A visit to Lornah Kiplagat’s track in Iten during its construction

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Lornah Kiplagat's track in Iten

On the 14th day of January 2013, work began on the site of the track that was being constructed by Lornah Kiplagat in Iten, Kenya. 



The field had to be cleared, and all the loose soil excavated and carried out of the site before being replaced by hard subsoil brought from nearby quarries and leveled.

Could Kenya's dominance in the men's 3000m steeplechase end at the 2019 Doha world championships?

Ezekiel Kemboi, Brimin Kipruto, Conseslus Kipruto and Jairus Birech
Among the burning questions and curiosity on what to expect at the IAAF world championships this year is: Will Kenya’s supremacy in the men’s 3000m steeplechase continue past the Doha championships?

Since the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Conseslus Kipruto has not only been fighting to keep a stellar record in his running career but as well to –single-handedly- keep the Kenyan tradition of dominating the event. He followed that by winning the World Championship title in 2017, the Commonwealth Games title in 2018 and the Continental Cup title. But, with the growing strength in competition and interest from other nations, it remains to be seen how long one man is going to keep Kenya on top.

Kenyan Athlete becomes an online coach!

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



I have voluntarily coached a good number of runners over the last three years who have returned some amazing results in their running achievements. I am deciding to make it official. I have now decided to become an online coach in all matters related to running, especially long distance running. It has always been my passion to provide tips on all the dynamics of training from starting running, mileage loading, different types of speed workouts and when/how to start them, hill workouts, avoiding injury, and preparing a program that takes all these into consideration.

Peres Jepchirchir, Edith Chelimo, Valary Jemeli and Stacy Ndiwa to run Ottawa 10K

Start of the 2016 Ottawa 10K
With the presence of Peres Jepchirchir, the 2016 world half-marathon champion and also the winner of the 2016 Ottawa 10K; Stacy Ndiwa, the reigning African 10,000m champion; Valary Jemeli Ayabei, Gelete Alemayehu and Edith Chelimo, among others, this year’s Ottawa 10K race will be an exciting one to watch.

The IAAF gold label race will be held in Canada's capital city of Ottawa on Saturday the 25th of May a day ahead of the Ottawa marathon, another IAAF gold label race.



The Ottawa 10K is the only IAAF Gold Label 10K event in Canada and one of only four IAAF Gold label 10Ks in the world.

Chengdu Marathon becomes an official candidate race for the Abbott World Marathon Majors

Runners participating in the 2018 Chengdu Internationa Marathon. Photo courtesy of China Daily
Another city marathon could soon be joining Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, New York and Chicago city marathons as part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. 



The China Athletic Association, Chengdu Municipal People’s Government, Wanda Group and the Abbott World Marathon Majors have announced the Chengdu Marathon as an official candidate race for the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM).

A visit to one unique training camp for young and upcoming runners in Kaptagat, Kenya

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The Complete Sports Camp in Kaptagat
This is my story on a visit to one of the most unique athletics training camps in Kenya some time in 2017



In this warm, dusty and dry weather across most parts of Kenya, I could hardly believe the changes that I found by simply driving 26km out of Eldoret town this Wednesday (18th January 2017) to Kaptagat's relatively new training camp.

The air coming from the adjacent Kaptagat forest was amazingly cool and refreshing. "This is one of the reasons why I come here almost annually to spent my holidays and mentor the young athletes here," said Urs Haenni from Switzerland. "Nowhere else in the world can one find such an amazing weather."

My thoughts on the daily addition of new Guinness world records in running

Fastest marathon dressed as a book character (female)
The fastest marathon dressed as a book character (female) is 3 hr 08 min 34 sec and was achieved by Naomi Flanagan (UK), dressed as Tinkerbell, at the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon, in London, UK, on 24 April 2016. Photo from The Guinness World Records 
I have been spending some sleepless nights of late thinking about the possibility of becoming the best marathon runner in the world, given that Eliud Kipchoge has already made the world record almost superhuman to achieve at 2:01:39. Then this thought struck me. What if I go for a Guinness world record instead? Why not just run a 3hr marathon holding some weights? Why push so much to run close to a sub 2hr marathon when I could just wear a suit, or a skirt, and become the fastest ever marathon runner wearing a suit?



