Tag Archives: kenya Runners

What Women Think About Thin Runners

From the readers question section of Runners world magazine I found this interesting question from a distressed man

“So my wife says, if I lose too much weight and end up looking like Hendrik Ramala (a skinny South African long distance runner) She will divorce me! But to be a better runner I need to work on my weight. So what?” Nigel S.

This question made me laugh, felt sorry for Mister Nigel. I don’t think the views of Mrs Nigel represent all women.

Here in Kenya, the runners are Razor thin and they are all (atleast most of them) happily married. If the women in their lives are unhappy about it they don’t admit it publicly, they put up a brave face, like a good African wife should.  They can’t complain as long as the men continue winning races and making lots of money from road running.

List of Kenya Cross Country Team To Amman Jordan

A team of 24 athletes qualified to represent Kenya at World Cross Country Championships in Amman Jordan on March 28.

Husband and Wife team

It will be a family affair for Moses Mosop and his wife Florence Kiplagat. Mosop, who won the senior men’s 12km race at the national championships on Saturday, and Kiplagat, senior women’s 8km champion, were included in the team of 24 athletes.

Runner who couldn’t run in shoes finally makes the team.

If you thought using running shoes was automatic, you are wrong. Another interesting story from the team is that of Country boy Paul Tanui (19) He was removed from last year’s team to Edinburgh because he had no experience in running in shoes.

“Previously the shoes made me feel uncomfortable. That is why the coach asked me to go home,” he told the press The boy learnt from his weakness and Tanui has since been running using shoes. One year down the line, he has perfected it and taken the battle to his opponents.

Kenyan team for Amman:
Senior MEN – Moses Mosop, Mathew Kisorio, Mark Kiptoo, Linus Chumba, Mangata Ndiwa, Leonard Komon

Junior MEN – John Kemboi, Paul Tanui, Japhet Korir, John Chepkwony, Titus Mbishei, Charles Bett Chepkurui

Senior WOMEN – Florence Kiplagat, Iness Chenonge, Linet Masai, Linet Chepkurui, Ann Karindi, Pauline Korikwiang

Junior WOMEN –  Mercy Cherono, Hilda Chepkemoi, Jackline Chepngeno, Jackline Chebii, Faith Chepngetich, Nelly Chebet

Paul Tergat Training You Tube Video

Paul Tergat has been involved in some famous sprint finishes, my favourite is his victory on November 6, 2005, when he won the New York City Marathon in a thrilling sprint finish through New York’s Central Park, prevailing over defending champion Hendrick Ramaala 2:09:29.90 to 2:09:30.22.

How does Tergat do that?

An answer to that question can be found by watching a you tube video of how the man trains.

Catherine Ndereba Marathon Training Plan

Catherine the great has been one of the most consistent Kenyan runners. She is a four-time winner of the Boston Marathon. She has run 12 sub-2:26 performances and three sub-2:20s in her career. Runner’s World ranked her the No. 1 Runner of the Year for five years.

In an interview with running times magazine she revealed the secret to her longevity in the sport. Her training plan has been designed to avoid over training and fatigue.

Weekly Training Milage 

Catherine  runs 75 to 90 miles per week. “This way I can keep my body fresh, and recovered,” she reasons.

Interval Training 

Long repeats with short recoveries. Short recoveries are a hallmark of Kenyan training. She does 1K repeats

Run fast one day, slow the next day

On easy days her pace does not creep any faster than 7 minute per mile–slow considering her 5:17 per-mile PR marathon pace.  On easy days, if you start pushing then the next day you cannot give 100 percent.

The long run. 

She does easy speed up to 22 to 23 miles maximum.

Her philosphy is run hard, rest easy

Wealthy New Yorker Pays US $400 For a Birthday Run With a Kenyan Runner

From the New York Times “a Mr. Michael Chambers received for his 40th birthday: a world-class runner from Kenya for a day.”

Richard Kiplagat was paid US $400 to run with Chambers and have lunch with his family.

The Kenyan was hired as a birthday gift from his wife Tina and his parents.

How does it feel to run against the best distance runners in the world?

“It’s literally like running next to a cheetah,” Chambers told the times!!!!

Amateur Runner Denied $15,000 Top Finisher’s Prize

If you are an amateur runner and you happen to “miraculously” win a major road race you won’t share in the Jackpot.

It happened at last week’s 2008 Chicago marathon.  The IAAF website reported the fourth place finisher Wesley Korir of Kenya was disqualified and he was not eligible to get the $15,000 on offer for the fourth place finisher in the elite race because he was not a competitor in the elite race.

The reason was that Wesly Korir  started the race among the ordinary runners like us and not among the elite runners.

The elite runners started the race five minutes before the rest of the field of 33,000 runners.

“Gun time” Vs Chip time

The elite runners are timed immediately the starting gun is short, while for the ordinary runners you are timed when your running chip crosses the mat at the starting line.

The rules of the IAAF and USATF, the US governing body that oversees both road and track races in the US, state that only the gun time can be used to determine order of finish for awards, such as prize money, as is given out to the top finishers in many road races.

The rules, race referee Jim Estes of USATF determined, are clear.  The elites and Korir ran separate races.  Korir may have been the fourth fastest man on the day, but he was not eligible to get the $15,000 on offer for the fourth place finisher in the elite race because he was not a competitor in the elite race.

story courtesy of IAAF Website

Why Paul Tergat Won’t Run Beijing Olympic Marathon

At Bangalore 10K run on 18th May,  Kenya’s  multiple world champion  Paul Tergat  finished 19th.  India’s national daily termed his performance “a forgettable 19th”

Just before Kenya’s Olympic Marathon team was announced Tergat convened a news conference where he withdrew his name for consideration into the Kenya Olympic marathon team. His reason for withdrawal was “I have been there, done that and now I want to give the new young runners a chance.”

