Emmanuel Wanyonyi nominated for the World Athletics Male Rising Star of the Year Award

Emmanuel Wanyonyi, photo by World Athletics

This week, Emmanuel Wanyonyi has been announced to be one of the five nominees for the World Athletics title of the male rising star of the year. Below is a story I did of him after visiting their camp in Kapsabet, a few days after his spectacular performance at the World Athletics Under 20 championships in Kasarani

Thanks to Janeth Jepkosgei who allowed me to visit her training camp and interact with the young runners there, I was lucky to meet Emmanuel Wanyonyi, who was back at the camp after his amazing 1:43.76 800m run to win the world athletics U20 title in Kasarani. The camp had a total of three runners winning medals at the championships.

From an almost hopeless situation of being a paid herder who lived from hand to mouth, Wanyonyi saw some runners out on training while he was herding cattle and asked himself, "why not try this too?"

By then he had dropped out of primary school due to financial difficulties in their family and had spent "some years" herding cattle at the village in order to get some money to cater for some of his basic needs. Herding is one of the hardest, despised, and low-paying jobs here in Kenya.

The first run that Wanyonyi did after he decided to become a runner was about fifteen laps on a nearby school track, which he didn't count. His legs and body would hurt him so much the following day, but he never lost hope.

"I would just go out running whenever I had the time, not knowing what distance I was covering nor the duration I would spend in a single run. Sometimes, I would use the track on the primary school nearby and one time some teachers saw me training hard and asked me to go back to school so that I would represent them at the track and field games." Wanyonyi explained how he started running.

At school, Wanyonyi finally got to represent his primary school in track events ranging from 5,000m down to 400m. But, interestingly, he won all the race distances in school. He proceeded to the regional level where he ran in the 1500m, 3,000m steeplechase, and the 4x400m relays and made it to the nationals where he got to meet the principal of Kosirai High School who invited him to report at the school for his secondary education in 2020.

Runner at the 2021 New York City Marathon improves his PB from 4:04:09 to 3:19:17!

What a weekend it was for me as a Kenyan online distance running coach!

Two of the runners that I coach online improved on their marathon personal best times; one from 4:04:09, down to 3:19:17, and another one from 3:32:11, a time he ran on the same race last year, to 3:14:05!

I definitely had to write something down to remember this amazing weekend. The greatest joy comes when the runners I coach reaps great results out of their commitment and hard work. I have been having some great feedback from other runners I coach as they run new personal best times after another. But, this could be the best weekend I will ever experience as an online coach. One of the runners even registered personal best times across distances from 10K, 15K, 20K, half marathon, 30K…. all through to the Marathon, in one single race!

The two races were on the 7th of November with the two runners running on two different continents. Faisal Shafi was running the Istanbul Marathon while Anthony Galsim was running the New York City Marathon.

A Master Class in Elite Marathon Training

Jane Mepham with Annex athletics group in Eldoret

This is a guest blog by Jane Mepham who is based in Austin Texas, but had the opportunity to visit Kenya; the land of champions. Below is the experience she got on her tour of Eldoret, Kaptagat, and Iten. 

Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to train with a group of elite runners in Kenya when I visited my coach Justin and his family. What I ended up with can only be described as a Masterclass in Elite Marathon Training.

I started training with Justin at the start of 2020, and as I detailed my first six months, it’s been a great journey for me. I have learned a lot about running and I’m making steady improvements. A big portion of this is my mental shift in running.

With more races opening, I’m excited that I’ll be able to run my first Marathon early next year. This was one of my goals when I started working with Justin and nothing has changed.

 The Land of The Champions

Eldoret is about 320 km from Nairobi by road but only about 264 km by air (about 160 miles), so it’s a quick flight.

From the moment you land at the Eldoret airport, you realize you are in the land of the elite runners and the towns are not shy about declaring this fact via huge signboards everywhere.

Memories of Agnes Tirop by some Kenyan runners


Agnes Tirop after running the 10K women's only world record. Photo by Getty Images
In the latest feature from World Athletics' Spikes magazine, some Kenyan runners talk about the memories they have of the late Agnes Tirop and how they were fond of her.

Peres Jepchirchir (Olympic marathon champion, women’s-only half marathon world record holder)

I was honoured to be the one who handed Agnes Tirop the flowers after she ran the 10km world record in Herzogenaurach, Germany. I had been invited by the organisers of the event and I was so happy for her.

Since 2014, I got to know Agnes and she had become a friend. She even came to stay and train with me in Kapsabet for about two weeks in 2015. This was after I had suffered a hip injury and recovered. She had a similar injury problem and had decided to come and stay with me so that she could get to work with the same physiotherapist who helped me heal. 

Read the rest of the story at Spikes: Agnes Tirop Memories

Information on my marathon and long distance running online coaching programs

Kenyan Athlete with fans in Canada The happenings from 2016 to 2018 have inspired me tremendously to take up the job of helping others...