Just before writing this article, I decided to run a new Guinness world record of 5 meters running backward on one foot, which I did in four seconds! Thinking I had done the hardest part and only needed to submit the record to the Guinness Book,

Ezekiel Kemboi embarks on his marathon career this weekend at the 2019 Hamburg Marathon

Ezekiel Kemboi with yours truly in a past photo
While Eliud Kipchoge will be running on the streets of London Marathon this Sunday the 28th of April, Ezekiel Kemboi will be making his marathon debut in Hamburg; the same marathon that Kipchoge did his debut in 2013 setting a new course record of 2:05:30. Five years later, the course record still stands and perhaps Kemboi will be the one to set a new one on his debut. Time will tell.

Very serious allegations to ponder on Asbel Kiprop's case


We do not know everything regarding Asbel Kiprop's case. But, below is what we know, so far, which is in the public domain as well as being "probably" part of the submission by Asbel Kiprop's lawyer. Perhaps, this would be enough information if carefully analyzed to conclude this case.

1. The sample was collected and money asked for. The integrity of the process was fatally damaged.
 
2. Athlete was given notice/tip off, of intention to collect sample. This was a fatal irregularity.

3. Results for sample "A" and sample" B" are different despite coming from same source, same time, same laboratory and people examing both samples.

4. Tests on other athletes shows labaratories occasionally get mistaken conclusion that natural EPO is artificial. AIU refused retest even to confirm DNA on sample belong to Asbel. The tests are as fact matters of interpretation,are relative and subjective. The other athletes whose initial tests showed positive artificial EPO, but were overturned, very especially with help of their Countries(which Asbel unfotunately didn't get) including Bernard Lagat, USA,Virginia B Luna & Rodriquez Martinez both of Spain,& Rutger Bake, Belgium.




5. The person who collected the sample, who also asked for money, and gave the irregular tip-off was withdrawn from the case and his role in the process left blank. This is also consistent with admission of fatal irregularity.

5. No declaration was made that the vessel used to collect the sample was clean,uncontaminated,& not spiked as required in IAAF sample collection regulations.

6. To date WADA whose accredited Laboratory was used to examine the sample states that there are no results on Asbel's sample, in contradistinction from what IAAF/AIU alleged positive results.

7. Asbel's blood samples for 22nd Nov 2017 being 5 days before the implicated 27th Nov 2017 tests does not support the alleged existence of EPO. Neither does blood sample collected 2 days after on 29th November. If he had doped these samples of 22nd and 29th would have shown in blood passports.

8.The primary document called DCF(Dopping Control Form-document for/on sample collection ) upon which AIU is relying to make their case is fatally false in parts, and misrepresentative in others,and incomplete in material details.

9.The sample was send/addressed initially to wrong address, other than the laboratory where it was meant to go for testing. 

10.Despite being told IAAF/AIU would collect sample Asbel kiprop availed himself & gave his sample. If he had doped he would not avail himself to supply sample and be found out. Option of not turning up has negligeable consequence, just a reprimand. His turn up is consistent with innocence .

11. Asbel had no reason to dope,as he was off competition. His next competition was to be in May 2018, 7 months away from the date of the sample collection(27th/11/2017). EPO stays in the blood for maximum 3 months, hence could not help in respect to competition 7 months away.



Amazing elite start lists for the Bahrain Night half marathon

Abraham Kiptum setting a new half marathon world record

The inaugural Bahrain half marathon happens tonight the 15th of March and, besides it being the richest half marathon in the world with the winner walking away with $100,000, the start lists are epic!
Twelve men on the list have run under 60 minutes for the half marathon while there are eleven women who have run faster than 1:09:00.
Below is the full elite start list.



