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April 19 - 25, 2013


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Top runners aim to promote tea tourism international marathon

The race will involve a 42 km full marathon for professionals and a 10 km race for non professionals and a 5 km family race

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s tea markets and Athletics Kenya (AK) will organize an international marathon to promote tea tourism as part of the country’s agri-tourism initiative and help nurture emerging athletes.

The Tea Board of Kenya and AK said on Tuesday that the May 4 Tea for Health International Marathon will bring together over 1, 000 athletes drawn from the local and international arena with a majority being the upcoming athletes.

The race will involve a 42 km full marathon for professionals and a 10 km race for non professionals and a 5 km family race,” TBK Managing Director Sicily Kariuki said in Nairobi.

This year’s event has incorporated a comprehensive tourism package targeted at the runners who may wish to enjoy a deeper experience of Kenya, covering tea farms, tea factories and a tour of the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Kariuki said that during the past editions and coupled with other promotion activities, Tea Board of Kenya and the tea industry stakeholders have been able to show case the “Kenya Tea” brand to the rest of the world. Kenya is currently the world’s leading exporter of black tea.

The primary purpose of the marathon is to focus the health conscious world to Kenya as the origin of high quality tea,” Kariuki said.

Ancillary to this, the marathon will provide opportunities for tea tourism as part of the country’s agri-tourism initiative, and nurture emerging athletes,” she added.

Kariuki said the top prize for the 42-km marathon will be 17, 800 U.S. dollars for each of the winners in the men and women categories. This is the fourth edition of the race, with others held in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Kariuki further said that TBK is hopeful that through hosting the tea run, world champions will emerge to compete in the global arena and further enhance the message of tea being a healthy drink known to promote numerous health benefits.

Although Kenya is ranked third in annual tea production after China and India, the country has the highest productivity (yield per hectare) compared to other major tea growing regions worldwide.

This is attributable to deployment of appropriate research and development technologies in the production value chain as spearheaded by the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK).

Of these technologies, the use of improved vegetatively propagated tea cultivars is the most important without which application of optimal agronomic inputs like fertilizer and harvesting practices would be futile.


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