Why October is a Marathon, not a sprint, for G4S Kenya
Since the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon began 20 years ago, G4S has been a proud sponsor and partner of the event. This year was no different, with a donation made, and hundreds of security officers worked tirelessly to keep spectators and runners safe along the route and managing traffic.
In total, approximately 1,000 G4S officers were on duty at the same time, securing the marathon and the Tusker OktobaFest - East Africa's biggest beer festival.
October is a Marathon, not a sprint
The planning for the Nairobi Marathon security operation is months in the making - six months in fact.
Each year a debrief and ‘lessons learnt’ meeting of all strategic partners is held in around February - four months after the event. The security operation plans then begin in May.
Jackson Miano, Head of Business Development for Secure Logistics and International Courier Services at G4S Kenya and Liaison Manager of the security operation for the marathon, said: “Following the debrief in February, it’s almost straight back to the drawing board and to implement any changes for us. The benefits of debriefing and then moving straight into the planning phase is that we can clearly evaluate what worked and where we may need to make improvements and adjustments.”
From May onwards, Jackson regularly meets with partners, the organisers and his team run exercises to prepare for any eventuality. As the launch date gets closer, these meetings increase in regularity. The week before the Marathon, Jackson meets with all those involved daily.
The day before the marathon (Saturday 28 October), G4S worked with the traffic police to close roads and staff them overnight and until the run had concluded on the Sunday. Hundreds of officers also protected the Uhuru Gardens, where runners collected their results, kept hydrated and partners set up stalls and tables at the finishing enclosure.
With approximately 10,000 participants of all ages and abilities running, plus supporters and families descending along the 42km route, a visible security presence was vital.
“We deployed just over 600 security officers for this event every year and we make sure they are visible in order to deter any criminals, but also so members of the public can see us if they need our help," said Jackson. “We work really closely with the country's security services, police and Army and deploy six of our own response vehicles at strategic locations along the route.
“With so many people coming in and out of the ‘hot-zone’, the officers on the ground managed crowd control and kept an eye out for anything suspicious.”
As runners crossed the finishing line, they were able to visit the G4S tent and inquire about recruitment opportunities as well as purchase goods such as fire detectors, first aid kits and other household security items.
Jackson adds: “With hundreds of sites across the country and employment opportunities at G4S Kenya, we also like to encourage runners - after they’ve cooled down - to come along to our tent and find out about the roles we have available. These include security officers and courier drivers, amongst many others.”
A post-marathon drink at OktobaFest
Coinciding with the marathon, Kenya’s capital city also hosted the Tusker OktobaFest, from Friday to Sunday.
With thousands of Kenyans thought to have attended the venue only 10 km away from the finishing line, approximately 400 security officers were deployed daily.
Like the marathon, G4S security officers were at the site a day early, securing the venue and its contents. Throughout the festival, officers were on hand providing crowd management, keeping people safe, protecting the stalls and produce, and checking wrist bands for entrants.
Each day of the event, a sniffer dog was deployed to detect any unauthorised items such drugs or weapons. A sweep took place following the set up, once the suppliers had set up their stalls and equipment and before guests entered.
Jackson concluded: “This is without a doubt the busiest weekend of the year for our security officers in Kenya. We’re very proud to be part of such an amazing weekend and to have looked after so many thousands of spectators and party-goers.
“Security officers can sometimes be the forgotten heroes, and without their hard work and commitment to keeping everyone safe over the weekend, a security risk could have been right around the corner. I’m very grateful to all my G4S colleagues for their work and for pulling off another safe and secure weekend.”