Men:
Abraham Kiptum Kenya 58:18
Jemal Yimer Ethiopia 58:33
Abadi Hadis Ethiopia 58:44
Atsedu Tsegay Ethiopia 58:47
Alex Korio Kenya 58:51
Fikadu Haftu Ethiopia 59:08
Bernard Ngeno Kenya 59:22
Morris Gachaga Kenya 59:22

Is the Nike’s Vaporfly 4% fair or unfair?

How to Get the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% 1
Nike’s Vaporfly 4% shoe
Here is an interesting view from a runner and writer on the Nike’s Vaporfly 4% shoe on whether it is fair in the spirit fair competition, whether the technology behind the foam and the carbon-fiber plate is legal and whether its price makes it “reasonably available” to all athletes.

Ian Riordan of the Irish Times is preparing to run the Dublin marathon in October and has already bought a pair of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%.

“Today is the first day of my competitive running comeback. It’s all building towards a proper assault at a personal record time in the Dublin Marathon in October, and I know Eliud Kipchoge is losing a lot of sleep over that,” wrote Ian.



He is ensuring “no stone left unturned – and no expense spared”. According to him, there are no

World recorld holder, Joyciline Jepkosgei to debut at the Hamburg Marathon in April

Joyciline Jepkosgei after setting a new world record in Prague

This year’s Hamburg marathon is worth waiting for. It is shaping up to be one of the biggest marathons to look forward to in April, with so many high profile long distance stars already getting enlisted to run.




Before more names can come out soon, here is the recent press release from the organizers of the marathon on the women’s half marathon record holder.

World half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei will make her eagerly awaited marathon debut at the Haspa Marathon Hamburg on 28 April.

Best running jokes

Runners running  half marathon in Eldoret, Kenya
Below are a number of the best running-related jokes that I was able to compile from different places on the internet:




The truth is you can always run faster, but sometimes the truth hurts.
.
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Two Hunters: Two hunters are walking through a forest looking for deer when all of a sudden; a giant bear jumps out and scares them. They drop their guns and run. One of the hunters stopped, opened up his backpack and laced up a pair of running shoes. His buddy looked at him and said, "What are you doing? Are you crazy? You can't outrun the bear!" To this the hunter said, "I know, all I have to do is outrun you!"

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The trouble with jogging is that by the time you realize you're not in shape for it, it's too far to walk back.

Records fall as Ngeno, Matanga triumph at Safi International Half Marathon

Bernard Kipkorir Ngeno winning the 2019 Safi International Half Marathon
Below is the report from the organisers concerning the big race today in Morocco.

Kenya’s Bernard Kipkorir Ngeno and Tanzania’s Failuna Abdi Matanga reigned supreme at the Safi International Half Marathon on Sunday (24), smashing the course records with respective winning times of 1:01:06 and 1:10:50.

On a day of glorious sunshine on the Moroccan coast, when thousands of runners, young and old, took to the streets of the port city, it was Ngeno and Matanga who coped best with the undulating course.



Ngeno entered the race as favourite for the men’s title, coming off a 59:22 clocking in Valencia last year and victory at the Bomet Half Marathon in Kenya last weekend. “I knew I would win, I’m in good shape,” the 22-year-old said moments after crossing the line in Safi.

Kenyan athletes promised free medical check-up and 50% discount on treatment during launch of statues in Eldoret


Two historical days unfolded consecutively in Eldoret town, the city of Champions. On the 22nd of February 2019, statues of Kenyan athletes were unveiled along the Nairobi-Eldoret higway at a junction that appears to be the gate to Eldoret town. This is probably the first time that such statues to recognize athletes that have given so much glory to the Kenyan nation are being set up anywhere in the country. 



On the 23rd would be the first time that the national cross country championships, referred by some speakers during the launch of the statues as the “semi-finals of the world cross country championships,” will also be done here.

Hiwot Ayalew set to star in Safi international half marathon

Bernard Ngeno and Hiwot Ayalew
Here is another press release from the organizers of the Safi International half marathon:



Safi, Morocco, February 22, 2019 - The journey to marathon success is a long and winding road, and for Kenya’s Bernard Ngeno and Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew, it runs through Safi – a port city of 300,000 that sits on Morocco’s scenic Atlantic coast.

