The Greatest Race on Earth (GROE) with a cash prize pool of US$1.5 million was launched on Tuesday in Nairobi, Kenya by the principal sponsor Standard Chartered Bank.
The series kicks off in the Kenyan capital on 29 October during the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon held at an altitude of over 1600 metres above sea level, followed by the island race facing humidity and heat in Singapore (3 December).
The third round is the Historic race through centuries of history, temperatures raising up to 30 degrees Celsius and 100 percent humidity of Mumbai (12 January 2007) and conclude with the harbour race in Hong Kong (March 4) Marathon races.
The launch coincided with the naming of the Kenya team which will be vying the US$400,000 Nations Challenge for various countries national teams of which the four chosen athletes will run in a relay looking for the lowest cumulative time. Teams already confirmed are from Europe, Asia, Europe, United States and Canada.
Kenya has settled on a fairly young team led by Edward Muge, a member the triumphant team of 2005/06 last year who will run the final leg in Hong Kong or the Harbour race. Sammy Karanja, winner of 2006 Brescia Half Marathon and 30k national trials two weeks ago will run in Nairobi with little known John Mutai doing Singapore and Vincent Kiplagat in Mumbai.
This series is an inspiration of blind athlete Henry Wanyoike who will also compete in the four races to raise funds for for Seeing is believing Charity.
Peter Njenga (Daily Nation) for the IAAF