Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quick Hit Results: Enschede Marathon & Penn Relays

Christopher Cheboiboch took 7th place in a time of 2:16:34 in the Enschede Marathon, the 2nd oldest marathon in Europe. Competing against one of the fastest fields in the event’s history, Cheboiboch hit halfway nicely, in 1:04:42, but faded in the latter portion of the race.

At Penn, Evan Jager anchored the USA “Blue” team in the USA v. the World DMR, clocking 3:58.05 for the 1600m leg. Meanwhile, Michelle Sikes ran 4:45.59 in the Women’s “Olympic Development” Mile, which was good for 6th place and just 2 seconds back from the winner, mile specialist Geena Gall.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Res Run 1

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James and Boaz enjoy an easy hour lope around the Reservoir, and unexpectedly meet some fellow KIMbiaites.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Timothy Cherigat Third at Chicago Marathon

Timothy Cherigat en route to finishing 3rd at the 2008 Chicago Marathon.Laying off the near-foolhardy opening pace of the leaders (who were 1:02:26 at halfway), Timothy Cherigat ran his best race of the past few years to take third at this morning’s Chicago Marathon. In warm conditions, with the temperature above 70 when he finished, Timothy ran 2:11:39. He finished looking really strong.

The top two finishers, Evans Cheruiyot and David Mandango, were the only ones from the early lead pack not to come back to Timothy. For example, Emmanuel Mutai, who was so impatient early on that he surged ahead of designated pacesetter Boaz Cheboiywo at 10 miles, faded to sixth in 2:15:36. Timothy, in contrast, was eighth at halfway in 1:03:54.

Christopher Cheboiboch had an off day, placing 12th in 2:23:22 after passing halfway in 1:05:29.

Searchable results are here.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Christopher Cheboiboch: “I’m waiting for a big day in Boston”

Christpher Cheboiboch is a full-time resident of Iten, where KIMbia’s Kenya camp is located. He runs a primary academy and owns businesses in the town, including Iten’s only gas station. On Monday, he’ll attempt to improve upon his second-place finish at the 20002 Boston Marathon.

Christopher Cheboiboch before the 2007 Chicago Marathon. You’re a resident of Iten and a business owner there. How was that affected by the post-election violence?
After December, it was really hard for everyone in Kenya for the next two months.

Did you close your academy?
We opened late by two weeks, because we could not take any chances. Once we resumed, everything was okay.

Were any of your properties or businesses targeted by the rioters?
No. If you talk with people all the time and are nice with them in your dealings, then you will be okay. In Iten, none of my colleagues or me were targeted. Iten is mostly Kalenjin, so things were not too bad for me in Iten.

How was your training affected?
At first you’re asking yourself, “What is going to happen tomorrow?” You see that people are rioting, that roads are being blocked and people are very angry about the stolen rights after voting for a change. I can say we were lucky in Iten because the KIMbia group, we have a camp there, and my home is there, so I was fortunate that my family was close. I was staying in my house and then in the morning would meet the guys for training. It would worry us—what might happen today?

Some runners were accused of helping to fund the violence, because they’re known to have more money than a lot of people. Were you ever accused of that, given that you’re a business owner in Iten, you have the academy there and so on?
Clearly that was a very bad thing. To me, as a person, I never thought those guys would do such a thing. These are the people who are well off in Eldoret. Why would they try to make things worse? To me, nobody accused me by name. But still, if people say athletes are providing money for these things, then some people might think that about me.

Since you’ve come to Boulder, what have you heard about what’s going in Kenya?
Every day I have to go and see what’s going on. I call my family every day to make sure they are okay. Things are much better than they were in January, but I hear that in the last few days, there have been a few problems again. People are still worried about what will happen.

How do you feel about your fitness compared to before other marathons?
I think I can say for a marathon, the most important thing is to have run all the training sessions. One thing I’m happy about for myself is I trained and did not get any injuries. I’m waiting for a big day in Boston. I know we will have strong guys. I have to run my own race, because you never know what will come in a marathon. I have in my mind that the person who will come through will be the best man on the day.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Report from Iten Peace Run

Peter Vigneron is in Kenya for the next few months to work on KIMbia Foundation projects. Here’s his account of the Iten Peace Run, held last Saturday in Kenya’s unofficial running capital.

Our correspondent and some of his new rafikis (friends).A little after 8am I arrived at the soccer field in Iten center, shepherded by Paul Koech and with 30 girls from Silgich Hill Academy following in two matatus. Already I was traveling with a former world champion, and presently I would meet another, then an Olympic gold medalist, then a reigning world champion at 800 meters. I snagged a picture of the man who holds the greatest record in track and field, and—true to form—he made an early exit from the scene. This was the start to my fourth day in Kenya, 74 hours into the trip.