Bernard Ngeno and Diane Nukuri to headline Safi International Half Marathon

Bernard Ngeno winning the Bomet County half marathon
Fresh from winning the Bomet County half marathon this past weekend in Kenya, Bernard Ngeno will be heading to Morrocco for the Safi International Marathon on Sunday.

Below is a press release from the organizers of the race.

Safi, Morocco, February 9, 2019 - A high-calibre field spanning 10 different nationalities is set to take to the streets alongside Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for the Safi International Half Marathon next Sunday, February 24.

Competitive athletes are 30 years younger than their peers; study finds


A section of Kenyan Masters' athletes attending the world masters event in Australia
Often, while one walks around with some runners and comes across some of their former primary or high school classmates, they would hardly believe that they are the same ages judging from the way they look.

Well, according to an article in the New York Times, a study has found that regular exercises can keep one 30 years “younger” than their peers.



It claims; the muscles of older men and women who have exercised for decades are indistinguishable in many ways from those of healthy 25-year-olds, according to an uplifting new study of a group of active septuagenarians.

Kenyan athletes may change their citizenships for the benefit of all; other Kenyans, shoe companies, new nations, etc

Kenyan born Bernard Lagat representing the USA at the IAAF world championships in Daegu

It is understandable when some international road races set some parallel prize money structures to reward runners from their countries as a way to encourage upcoming runners from their nations too. This will clearly encourage some healthy competition among the locals and in the long run strengthen the nation’s runners to be at the same competitive level as the international runners (Kenyans and Ethiopians, mostly).

It is also understandable when some running shoes and apparel companies just choose to sponsor runners from a certain region on the continent with the claim that their stores are located in their countries and that they feel the athletes from such places would best help represent and market their brands there.

It is also quite understandable and only natural that one would want to see a countryman, even a relative, or someone close to you win a major race in your country. But, it should be encouraged to happen in a fair manner. Ways should not be devised to have only a few selected runners compete against those they believe they have a better chance of beating if the spirit of sport is to be maintained.

Runners will often try to find other reasons besides their lack of sufficient hard work, to explain why they were beaten in a race.

The origin of an athlete should definitely never be an excuse!



Turkey, Bahrain, Belgium, Qatar, South Korea, Israel, Sweden, The USA, and many other countries have been taking runners with East African origin, especially Kenyans and Ethiopians, to represent their nations in inter-continental competitions, Olympic Games and world championships.
But, it is not just runners who acquire new citizenships.

What I like about my Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS watch

A capture of my training from Garmin Connect

A good running shoe, apparel and wrist watch is what every serious runner should have in their training. I have been using the Garmin forerunner 235 for my training since February 2018, which is over a year now. And, since I am not sponsored by any watch brand I will give an honest review as to what I like about this watch and what ought to be added.



Below is what I like:

Origin versus Talent; my new ebook


In recent times, there have been instances when some running fans, and even the media, have given much focus on the origin of athletes rather than on their achievements. It has reached a time that when an athlete runs such an amazing time for a marathon, it won’t be worth celebrating if it was run by a runner from a certain origin, but will be treated as a phenomenal achievement if run by another from a different origin.



Should a runner be awarded for crossing the finish line first, or for having been born in a certain region? Should runners have political boundaries, or should they see each other as an international community? Should runners from countries with other successful runners be disadvantaged in races to “level” the playing field? Is there a problem when runners with Kenyan, or Ethiopian, origin seek to represent other nations that they have already acquired new citizenships?
There are some friends and even neighbors I personally know who already went out to represent other nations. But it has always been a win-win situation for their families and communities here in Kenya as well as for their new countries of citizenship. These runners have ended up earning a good living out of their talents, are now well-off financially able to educate their immediate families and have helped their communities in many positive ways.
This ebook ponders about this topic in an elaborate way.

