Garissa University Monday held its third anniversary, with a 10km marathon race for both men and women, in remembrance of the 148 lives lost through a cruel act of terror.
Garissa University dean of students Abdirahaman Amoo said since the incident, enrollment has shot up from 750 to 1,195 but confessed that it took time for parents and guardians to accept that their children were safe at the institution.
Amoo who was also affected by the attack noted that he moved on after intensive psychological counseling and now tries to counsel new students.
The CEC in charge of gender, sports and social services Zainab Abdi said the road race was meant to empathize with the families, friends and relative of those who perished in the hands of the Al-Shabaab militia.
“The message we are sending is that it’s only those students who lost their lives, it’s us the people of Garissa who are most affected. We stand with them in solidarity that is why we keep on remembering them,” Zainab said.
The 10km road race for both men and women was sponsored by Athletics Kenya and will be an annual event.
Athletics Kenya (AK) North Eastern region chairman Abdullahi Salat has urged reputable corporate institution in the country to sponsor the Garissa University memorial marathon.
Salat said with more sponsors coming in they would be able to invite international athletes.
“We don’t take it lightly that 148 people were killed. It’s for this reason that we want to have this day commemorated annually as one way of promoting peace and remembering the departed soles,” Salat said.
“When we attract international athletes, we are putting the name of Garissa town on the international map. This will translate to Garissa being a safe destination and icon for peace,” he added.
Purity Nganga from Nyahururu won the women’s race in 15 minutes 45 seconds while Linus Ruto from Uasin Gishu County finished the race in 13 minutes 54 seconds, topping the male category.
The event attracted over 200 athletes from across the country was organized by the institution as a sign of resilience and having moved on.
Salat said that from next year they will be awarding the top local athletes as one way of promoting the sport in the area.