How fast runners soon become victims of their own success in training, competition and living

Kenyan runners are already paying, in many ways, for the successes of their predecessors in running. Currently, to qualify as an elite athlete from Kenya to run any big city marathon these days, one needs to have run around 2:06:00 in the distance while for runners from other countries, times close to 2:20:00 can get them the same recognition and access to the same start lines. One can check the elite start lists of the 2018 New York City Marathon to confirm that.

But that aside, there is also the punishment that the athletes give themselves, the more they get faster in their training.

I remember one time when I was in a certain camp, we would do 1hr 10 minutes run in the morning on our easy days. These were done in a route that took us 16km to complete it, but, with time the athletes kept pushing their limits as they got fitter and fitter and some were soon covering the distance in less than one hour. This angered the coach and to correct it, he would stand at the usual finishing place so that when the athletes arrived earlier than 1hr 10 minutes, he would tell them to keep on running past the finish line until the 1hr 10 minutes elapsed.

It happens that the fitter they get, many athletes change their "easy" running paces and, without good supervision from their coaches, eventually end up hurting their general training. The same athletes would soon get burnt out from over training and may never get back to their top fitness again.

What runners would appreciate from motorists as well as from the general public

Ezekiel Kemboi training with friends in Eldoret

I am writing this with one blocked nostril and some fever after a sleepless night, and having missed to go for my 25km easy run this morning.

The previous day as I did my morning run in a group of four athletes on a rough road around Eldoret, a SUV that was raising a lot of dust quickly approached us. One of the athletes in the group waved at it to slow down in order to reduce the intensity of the cloud of dust that was about to engulf us, but to no avail. The SUV zoomed past leaving us gasping for breath inside the red cloud that lasted for a few more minutes on the road ahead of us. Interestingly, the registration number on the vehicle indicated that it belonged to an entity that the public were crying foul that they did spend a lot of money hosting parties to watch the Berlin Marathon. It is amazing that they could spend millions of Kenyan shillings to watch athletes run abroad, but cannot slow down to avoid hitting them while on their training runs here in Kenya!

That vehicle is most likely to be the cause of my illness that has resulted in my having to miss my training today. Checking the social media after waking up, I just saw another athlete complaining of having been knocked down by a motorcycle and I found my case to be even much less serious than what many other athletes go through.  But, that aside, I know there are many more motorists out there who care about athletes but may not understand how to help make their training less impossible. 

Below are some of the things that athletes would be so grateful if you would do for them on the roads.

I want to start running; how do I begin?

Perhaps being inspired by the great run by Eliud Kipchoge at the Berlin Marathon this weekend, I have been getting numerous calls and text messages from many people who are interested in joining the runners’ club.

Well, beginning to run is the best decision one can ever make in their lives. As Kipchoge himself puts it, “no human is limited.” Whatever one sets to achieve in running, they will surely do so with the right “elements.” Beginning it gradually is the best approach. Jog and walk in the first week, jog in the following week when you feel ready to do so, start running easy 30 to 45 minutes each morning in the weeks that follow and in a few more weeks you are already beginning to notice great changes in your physical fitness and are well on your way to incorporating hill and speed workouts.
What I like about running is that, as long as you have the right training shoes, apparel and a wrist watch, you can be able to begin running right away!

The joy of running and finishing the 2018 Eldoret City Marathon together with my wife on the 22nd of April 2018

As I waited for my wife at the end of the finish chute where the officials had pushed me to, so that I would not cause more jam at the finish line, I had mixed feelings. I was almost certain that my wife would be furious and was definitely going to slap me or yell at me once she crossed the finish line since I had not believed in her when she had told me she was going to finish the marathon.  And so, as I stood there, I saw too members of the medical staff carrying her towards the first aid tent. She looked so weak and I thought it was safe for me to approach her. I approached them and patted her on the shoulder, asked how she felt and whether she was able to finish the race. She didn’t reply. Instead, she grabbed and held me tightly as she cried on my shoulder. The medical staff helped me take her to the tent where they placed her on the table, put some ice on her paining legs and did some more first aid on her before I led her away.

Sally Kipyego is back again after the BAA 10K, she needs some time to fly

Sally Kipyego with daughter, Emma after BAA 10K
Olympic and world silver medalist, Sally Kipyego has been out of the limelight for a while now in matters running. She had been on a maternity leave and is now back to running again after her daughter, Emma now turns roughly 1 year. Her time of 34:31 which she ran to finish 10th, doesn't sound so impressive to everyone who knows her potential, but is understandable when she explains the circumstances leading up to the particular race.

Kipyego has been a runner-up to legendary athletes in her major championship races: She took silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, behind the legendary Tirunesh Dibaba in the women 10,000m. Before that, at the 2011 IAAF World Athletics Championships, she was the silver medalist in the 10,000 m, finishing second to none other than her compatriot and legendary Vivian Cheruiyot. In 2016, she finished as a runner-up in 2:28:01 at the New York City Marathon behind another legendary runner, Mary Keitany who won it in 2:24:26.

CONTINUATION... The joy of running and finishing the 2018 Eldoret City Marathon together with my wife

I, training in Ontario, Canada

Travelling by bus to the start line was good in that we had the chance to analyse to route that we would be using to run the first 20km. It was frightening at the same time as we noticed it was taking long for the bus to reach the starting point, yet that would just be less than half the distance we would be covering while running.
By 6:30 we were already at the starting point. There was a sea of athletes warming up and it was turning out to be a bigger race than we had imagined it would be, being an inaugural one. The villagers had turned out in large numbers to witness the race, and more were brought by the arrival of not just one, but two choppers. There was a heavy presence of security personnel on the ground and we understood why when the deputy president himself showed up and began warming up as well with other senior government officials.

The joy of running and finishing the 2018 Eldoret City Marathon together with my wife on the 22nd of April 2018

As I waited for my wife at the end of the finish chute where the officials had pushed me to, so that I would not cause more jam at the fini...