Live Streaming link to the 2021 World Relays in Silesia, Poland

 

USA and Jamaica’s absence at the 2021 World Relays could result in a more successful outing for Kenya

Team Kenya heading out for the world relays (Photo by Athletics Kenya)

The prospect for Kenya’s team that is already in Selesia and ready to represent their nation tomorrow looks more promising than it had ever been in the last editions of the world relays.

At the last world relays in Yokohama, USA had placed on top of the medal table with 22 gold medals followed by Jamaica with 5 and Kenya was in the third position with 3 gold medals. With the absence of both the USA and Jamaica at the Silesia world relays, Kenya stands a better chance of emerging on top of the medal table.

Already Kenya, Germany, and Poland have guaranteed medals to win in the mixed shuttle relays, to start off their medal hunt on the first day, if only their athletes finish the event, and are not disqualified. This is a relatively new event at the world relays where two men and two women on each team run 110m hurdle legs. There are only three countries that are entered in the event that will be one of the two finals on the first day of the championships, and three medals to be given out!

The other final of the first day (1st May) will be the 2X2X400m mixed relay. Six countries have entered the event. Kenya appears to have a strong field here with the world 800m bronze medalists, Ferguson Rotich and Commonwealth 800m champion, Wyclife Kinyamal featuring in their team. At the last world relays in Yokohama, Kenya had led from the start only to be disqualified in the end under rule 163.6. The main opponent for Kenya here will be the host nation of Poland that also has a considerably strong team and the home ground as an added advantage.

There will be seven finals on the second day, the 2nd of May: The day will feature the more established and well know relays that have more countries entered in them and that will have their heats being done on the first day. These will be the 4x400m mixed relays, and the men and women 4x 100m, 4x200m, and 4x400m.

The Kenyan team may be affected by the fact that a number of their best runners including Zablon Ekwam and Hellen Syombua were left behind due to various undisclosed reasons.

Running under the COVID 19 darkness brings up childhood memories, and soul searching, for me

Getting ready for my run

In my primary school days in the 1990s, I lived around 5km away from my school. School rules required that the pupils in the upper primary classes report to school by 5:30AM in the morning. There were three pressure lamps that we would use to light up the room and revise before there would be enough natural light from the rising sun.

However, we had a problem. No one had a watch. This won’t come as a surprise given that we were actually running to school in total darkness, not knowing what time it was, barefooted.

There was a man called Jonjo, who lived conveniently on a hill and had a small radio. He would at times pierce the night’s silence by shouting and announcing the time at exactly 4am to wake up the rest of us who had neither a radio nor a watch. He was not reliable though, and at times when he would oversleep, many pupils ended up getting late for school and getting punished.

At times I would make a terrible mistake of thinking that it was already 4AM and would go to school as early as 1AM. The watchman would ask me to go back home but remembering the scary bushes, the dark insecure bridge I had to cross at the river, and dogs I had survived to reach school, I would gladly opt to just sleep on the classroom’s cold cemented floor until other pupils would arrive.

Now, I have all the shoes and a GPS-enabled watch, but still, I do not know when the next opportunity to race will present itself.

Buffalo Marathon will take place on June 26 and 27, says organizers

Photo from Buffalo Marathon website

The Buffalo Marathon, which is now one of the qualifying marathons for the Abbott World Marathon Majors Wanda Age Group World Rankings Qualifying Series, well-loved by runners for its relatively flat and fast course, scenic views and sites alongside the course, will happen in June.

Tisia Kiplangat holds the men’s course record with a 2:15:39 time which he ran in 2015 while Hirut Guangul ran the women’s course record of 2:38:26 in 2016.

Following Governor Cuomo's press conference, the organizers have been notified that they now have the official state approval to move forward with the Buffalo Marathon. The Marathon Weekend will take place on June the 26th and 27th in Buffalo, NY.

“The safety of all participants is our highest priority, so in the coming weeks, we will publish our safety protocols detailing our safety precautions for the event weekend,” says Greg Weber, who is the race director.

“We're thrilled to welcome our loyal running community back to the 20th Anniversary of the Buffalo Marathon Weekend. Come and join us for the return to racing in Western New York,” he added

This year though, there will be no prize money for the elite runners. There are still limited charity spots available to be taken.

