First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s Beyond Zero Marathon won’t take place this year.
In a statement by the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU), 2017 Beyond Zero has been cancelled after the cause took a political turn instead of continuing its purpose – which is outlined as raising awareness on public health and promoting maternal health programmes.
“Four years I ago, I asked Kenyans to join me on a journey: a marathon to end maternal and child mortality across the country.
“Over the last four years, we have worked together—we have run together bonded by our shared conviction that no mother should die while giving life and that every child should live to see their 5th birthday.
“We have done more together than I imagined possible. We have run marathons and raised enough money to purchase 47 fully equipped mobile clinics delivered to every single County in Kenya.
“Throughout the last four years, our partners—from ordinary Kenyans, to workers in the health sector, to civil society, to policy makers, to the business community and international donors—have given Beyond Zero the inspiration and impetus it has needed to keep going.
“This year, I was looking forward to running yet another marathon – a Gratitude Marathon.
“I was preparing to celebrate with Kenyans to say thank you for running with me and for supporting Beyond Zero. You have all made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of women, men and children, in our great nation.
“My ultimate purpose was to ensure that no mother or child lost their lives unnecessarily and I believe that this is something which should be owned by all of us.
“However, I have never been willing to politicize this agenda. As a consequence I feel it necessary to cancel the First Lady’s Half Marathon this year.
“I remain committed to and will not deviate from my ultimate goal, which is the betterment of maternal healthcare in this country, and, to build the Beyond Zero Referral Hospital.
“I want to reassure all Kenyans that this is a commitment that will remain with me throughout my life.”