Reliving the 2018 Eldoret City Marathon


A few hours before the queen of England could press the red button to begin the London marathon; the deputy president of Kenya was the first one to aim his gun towards the sky and fired it to set off the inaugural Eldoret City marathon here in Uasin Gishu at exactly 8:00 in the morning. The women's race had been started 30 minutes earlier. Both the organizers of the Eldoret city marathon were eager to finish the race in time to watch the start of the London Marathon.

Touted as the richest marathon in Kenya and being held at the heart of the athletics community in Kenya, the Eldoret City marathon attracted one of the most competitive fields ever assembled in any marathon race anywhere.

Abraham Kiptum's unexpected world record at the 2018 Valencia half marathon

Abraham Kiptum breaking the tape at the Valencia half marathon
Last year, 2018, Kenyan athletes set three world records. Eliud Kipchoge set the marathon world record, Beatrice Chepkoech the women 3000m steeplechase and Abraham Kiptum, the half marathon record.



At the Valencia half marathon, Abraham Kiptum set a new world record of 58:18 for the half marathon in a way that no one was expecting it. Not even Kiptum himself expected to run it.

Rhonex Kipruto will be the star to watch at the Kenyan national cross country trials in Eldoret



For the first time in Kenya, the national cross country championships will be done in Eldoret on the 23rd February 2019. 

On the same course that will host the championships/trials that will be done in Eldoret in about three weeks' time, Rhonex Kipruto beat a competitive field, by a comfortable margin, to emerge as the winner and show his rivals that he will be the athlete to watch during the trials. Edward Zakayo, the reigning 5,000m African Champion was a distant second ahead of other big names. A relatively new name, Brilliant Jepkorir won the women's race.



This was during the 2019 Nike Discovery cross country race on Sunday 27th.

How running enhances mental health

man tying his shoes
Photo by Alexander Redl
Running, and jogging, is arguably the most basic, effective, cheapest and free form of exercise in the world. Contrary to most other sports, it can be done almost anywhere without the need of any extra facility besides appropriate clothing. In fact, some people even save some money by running as a form of commuting to their work places daily.

Interestingly, despite being free, running has always been recommended in the prevention and treatment of a great number of illnesses; be it physical, mental or even spiritual! But, as they say, people will only notice the real value of anything until they lack it. 



Given all the benefits of running, one would wonder why some people still struggle buying slimming, sleeping, anti-depressants, and many other pills that could simply be better replaced by a simple jog!

Nolene Conrad's life was saved by running and she has now made running her career

Nolene Conrad in Iten, Kenya December 2018
It is easy to spot a runner who is focused on their running and are determined to achieve the best in their careers. Nolene Conrad, with her enthusiasm about running marathons will be one of the athletes to watch out for during the 2019 IAAF world championships in Doha, at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 and in the years to follow.



Even on a festive season when most of the runners are taking short breaks from their running, the South African athlete, together with a pace setter she brought along, has been out training in Iten ahead of 2019, a year in which she has many ambitious plans to achieve. She wants to get an Olympic qualification time as early as she can in order to represent South Africa at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

Some of the outstanding Kenyan athletes in 2018

Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech competing at the Gold Coast  Commonwealth Games

With examples from runners like Geoffrey Kamworor who can win a local 1500m track race in Kenya and still manage to go ahead and run well in a very competitive 42km race within the same year, many runners in Kenya now believe that as long as you are in good shape for any distance in that range then you just have to survey the event that has a lesser competition and work towards making the national team in it.





Ruth Chepngetich is the most likely to break world record for women marathon soon

Ruth Chepngetich winning the 2019 Dubai Marathon

At the finish line of the Dubai Marathon, I captured a few words of Ruth Chepngetich speaking in their local (Kalenjin) dialect with Emmanuel Saina on how the race had gone for her and a few challenges she had. She had then noticed Worknesh Dagefa coming to congratulate her and the press around them and she had immediately turned cheerful as she greeted them. However, to me, in some way, the scenario took me to the one that Eliud Kipchoge had found himself in at the finish line of the London marathon in 2016 when he had raised one hand to touch his head in what looked like a sign of disbelief as he crossed the finish line in 2:03:05.

