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Leaders, envoys sweat out with thousands of Kenyans at Beyond Zero

07 March 2016, 09:26 Arap Yego

Nairobi - Top Jubilee leaders, government officials and a number of diplomats Sunday joined thousands of Kenyans to participate in the third edition of the First Lady's half marathon.

Deputy President William Ruto led other leaders who took part in the marathon whose proceeds will go to support the Beyond Zero campaign which aims at eradicating maternal deaths by providing better healthcare systems for pregnant mothers across the country.

The Deputy President who took slightly less than an hour to complete the 10km race, which most of the notable personalities chose to participate in, was at hand to receive First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, her Rwandese counterpart Janet Kagame and his wife Rachel Ruto after they completed the run.

Cabinet Secretaries Joseph Nkaissery (Interior), Jacob Kaimenyi (Lands), Cleopa Mailu (Health), and Hassan Wario (Sports) as well as Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett participated in the race, all finishing behind Ruto.

US Ambassador Robert Godec and his Eritrean colleague Beyene Russom completed the list of VIP's who sweat it out on the road race with thousands of Kenyans, some who arrived at Nyayo Stadium as early as 5am.

Speaking after the race, Ruto said the government is proud of what the First Lady has done in the past three years, noting that the beyond Zero campaign complements what the Jubilee administration is doing in the entire health sector.

"Right from our initiative on maternal and pre-maternal healthcare, to the expanded National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) that now has over 5.8 million contributors and managed equipment service run by the ministry of health that provides referral facilities in 92 hospitals across the country, your campaign dovetails what the government is involved in," said Ruto.

"We want to say congratulations as government and we shall walk with you in this initiative, to ensure beyond zero campaigns and clinics succeed, so that we can build on what has been achieved in the past," added the Deputy President.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who is away on a two day state visit to Ghana, made a surprise to those who attended the event, through a pre-recorded video, much to the excitement of the crowd.

He apologized for not being present in the third edition of the marathon, and explained that he is in Accra Ghana on the invitation of his Ghanaian colleague President John Dramani Mahama, to discuss a number of bilateral issues.

"I am proud of the commitment of the First Lady to this initiative. I am grateful to all those who participated in the run. Your support displays the best of Kenya and the best of Kenyans," said President Kenyatta.

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