Toby Tanser and Lornah Kiplagat have held a girls race in Iten since 2004. This year’s edition was scheduled for January 5th, but events intervened and the race did not proceed. On February 28, Kenya’s rival politicians signed a power sharing agreement that has brought a nervous peace to the country, and the event, which in normal circumstances promotes education and athletic achievement for young girls, was recast as a peace march and 4k cross country fun run. This year, it featured nearly every prominent Kenyan runner of the last four decades.

Douglas Wakihuri (1987 world marathon champ) and Luke Kibet (2007 world marathon champ) with their country’s flag.When the idea for a peace run was born, Kenyans had made precious few serious gestures toward peace and reconciliation nationwide. In fact there is still a disheartening shortage of such gestures, but the running community is beginning to make its voice heard. “Actions speak louder than words,” Olympic bronze medalist Mike Boit said after the race, “and we have told everyone that we want peace in Kenya.”

The elephant on the field Saturday afternoon was a report published by the International Crisis Group (ICG) February 21 that accused runners of funding and organizing some of the post-election violence in Rift Valley Province. It quoted sources who suggested that Kalenjin runners with military training helped to drive the Kikuyu supporters of Mwai Kibaki out of the Rift after the election, and were thusly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people and the widespread destruction of Kikuyu homes and shops.
These allegations came several weeks after several athletes received SMS text messages threatening violence against runners if they purchased abandoned Kikuyu land. The ICG paper reports that runners involved in the violence had “partly economic” motivations for supporting Kalenjin militias, and the SMS threats were probably intended to deter athletes from buying Kikuyu land at low cost. Moses Tanui, who owns several large commercial buildings in Eldoret, was also harassed by police, whom many Kalenjins say sided with the government against the opposition.
Who needs CoolMax? Tanser recruited nearly 600 girls from local primary schools for the race, and gave each a yellow t-shirt bearing the Shoe4Africa logo and the words “Run for Peace.” Tanser’s organization distributes running shoes to underprivileged Kenyan children, and each girl received a pair of sneakers at the finish line.
Each elite athlete was also asked to don a shirt, and so shortly after 10am, a parade of yellow clad runners—past, present, and future—marched through the small commercial center of Iten. 1988 Olympic silver medalist ’87 world marathon champion Douglas Wakiihuri carried the Kenyan flag at the head of the parade with Luke Kibet, the reigning world marathon champion who was injured in the violence. Wakihuri is Kikuyu and Kibet Kalenjin.
The 31 page ICG report contains only one paragraph on athlete participation in the violence, but that paragraph has attracted worldwide media attention. An article on ForeignPolicy.com noted how disappointing it would be if athlete role models were responsible for or involved in violence. It is a concern that has deeply offended the Kenyan running community, who view themselves as the face Kenya shows to the world.
Well, so much for a blazing kick–some girls queued up 100 meters from the finish.After the march, KIMbia athletes Chris Cheboiboch and Tim Cherigat led the girls through the two-lap 4k course. 14 year old Paskaline Kosgei took an early lead, running alongside Cheboibach for a solid victory over Chelimo Ng’etich and Gladys Cherop, who were paced by Cherigat. Kosgei won a Compaq laptop for her school, and Ng’etich and Cherop took home 12,000 and 8,000 Kenyan Shillings, respectively, or roughly $185 and $125 USD. All but a few girls racing went barefoot, and the scene at the finish was at times both chaotic and comical. Race organizers and staff rushed to hand out shoes but were quickly overwhelmed. At one point the queue for the finish grew to over 100 meters.
The athletes I’ve spoken with are furious that the paragraph implicating runners in the ICG report has been seized upon by the media. “It’s all political,” one told me. “It’s people taking advantage of the situation to tarnish big names in the running community. They see an opportunity and they take it.”
In Iten, business is back to usual. The hundreds of runners who normally train on the town’s famous red dirt roads have returned. KIMbia athletes Cheboiboch, Cherigat, James Kosgei and Mike Jeptoo put in a very good 25k effort on Wednesday, and Charles Kibiwott ran 2:08 at the Seoul International Marathon on Sunday. World Cross County is coming up. The athletes would like the violence, and now the accusations, behind them.

International athletes in attendance, Shoe4Africa Run For Peace:

  • Daniel Komen
  • Janet Jepkosgei (The Eldoret Express)
  • Lornah Kiplagat
  • Yobes Ondieki
  • Joyce Chepchumba
  • Amos Biwot
  • Moses Tanui
  • Luke Kibet
  • Moses Kiptanui
  • John Yuda
  • Paul Koech
  • Mike Boit
  • Douglas Wakihuri
  • Ezekiel Kembio
  • Jephart Kimutei
  • Ben Maiyo
  • Matthew Birir
  • Kimutei Kosgei
  • John Litei
  • Durka Mana
  • Silvia Kibet
  • James Kosgei
  • Rebbie Koech
  • Peter Tanui
  • Christopher Koskei
  • Paul Cherop
  • Ben Kogo
  • Rose Tatamuye
  • Wilson Juma
  • Jonah Birir
  • Luke Kipkosgei
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