World Wild Life Fund (WWF)’s virtual 5k for nature/world environment day campaign

Here is a press release from the  WORLD WILDLIFE FUND (WWF) concerning their virtual 5K run for nature:


Make Your Miles Count: Virtual 5K for Nature Keeps People Active and Engaged

 In support of World Environment Day on June 5, World Wildlife Fund launches first-ever virtual run/walk/hike to help people stay connected to each other and to nature

 Washington, DC: From June 1 to June 7, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will host its first-ever virtual 5K for nature, a campaign designed to help people stay active and engaged during this time of uncertainty.

 With many activities cancelled or postponed, this is a challenging time for everyone. Many of us are wondering what we can do on the weekends to stay connected, while also giving back. WWF’s “5K for Nature” aims to connect people to nature within their own communities, even while social distancing. The campaign overlaps with World Environment Day on June 5, a day dedicated to taking action to protect our planet.

 The connection between our health and nature is profound. If we continue to lose nature, pandemics will become more common and more severe. WWF is working to help stop the drivers of future pandemics by tackling the illegal wildlife trade and halting the worst impacts of deforestation. Participants in WWF’s “5K For Nature” can be a part of the solution.

Six reasons why you need a coach as a runner


Runners competing in a 10,000m race in Eldoret, Kenya

To make your training more enjoyable.


A coach is obviously someone who has had past experience as a runner or has spent many years studying the art of running and every aspect of it. He knows the best steps for you to gradually transform into a faster runner without feeling the pain or putting in a lot of useless efforts. A coach knows how to blend different workouts to achieve the desired goal. 

  For Motivation


The graph of any runner is not a straight incline. There are days that a runner may feel as though they are retrogressing in their fitness goals. A coach understands all these and will be there to point out to the runner that they should focus on the long term plan and not how they feel on a daily basis.

 

Why prize money in many races will keep going down


A Kenyan athlete training in Eldoret, Kenya

Times and the way things are getting done are rapidly changing. Athletes should be learning to make the necessary adjustments to go with the times.

As more runners, from different countries, join the sport of running and the marathon distance gets more fame, it may reach a time when race organizers will be checking the social media sites of the fast runners before they can be invited to run in their races. This could be the reason why the winning prize money in some races keeps going down while the appearance money keeps going up.

When there are no races and people are searching for the latest stories on their favorite athletes, it is perhaps time for some to realize that being a great public figure is not simply about preparing well for a race and winning it. People want to know how these athletes are coping with the COVID pandemic, what other activities they are engaging in while they are not competing, how well they relate with their families and their communities, among others.

There are great similarities between athletes, musicians, comedians, actors, magicians, and motivational speakers; their work is to build a fan base for an event they participate in.

For the almost ten years that I have worked as a freelance journalist, I have learned that it is not only the performances that make athletes famous and role models across the world, but how they relate with other people in the community, especially the media who would share their stories.

Despite the race cancellations, I will run a marathon next month to raise funds for charity

With Lawrence Cherono, the 2019 Chicago Marathon Champion who has been giving out donations to the less fortunate in Kenya during these hard times.

Many charity organizations have been using the big city races to raise funds for good causes. In Kenya, the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon has been raising funds to help eradicate avoidable blindness in children; the family Bank half marathon in Eldoret has been raising money to educate children with learning difficulties in the region.

Other major city marathons have been associating themselves with multiple charity organizations to raise funds for various charities across the world.

The running boom in Kenya caused by COVID 19

The fans that love running will still follow runners wherever they are in whatever means they can get.

Some few weeks ago, while doing a Fartlek Run with my wife, a station wagon trailed us for almost 2km. As we slowed down before the next hard run, we heard a lot of clapping and cheering as the occupants of the car praised our run.

“Imagine you were maintaining a pace of 20km per hour!” The driver of the car shouted amidst the cheering.

Of late, there has been a surge of interest in running with the number of recreational runners beginning to out-number the professional runners on the training routes around here. The occupants of the car are part of the recreational runners that we have often been seeing around. They usually drive in a group of about five runners and park their car some kilometers further away from town, do their run and drive back to where they came from.

Why strong performances by athletes should be expected after the COVID 19 pandemic

Runners training in Kaptagat, Kenya.

It will be interesting to see how the competitions in some of the major races in the world will pan out once everything resumes and when almost every runner will have had almost similar times to recover before getting back to competing again.

While we have seen some runners in the past taking a break from their training due to either injury or maternity reasons, there has never been a time when runners across the world have all gone on a break from competitive running at the same time.

Sammy Korir, who once paced Paul Tergat almost to the finish line to run the first ever marathon world record by a Kenyan runner of 2:04.55, was born  in Kiboswa village, about seven kilometers from where I was born and he once gave me an advice that the best runs always come after one takes a relatively long break before resuming their training.

The advantages and disadvantages of the emerging virtual races

Yours truly in training
Having canceled or postponed their events, some marathons, like the Ottawa Marathon, have offered the runners who had registered for their races an opportunity to run it virtually wherever they will be; record their runs on the available online running applications and forward their results to the race organizers.

In such times as these when there are no races around, most of the runners will find themselves easily postponing their daily runs, perhaps deciding to pause running for a while, or even eventually ending up stopping running completely in the end.

However, when one is preparing for a virtual race, they may be compelled to keep training towards their race goals.