It was even at a lightly narrower margin that Chepngetich had also missed the world record here in Dubai marathon after running 2:17:07, becoming the third fastest woman ever only in her third marathon race ever.





The current state of the track facilities in Kenya could cost the country their power in track running

Athletes training on a muddy track in Eldoret
During the rainy seasons, nothing can be done by Kenyan athletes about the rainy conditions and the muddy roads in the country. But, apparently, the need for good tracks with drainage systems to ensure that the athletes can train on it throughout the year, across the country are built is now more obvious, if the Kenyan athletes are to continue dominating the world of long distance running on the track.

Many Kenyan athletes from various regions have been shifting to road running early in their careers due to the poor state of the tracks in the country. There are already two tartan tracks in the Rift Valley region, but contrary to what the average Kenyan athletes expected, the tracks have not been free and open to all athletes. This is perhaps the reason as to why Kenyan athletes are beginning to lose their grip on being the greatest long distance runners on the track and are now taking their running talents to congest the road and cross country races across the world.  





COURSE RECORDS SMASHED AT STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON

Ruth Chepngetich winning the 2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

Dubai (UAE): Getaneh Molla of Ethiopia and Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich won the 20th edition of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon today (Jan 25) with both athletes producing spectacular course records that rank among the fastest times in the history of marathon running.

2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Live Streaming Video


The 2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon was live from 5:00AM (Kenyan Time), 25th January 2019. But, you can still recapture the moments here:



ABRAHAM SETS SIGHTS ON FARAH’S EUROPEAN RECORD AT STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON

Born in Eritrea but now running as a Swiss athlete, Tadesse Abraham is focused on breaking Mo Farah’s European Record in Dubai this week.
Mo Farah's European record of 2:05:11 for the marathon will be under threat this Friday at the Dubai Marathon as Abraham Tadesse of Switzerland is already setting his eyes on it. This will be another interesting race against time to watch on Friday. Below is the press release from the Dubai Marathon organizers.




ABRAHAM SETS SIGHTS ON FARAH’S EUROPEAN RECORD AT STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON

Dubai (UAE): Switzerland’s Tadesse Abraham will have his sights on an historic personal milestone when he attacks the European Marathon Record of Britain’s Sir Mo Farah at the 2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 25.

2019 STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON SET FOR GLOBAL LIVE STREAMING


Mosinet Geremew winning a past edition of the Dubai Marathon
Fans across the world will have no excuse to miss watching the Dubai Marathon race this weekend after the organizers have just announced that there will be a free live streaming video of the event across the world. This is great news indeed!!



Below is the press release.

2019 STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON SET FOR GLOBAL LIVE STREAMING
Dubai (UAE):

Guye Adola aiming to get back on track at Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon


Guye Adola is well remembered for his boldness to take on Eliud Kipchoge at the 2017 Berlin Marathon. Well, this amazing runner will be back in action when the richest marathon takes place on the streets of Dubai this Friday. Here is another press release from the organizers.



Lemi Berhanu and Worknesh Degefa back to win titles again at the 2019 Dubai Marathon

Lemi Berhanu winning the 2015 edition of the Dubai Marathon

Below is a press release from the organizers of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FORMER CHAMPIONS BACK FOR 2019 STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON
 Dubai (UAE): Former champions Lemi Berhanu and Worknesh Degefa will be among the powerful elite line-up when the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon celebrates its 20th edition on the streets of the UAE on January 25.




Athletics Kenya Press release regarding the state of road races in the country




This is a press release from Athletics governing body of Kenya on 3rd January 2019,  touching on the road races across the country:
PRESS RELEASE
As you are all aware Athletics Kenya is the only body in the country charged with the organization of all athletics activities locally and therefore, no any other body has the mandate to execute the same.
However, we have noted with concern the mushrooming of illegal road races across the country and the trend is really worrying. We are aware a few individuals have turned to road races around the country into a cash cow at the expense of the athletes.
From now hence forth, AK will take charge of all road races with the help of our affiliates to ensure organisers do not take advantage of the runners.

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