Friday, October 13, 2006

Kenyans know the way

Kenyans certainly know the way to San Jose. 11,536 registered runners participated in last Sunday’s Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in San Jose, California. (15,000 runners were the pre-race target.) The top ten places all went to Kenyans! The men's and overall winner was Duncan Kibet. He was not an invited "elite athlete". Rather, Duncan had to pay his own way and his own $75 registraion fee. He is now like $8,000 richer. I'm sure in Kenya this will go a long way. I suspect he will use a good part of his prize money to compete in other races around the world.

1. 1:00:22 Duncan Kibet, 28, Kenya
2. 1:01:07 William Chebon, 23, Kenya
3. 1:01:56 Reuben Chebii, 24, Kenya
4. 1:02:08 Luke Kipkosgei, 30, Kenya
5. 1:02:21 Nicodemus Malakwen, 25, Kenya
6. 1:02:22 Joseph Chirlee, 25 Kenya
7. 1:02:31 Ernest Meli Kimeli, 20, Kenya
8. 1:03:39 Charles Kiama, 20, Kenya
9. 1:03:40 Julius Limo, 28, Kenya
10. 1:04:52 Davis Kabiru, 23, Kenya
11. 1:05:24 Pete Julian, 35, Colorado USA

The top female finishers also included Kenyans.

1. 1:09:17 Silvia Skvortsova, 31, Russia
2. 1:09:32 Edna Kiplagat, 26, Kenya
3. 1:10:05 Magdalene Makunzi, 23, Kenya

I have known for some time that the Kenyans have dominated distance running. Distance running is certainly not a “glamour sport”. It requires long and often lonely hours of training. The prize money is not that great except for the elite athletes.

Given my knowledge of the distance running scene, I did not expect to see any up-and-coming American youths finish strong. I was not disappointed in this regard. There were mostly older “recreational runners” among the 11,536 registered at the San Jose race. Nevertheless, it was edifying to see many youths and others giving it their best. Those who were out of shape and were on the course provided real inspiration (and competition!) For an inaugural event, everything was well done.

Photo: Duncan Kibet (by Action Sports International)
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