited excitement that comes with the high prize money attracting elite athletes from the athletic counties of Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi.

Kericho, Bomet, Baringo and Nakuru have also registered in the one day competition.

The marathon has been sponsored by Stanbic Bank Kenya with elite marathoner Brigid Kosgei as the brand ambassador.

The road races include 21km for elite runners, 10km for upcoming runners and 5km for family runs.

Competition will be stiff for those taking part in the main races both in men and women’s categories due to the high prize money according to Nakuru County Director of Sports Alice Gekonde.

“The prize money is very high and it is the reason, it has attracted some of the elite runners from the competitive athletic counties and a few from the rest of the country,” Gekonde told Standard Sports.

Winners of the main races will take home Sh500,000 for the 21km while the winners of the 10km races pocket Sh100,000.

All winners will be taken through a Financial Fitness and Literacy Programme by Stanbic Bank Kenya.

Runners are paying a registration fee of Sh 500.

Gekonde said some of the runners have been unable to meet the cost of registration fee and therefore the county has done so on their behalf.

“We have been forced to pay for some of the runners who are were unable to meet the cost of paying registration fee for the road races from our county sports kitty,” she said.

She said they are determined to ensure the races meet international standards after approval by Athletics Kenya.

This is the second half marathon in the county after the defunct Geothermal Half Marathon disbanded several years back.