Sunday, 26 June 2011

Iten District Track & Field Championships

Nobody really knew what time it all kicked off but the general consensus was that the 10,000m would start at around 9.30a.m. I arrived just before 10a.m and had only missed the first few laps. Not a very eventful race but one of my friends and former Run-Fast camp member Eliud Kipserem kicked away on the final lap to win in around 29.40. Surprisingly during the race people that were getting lapped too many times were “red flagged” and pulled out, I'm not sure this would catch on in the UK due to sportsmanship but it's a good way to keep the timetable to time (not that they had a timetable here). Following the men's 10,000m was the women's 10,000m, this was very dull with only 5 or 6 starters, for supposedly the heart of distance running in Kenya and possibly the world I wasn't very impressed with the standard!

There were some highlights of the day, Asbel Kiprop just winning the 400m (I did get this on video but can't upload it for a few weeks), a muzungu (one of the New Zealand twins) nearly winning the 1500m and the crazy drop out rate. In the mens 5000m there must have been 25 starters and even after 300m people were dropping out! I think over the day there must have been a 50% drop-out rate! How can you only make 300m in a 5000m race??!

Anyway it was a good days entertainment, if not the quality I had expected. Next week is the provincials which should be of a much higher standard.

I did my first long run yesterday, a steady 30km in two hours, feeling fitter with every run now.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Meeting Friends

I've been back in Kenya nearly a week now and last night dropped my mum off at Eldoret airport to start her journey back home to the UK. I think she had a really good time meeting all my friends and exploring Iten and the surrounding area. The other day we started off by visiting Mary Keitany (London Marathon winner 2011, world record holder for the half marathon etc etc) who invited us in for chai and a chat, she is such a nice, chatty and humble lady, it's a real pleasure to be her friend, my mum was a little overwhelmed at her hospitality and very surprised at how small she is!

Mum and Mary

After this we stopped off at Ken Kibets farm who as all Kenyans was so welcoming giving us a tour of his farm, I have yet to meet an unfriendly Kenyan, there must be one!

Before coming out to Kenya my mum had collected lots of baby/kids clothes from her friends and family and we decided to give it out today, so we walked down the road from camp and stopped off at some at a few different houses to give out all the clothes. At first the mothers kept asking us how much it was but when they realised it was free they were really thankful. About six or seven women came along and shared it out between themselves, they told us they would share it out between all the neighbours. It was such a good feeling being able to give something to these people who have practically nothing, definitely one of the highlights of all my time in Kenya. I will try and get some pictures of the kids in their “very smart” new clothes. Thanks to everyone who donated stuff to my mum.

Running is getting back on track, I did my first faster pace run yesterday and although I was ok on the flat whenever I hit some hills I slowed considerably. I'm going to find some flatter routes for the next tempo type workout to make sure I get the quality and speed I'm after. Saying that even Edwin Kipyego says he is struggling with the hills at the moment while he is acclimatising, so the Kenyans suffer as well!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Karibu Kenya!

Finally back in Iten after a long drive from Nairobi via a safari at Lake Nakuru. As my mum has come back with me I thought it would be nice if we checked out some of the scenery and wildlife that Kenya has to offer and as Lake Nakuru is on the way to Iten I arranged for us to have a safari around the lake and we weren't disappointed! We had beautiful weather and managed to see lions, white rhino, buffalo, zebra, gazelle, baboons etc etc. Definitely worth the long drive.

Mum at Lake Nakuru

After landing at 8 in the morning we finally arrived at Kerio View in Iten at about 7p.m. Pretty tired after the long drive and not much sleep on the plane before and luckily my mums room had a spare bed so I crashed there for the night. Up early the next morning to meet Edwin for my first run back in Iten. It just so happened that we did the same run as my very first run ever in Iten way back in December last year. Luckily this time around it wasn't half as painful! Although I did get out of breath very quickly up the hills. I'm going to make sure I build things up slowly this time, so lots of easy running for a week or two until I'm fully acclimatised then I can start putting in some harder, faster work.

It's brilliant to be back here in Kenya and great to show my mum where I have been living and all the new friends I have made. We met with Edwins sister Pamela today who is really lovely, she was telling my mum how I am one of the family and I think it made my mum happy to know that I am looked after and have a lot of friends here in Iten.

I found out today that it is the district track and field champs in Iten next weekend so I will look forward to watching, maybe if I had been here a little longer I would have had a go at the 5000m, but I think I will just enjoy watching this time!

Like I said its great to be back and meet up with all my friends, it was especially nice to see Gav, Lauren and Finn.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Going Home

Just got back to Essex after a really good 10 days down in Torquay. I feel relaxed and ready to get back to Iten. Training down in Torquay was great and I did some of my best running since I've been back from Kenya. I'm now back to running twice every day adding some quality work such as tempo running and hill sprints.

Running along the coastal path near Torquay
My dad joined me for the last few days at the apartment and even came out on the bike when I went training, he managed to get quite a few decent photos when he finally caught me up after struggling slightly on some on the steeper hills!

Training on the grass track - 5 min jog from where I live
I'm only going to Iten for a month this time as a sort of preparation phase, and will be back in the UK for the second half of July to get in some races. I feel personally if I don't race for long periods I get a bit "race rusty" and there is no better training than a good race!

So tomorrow evening myself and my mother will be flying off to Kenya for another stint at "training with the Kenyans", although my mum won't be training she is just visiting to see where I have been living etc.

Can't wait to get back....

More running in Torquay

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


My fourth day down in Torquay and I'm really getting back into the swing of things. It's great down here for running, lots of hills, coastal paths and places to explore plus I've got a fantastic 400m grass track at the bottom of my road. The place where I'm staying is right at the top of a hill so all my runs finish with a steep hill, perfect preparation for Kenya.

My humble abode in Torquay
I'm slowly upping the mileage at the moment plus putting in various faster workouts to get comfortable running at a decent speed again. My longer term aim for this year is an autumn marathon so I have plenty of time to build things up slowly.

Off for a kip now, then going to make some chapatis, Kenyan style, for dinner...

Friday, 3 June 2011

Last Night in London

My time in London has come to an end as I travel to Torquay tonight. I'm really looking forward to a bit of alone time but will miss my Kenyan friends.

The Run-Fast team and my housemates
I've had a really good time here in London over the past few months and made some good new friends (and met up with some old ones) but now it's time to refocus on running and try to get back on track.

As I said I'm travelling down to Torquay where my parents have a lovely apartment where I will be staying until I fly to Kenya on the 15th June. If anyone is around the Torquay area over the next 10 days and fancy going out for a run let me know, I would be happy to have the company.

I had a lovely message from a new Malaysian friend called Leon who said he has been reading my blog since last year and it has really inspired him and motivated him to run! To know I have inspired anyone to do anything is such a good feeling! If I have learnt anything from this journey I am taking it's if you have a dream you have to chase it, maybe you won't make it but at least you will never have any regrets about not trying.