Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Kenyan Marathoners - Conquering the World but shall the rest of the team Emulate them?

The last two years have been quite phenomenal in Kenyan athletics. This is mainly due to the ever-enduring and sterling performances by our long- distance athletes and the speciality in discussion is the longer race - the marathon.
Running an approximate distance of 41.6 km ( 26 miles ) if you like on long routes, up some slope and down others and a usual flat course finish is no mean feat. If you have ever tried running this race, you'd know what we're talking about...maybe the next time a marathon comes near you, make a point of registering for it...start with the Nairobi StanChart one!
Number 1 !
Back to the gist of the story, so while our athletes have enjoyed unbridled success in the longer race, it has been a mixed bag of fortunes in lap races in the stadium meets...Grand Prix and others.
One of the stickiest points is the 5000m and 10000m races especially for the men's races. Much redemption has been made by our ladies who have continued growing in stature and stamina to conquer these longest races on the lap races.
But Athletics Kenya and the athletics fraternity in Kenya has not been able to break the jugger-naut. This is especially so, in major meets like the upcoming Olympic Games in London from July. Arguments were given and some frail explanations made about this failure which led to AK ceding control of the qualifiers for the 2 races. They've opted to host them in Prefontaine thanks to some ingenious Nike executive who's surely to mint some good brand mileage ( and maybe some $$$ too...)

Maybe the AK officials are looking for the wrong places to realise the elusive success in these events. They should ask themselves;
  • How come the marathoners have been able to win over 75% of all major marathons around the world?
  • What techniques have they devised to be able to win with such consistency and at such paces that last year the world record in the men's race was lowered by our very own athlete?
  • What lessons can Team Kenya pick from the World Athletics team which managed double gold ( 1-2-3 for women) and (1-2 for men)  in the marathon races?
  • Do Kenyan athletes need foreign tracks to prove their worth?
  • Circa 1988 when Kenya had its best spread of medal haul from 800m to 5000m races in the men's races. What was the recipe for success then?
  • Assume they do go ahead and run both the pre-qualifiers in Kenya and the qualifiers in Prefontaine, will they not be suffering from burn-out by the time they get to London in July?

These lingering thoughts ought to be food for thought for the officials charged with seeing the success of our team in this year's Olympic Games. Over to you Mr. Kiplagat and team ! ( Do we add Mr. Kip Keino & NOCK in the mix too...?) 

Athletics Kenya announced the Kenyan marathoners to represent Kenya in the 2012 Olympic Games in London as follows;
Edna Kiplagat ( Current World Champion , women's marathon)
Mary Keitany ( 2-time winner of London marathon)
Priscah Jeptoo ( Silver medallist in 2011 Daegu World Athletics , women's marathon)

Abel Kirui ( 2-time World Champion marathon winner)
Moses Mosop ( 2011 Boston Marathon winner)
Wilson Kipsang ( 2-time Frankfurt Marathon winner & 2012 London Marathon winner)


Crossfit said...

I understand, Kenyans were really good in track and field sports. Thanks for sharing this to us and looking forward for more updates. They really did a great job, Congratulations to them. Nice post too.

The Figure said...

Thanks Crossfit for your comments. The selection for the marathoners was done of course with some controversy. Let's hope for the best for Team Kenya though!

kevinlillis said...

Read "RUNNING FOR BLACKGOLD - fifty years of African athletics"
good luck