How one Kenyan runner is coping with the tough economic times

Joshua Kiplimo working out in his homemade gym.

Perhaps someone might be interested in sponsoring this talented and hardworking runner who has been forced to train alone in a remote village due to tough economic times.

Even before the pandemic came along and made life more difficult, I had experienced and heard many stories of Kenyan runners struggling to fend for themselves as they trained hard before finally making it in life. Some don’t even want to be reminded of the hard times they went through.

There was a time I would see a runner do a tough workout in the morning, then, since his home was far away and he would anyway not find food even if he went there, would just loiter around until he does another evening run with the training group before going home. I saw him trembling with hunger one day, took him to a hotel, and ordered something small for him since I was also struggling. As he was about to sit down, he saw a 200 shilling note ($2) on the ground. It was as though something big had happened to his life as he quickly stepped on the note and sat down still for such a long time. He cautiously looked around to make sure that no one else besides me had seen him. Sweating, he slowly bent down and removed the note from the ground. He then pressed it hard in his fist, partly to make sure he actually had the money in his hand and was not just another dream, and partly to make sure that no one would snatch it away from him. He then ordered a heavy meal for himself and used the money to pay for it.

Well, that was way before the pandemic.

Quickly to the present and I now came across this amazing young runner who was forced to move out of a room he was renting out in order to be able to train with the rest of the runners here, but his resilience has seen him construct a gym for himself in the village by recycling and improvising some used containers, bags, and other materials.

Below are some of the videos of him training in his improvised gym.

Monaco Diamond League meeting will stage the highly anticipated head to head competitions this year!

Faith Kipyegon already in Monaco for the Diamond League meeting on 9th July. Photo courtesy of Faith Kipyegon's Facebook page.

It has been more than one year since Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot ran against Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen. The men’s 1500m race here will finally present the opportunity for the two to face each other. Cheruiyot has the fastest seasonal best and personal best times on the start list, but his opponent could see a weakness in the fact that he finished fourth at the Kenyan Olympic trials and was not named in the team. Ingebrigtsen who has been unbeaten in the 1500m and 5000m distances this year, and is ranked as world number two behind Cheruiyot, will most likely be hoping to prove that he is the best in the world by beating the best.

Another one of the highly anticipated races of the evening will be the women’s 1500m race that has Netherland’s Sifan Hassan and Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon. The two ran a fantastic race last month in Rome where Hassan registered a world-leading and meeting record time of 3:53.63 as she edged Kipyegon who registered a new national record and a personal best time of 3:53.91. Hailu Freweyni of Ethiopia is the only other competitor with a seasonal best time of under 4 minutes, but the clear protagonists here will be Hassan and Kipyegon.

My stories on day 1, 2 and 3 of the Kenyan Olympic Trials

Hellen Obiri after winning the world 5000m title in Doha. Photo courtesy of World Athletics

Day one:

A quality field in the women’s 5000m straight final marked the beginning of the Kenyan Olympic Trials at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi. All the big names, nine of them, stuck together up to the last 800m of the race when there was a quick increase in the pace as the runners jostled for their vantage positions coming to the bell.

Lilian Kasait who had been patient throughout the race, suddenly came to the front in the last lap and sprinted with about 300m. A single file formed behind her as Hellen Obiri fought hard to close her gap, in vain. Kasait took the title followed by Obiri in second and Agnes Tirop in third. Margaret Chelimo, Beatrice Chebet and Mercy Cherono followed for 4th, 5th and 6th places.

Faith Kipygon, as expected, easily won the women’s 1500m final leading from gun to tape. Winnie Chebet, the only other woman to have made the qualification time on the start list finished second.

Brazil is arguably the most inspirational team at the world relays in Silesia

Dos Santos of Brazil in action. Photo by World Athletics

Brazil, and other countries including India, are some of the countries that have been hugely affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, and it was great to see them able to make it to the world relays. It should be a great inspiration to the rest of the world that it is possible to fight the virus and return back to our normal lives again, by following the set rules and guidelines by our medical experts. That the world has not yet come to an end and we can still play, enjoy life and stay active again.

Sometimes, when an election draws near, politicians employ many tricks to win the hearts of the electorates. One of them is that of acting as victims of some circumstances in order to gain some “sympathy votes.”

One of the sad moments on the first day was that of Brazil getting disqualified in heat one of the women’s 4x100m relay. Considering that other nations, like the USA and Jamaica, opted to stay out of the championships due to the pandemic, and the number of tests and commitment that the Brazilian team endured to appear at the relays, perhaps the officials should have looked at the incident where one of the runners stepped on the line more leniently.