While that was a kind gesture from Paul, his performance at Bangalore 10k shows his best  days might be behind him. In Bangalore he was the oldest amongst Elite men at 39 years. The 10K run was won by Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadesse who outkicked Moses Kipsiro of Uganda in a close finish. Both men are in their early twenties.

In the 70s, 80s and 90s, long distance running especially the marathon was dominated by runners in their thirties. The conventional wisdom was that long distance running required experience. Runners started in the middle distances, as they got older they graduated into longer distances and eventually marathon running. That was the route runners like Paul Tergat and Haile Gebreselassie followed.

But that old route is now being deemed too long. In Kenya we are seeing runners just out of their teens running marathons. Samuel Wanjiru at 21 years is the youngest member of Kenya Beijing Olympic marathon team, he holds the world best in half marathon. Luke Kibet was 24 when he won Kenya it’s first gold in 20 years at 2007 Osaka IAAF World championship. As the marathon prize money has got fatter, aspiring runners are aiming for the marathon. It’s the sure route to be a young multimillionaire!

Competitive marathon running is now becoming a young man’s game!

Democracy and Its Impact on Kenya Running

Getting Kenya runners into a residential camp is proving to be a headache for head Coach Julius Kirwa, who is pleading in local media for the athletes to heed Athletics Kenya call to train together for a month to boost their prospects in Beijing.

With the rich European Golden League and Grand Prix season just starting, some of the elites feel their bank balances would be seriously dented if Athletics Kenya insists that they pitch camp in Eldoret before next month’s Olympics trials. Most runners are opting to do their own training.

Kenya runners have been upstaged by Ethiopian runners in recent major meetings and Kenya athletics federation thinks one reason why Ethiopian runners have done so well is because they train as a team just before a major a tournament. But Kenya runners won’t heed calls to report to camp.

Why Kenyan Runners Can’t be forced into a training Camp

One difference between Ethiopia and Kenya is the level of democracy in these countries. The way a country is governed is always reflected in the way sports federation are run. While Kenya is miles ahead of Ethiopia in development of democracy; active opposition, free media and assertive citizenry. Ethiopia is still ruled by a strong man. Just last week, Ethiopian President Zenawi was re-elected without opposition.

Anything Zenawi says, Ethiopia does. And the Ethiopian federation officials have learn’t from him; when Haile Gebreselassie announced he wont be running in Beijing the Ethiopian federation hit the roof,


It is not up to Haile Gebrselassie to decide on participation in the marathon event in Beijing,” EAF technical director Dube Jillo said.

“It is the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, representing the nation, that determines whether Haile is fit to compete in the marathon event in Beijing’s Olympics or not.” As they tried to force Haile to run the marathon.

While this command and control style has helped the Ethiopian federation force discipline in the national team, In Kenya such tough talk would be met with talks of WE HAVE RIGHTS!

Their word was law

In the 80s Kenya was an autocratic country and thats how everything was run. Most sports federation were run by allies of the president. If the federation said “get into camp” everyone got in running. In the 80s dissidence was not tolerated in Kenya. This was an era Kenya runners won medals after medals around the world, thanks to the forced discipline. If any runner had tried to run outside the country without the authority of the federation, it would have been very easy for the officials to have his pass port withdrawn.

In the 90s multi party democracy arrived in Kenya and citizens got a voice. Street mass action became a divine right, teachers who are employed by government even staged a successful strike in the 90s that forced the government to award them a 200% salary hike. Kenya athletes started jetting outside the country to compete, confidently knowing no one had powers any more to stop them.

Today, With their old power dismantled, the Kenya federation officials can only look at Ethiopia federation with envy.

Long live peoples power!!

Kenya, Beijing Olympic Marathon Team Announced

Despite all the domination in big marathons around the world, no Kenyan has won an Olympic marathon gold medal. The best performance remains Eric Wainaina’s silver in 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The Kenya Athletics federation announced the Kenya Marathon team for  Olympics games to be held in Beijing, China in August.


Martin Lel : He has got lots of pace. Winner in London in 2003, 2007 and 2008, New York 2003 and 2007

Samuel Wanjiru: At 21 he is the future of marathon but I have my fear he might suffer burn out for his early start. World Half marathon record holder (58:33) Fakuoka Marathon winner 2007 and London marathon runner-up 2008

Robert Cheruiyot : This former barber is my bet for the Olympic Gold. Four time Boston marathon winner (2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008) Chicago marathon winner (2006 and 2007)


Catherine Ndereba: Will it be second time lucky for the 2004 silver medalist, She has sacrificed everything for the Olympic, choosing not to run at any major marathon prior to Beijing Olympics. Will she emerge from the Shadow of Paula Radcliffe? She is a Four time winner in Boston world champion in 2003 and 2007

Selina Kosgei : Third in London marathon 2008

Martha Komu: 2008 Paris Marathon Winner

How the Selection for Kenya Olympic Team is Done

I have no idea how its done, The National Track Federation chooses the Olympic team based on an Amorphous criteria subject to all manner of interpretation and influence peddling. Critics of the federation have accused the federation of putting reputation, tribe, & friendship above individual form.

The beautiful thing about preparing for Olympic Games is you can enjoy dreaming. After announcing the team, the federation moved swiftly to dreamland ” We expect both marathon golds this year since we have picked the best runners we have. This year alone, Kenyans have won 25 marathon titles so selecting the team was not easy but we got the best,” The federation Chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat said.