Sunday, 20 February 2011

2011 Kenyan National Cross Country Championships

Saturday 20th February 2011 started at 3.30a.m. standing in an ants nest waiting for my lift to Nairobi, once I realised what was biting my legs I soon moved to a better waiting spot. Ken was a little late arriving as he had been called out during the night to help a friend whose wife was sick, after less than 1 hours sleep he was about to drive the 400km to Nairobi so we could watch the Kenyan National Cross Country Championships. I was very tired myself after having run a tough 38km the day before and I soon fell asleep. I awoke to find us heading straight for an oncoming lorry as Ken had himself fallen asleep at the wheel, luckily my yelling woke him up and we escaped death by a whisker! After our close shave we stopped for breakfast and Ken was fine for the rest of the journey.

The Kenyan Nationals is probably the toughest cross country race in the world, the course was a flat but windy 2km loop, good for spectators. The women’s race was won by the world 10,000m champion Linet Masai who although only won by a few seconds looked fluent and relaxed for the whole race and I think if pushed had a lot left in reserve.

The men's 12km race was dominated by Geoffrey Mutai the 2.04? marathon runner, I really think this guy has got to be the best distance runner in the world at the moment, he won the race easily and if he can keep his form until the worlds I can't see anyone getting close to him. I think he has a slight quarrel with Athletics Kenya at the moment that might stop him doing the Worlds but hopefully this can be resolved quickly. It was a great race to watch but I'm glad I didn't race it as being in the middle of marathon training I would have been left for dead! Below is a video of Geoffery Mutai winning the senior mens race.

The journey home was long and although Ken was tired he showed no signs of falling asleep. Unfortunately on the road from Eldoret to Iten there had been a very bad accident in which a lorry carrying sand (weighing about 30 tonnes) was trying to overtake another lorry and totally wiped out a matatu, killing at least 12 people, it shows just how dangerous the roads out here can be.

A long day of about 11 hours in the car, but well worth as it's not often you get the chance to see and meet so many great runners. Today I'm off to meet Mary Keitany the new world record holder for the half marathon, more on that tomorrow.......

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