To read the full press release and to register, one can visit: www.buffalomarathon.org

Lack of adequate time for Ethiopia’s Marathon teams to prepare could give an edge to Kenyans in Sapporo

Mule Wasihun, Eliud Kipchoge and Moisinet Geremew (Photo by World Athletics)

A proper marathon training program usually takes around 17 weeks, which won’t happen for the selected Ethiopian Olympic Marathon team after their trials this weekend.

It is a year with many uncertainties caused by the pandemic, but it is more so for the Ethiopian marathon runners who are yet to be named in the national team to represent their nation at the Tokyo Olympic Games later in July.

As their neighbors and strong opponents in Kenya are busy strategizing on how to run well in Sapporo, Japan, the Ethiopians are still focusing on how to make the team at the relatively high altitudes near Adis Ababa.

The Ethiopian marathon national trials will happen this Saturday in Sebeta, a few kilometers away from the country’s capital city. The first three to cross the finish line will make the team.

Already, Kenenisa Bekele has protested the trials happening so close to the Olympic Games saying that there will be so little time to train for the Olympic race after. In what appears to be a huge blow to the Ethiopian federation, Birhanu Legese and Mule Wasihun are also expected to miss the trials.

Below are the athletes expected to participate in the trials.

Men:

Kenenisa Bekele

Birhanu Legesse

Moisenet Geremew

Mule Wasihun

IOC, IPC, Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Goverment and the Government of Japan's joint statement

Picture courtesy of IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the government of Japan today agreed on the following measures:

  1. All participants are required to take two COVID-19 tests before their flight to Japan. 
  2. In principle, athletes and all those in close proximity with athletes will be tested daily to minimize the risk of undetected positive cases that could transmit the virus. The dates and times will be set in line with the sports events and schedule.
  3.  All other Games participants will be tested daily for three days after their arrival. After the first three days and throughout their stay, they will be tested regularly, based on the operational nature of their role and level of contact with athletes.
  4.  All Games participants must, in principle, only follow the activities they have outlined in their activity plan. They must minimize contact within one meter of Games participants who have already been in Japan for more than 14 days and Japanese residents.
  5.  All Games participants must, in principle, exclusively use dedicated Games vehicles, and they are not allowed to use public transport.
  6.  All Games participants must, in principle, eat only in the limited locations where COVID-19 countermeasures are in place, including catering facilities at Games venues, their accommodation's restaurant, and their rooms, using room service or food delivery.
  7.  Close contacts are defined as those who have prolonged contact (for 15 minutes or more) with a person who has a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, within one meter, without wearing a face mask. This is particularly applicable when such contact happens in enclosed spaces such as hotel rooms or vehicles. Cases will be confirmed by the Japanese health authorities.
More of the story on the IOC website here

If only he wasn't a Kenyan, his 2:07:51 performance would probably have placed him in the Olympic Marathon Team!

The leading pack of the Xiamen Marathon and Tuscany Camp Global Elite Race; picture from Edwin Kosgei 

After landing in the country on 13th April from Sienna, Kosgei could not hide his happiness as we talked through the phone. He had just bettered his marathon personal best time from 2:10:11 to 2:07:51, a time that has now placed him in the top 220 in the World Athletics marathon rankings. If only he wasn’t a Kenyan he probably would now be joining his friend and longtime training partner, Vincent Kipchumba in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathon start list.
 “I never knew it was possible!” Kosgei said. 
“All I ever needed was a little bit more perseverance in training, a few more adjustments in the speed workouts we were doing, and believing in myself during the race. In the past, I used to think that the sub-2:08 runners were superhumans in some way and would let them go in a different leading pack, but now I know that it is possible for any runner to run 2:07 with the right focus in training and in racing,” he added. 

For how long can a runner keep training hard without earning from it?


For how long can a runner keep training hard with no guaranteed opportunity to race and earn a living in the near future? This is a question that is now causing sleepless nights to most of the Kenyan runners staying at different training locations in the country after sporting activities were suspended, for a second time since the pandemic struck.

Only forty runners would have won prizes at the Eldoret City Marathon that was also postponed; twenty men and twenty women, but thousands of runners here have been affected so much by its cancelation. To many, it wasn’t just about the prizes, but an opportunity to run good times to enable them to get invitations to future races and to get into any management.

It takes time, resources, and hard work to train for a marathon.

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...

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