Below are some of the pros and cons to the virtual races:

Vincent Kipchumba, elite entrant to the 2020 London Marathon talks about his training amid the COVID 19 pandemic

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
Vincent Kipchumba winning the Vienna City Marathon in April 2019. Photo courtesy: Olaf Brockmann

Vincent Kipchumba was one of the elite entrants for the London Marathon that was to take place in April. He was one of the main contenders. Those who know him were eagerly looking forward to watching him pull out a big surprise in a race that was expected to become an affair between Kenenisa Bekele and Eliud Kipchoge.



I remember watching one of the biggest half marathon races in Kenya; the First Lady Half Marathon in Nairobi last month. It was during the last stages of the race when for a moment I had thought that there was a separate motorcycle race taking place. Two motorcyclists were racing along the highway as the helicopter gave us a bird’s eye view of the event that was being broadcasted live on TV. Then, just behind the motorcycles was Kipchumba, doing a solo run. There was an empty road behind him, which rarely happens in Kenyan races.

Why quality training does not necessarily mean hard training

Runners enjoying a moment of laughter after their training in Eldoret, Kenya
For anything to be of the highest quality, it has to be reflected on the satisfaction that it has on whoever wanted to achieve a certain desire by using it. 

For a marathon, or a 10K, training program to be of the highest quality, it has to bring the desired results on a goal race; be it a personal best time, or finishing your first marathon successfully.



As a Kenyan athlete and coach, experience over time has taught me a lot and I now view race preparation and training in a different light. I have seen runners who push a lot during their training only to get bad results in their races. I have seen others being a bit conservative in their training and only pushing hard whenever is necessary and getting unexpectedly great results in their races.

The advantages of running alone over group training.


Photo by Emma Frances Logan on Unsplash
There was one incident from some years back where I did pick up some money while doing an easy morning run alone. It was still so early in the morning, the road was empty both ahead and behind me and I had no one to share the money with.

While this may not count as one of the advantages of running alone, below are some of the advantages to enjoy during this time when runners are being urged to train individually to assist in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.



1. It is the only available option at the moment


To curb the spread of the coronavirus, governments across the world have banned any form of gatherings and are advocating for social-distancing whenever it is necessary for one to be out of their houses.

Running form and posture according to your Kenyan athlete and coach

Photo by Dylan Alcock on Unsplash
As an online coach, I am at times asked questions by runners on how they can improve on their running posture and form. Some even accompany their questions with a picture of them side by side with some of their favorite runners they would like to run exactly like them.

My observation over time has been that form comes with one's speed and fitness level, and not the other way round. The faster you run, the better your form and posture will look. In fact, even in a crowd when everyone is just standing, a keen observer (like you!) can be able to easily tell a faster runner from a crowd.

“He looks fast. Is he a runner?” This was the question I heard a number of times when a friend who was hosting me in Canada was being asked whenever we would come across some of his other acquaintances.  I had gone there to compete in a few road races.

New features now make Strava irresistible to runners!

Two runners pass by each other while training in Kaptagat, Kenya


1. Choosing your favorite runners to appear first on your feed:


Among the new features announced by Strava is that of giving users the ability to choose the activities to appear first on their timelines and to choose the favorite runners whose activities appear on top.



This means you’ll no longer miss cheering on a friend’s massive effort because you didn’t get to see it. To give you an even more customized feed, we’re rolling out the capability to favorite the athletes you care about most. Their activities will be shown first in your feed and you can even choose to be notified whenever they upload something new. So you can always be the first to give your best friend kudos on their new PR.

A day with Pace Sports Management's coach, Sammy Mitei

Coach Sammy Mitei noting track interval times of his athletes in Eldoret
It was such a great learning experience to me when I visited Pace Sports Management’s Sammy Mitei as he coached his runners in Eldoret. I saw a lot for myself and learned more as I listened to him. 

"What did I just tell you?!" he had asked, and I could not hide my astonishment.



After explaining to me how, as an experienced coach, he had learned to give out workouts to his athletes depending on how he has come to know each and every one of them - there are those who often complain that the work out is too much and also those who would feel that they still wish to add in some more at the end of the session - one of his athletes who had just been doing some 800m intervals on the track actually came up to where we stood and asked him if he could add some more 300m intervals! He gave him the okay.

Interview: Seven questions from Noel Paine regarding my online coaching

I, participating at the 2017 Ottawa marathon in Ottawa, Canada
 It is always a pleasure to me getting to talk about my passions of running, writing and coaching. I got seven questions this week from my favorite running friend, an athlete I currently coach and a fellow dad; Noel Paine.

Noel has experience of over 30 years as a runner and is hoping to still run a personal best time for the marathon at the age of 43 years, which I think is possible.

Below are questions from Noel Paine regarding my online coaching:

Seven common bits of advice I give to my runners

Training in Kaptagat, Kenya.
With the emergence of sophisticated GPS watches, heart rate monitors, running applications and fitness websites like Strava to share training data and experiences, it has become very easy for many runners out there to reach out to me and try out the Kenyan way of training through my Kenyan Online Coaching programs. I have had some incredible experiences and feedback from the runners I have worked with, so far.



Below bits of advice are based on some of the common questions and clarifications that some of the runners I coach online have been seeking to know.

1. Differentiate between your jogging, easy, moderate and hard runs
These are the common words that we usually use to refer to our workouts; Jog, Easy, Moderate and hard. Here is how to understand them roughly.

Swede dreams of Olympic qualification at Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

Sweden’s Hanna Lindholm will be targeting Olympic qualification atthe 2020 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon
Here is a News Release from the Dubai Marathon scheduled for 24th this month:

SWEDE DREAMS OF OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION AT STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON

Dubai (UAE): Swedish elite athlete Hanna Lindholm will target a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when she competes in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 24, thanks to a coveted invitation from the event organisers in the UAE.