Saturday, June 7, 2008

Millicent Gathoni, John Korir Rule the Night

Millicent Gathoni at Freihofer’s.Millicent Gathoni and John Korir produced a double KIMbia victory at last night’s New Balance Moonlight Run in New Milford, Connecticut. John led the top seven men under 14:00 for the 5K, running 13:51 to win by a second over teammate Luke Kipkosgei.

Millicent’s race was nowhere near as close–she ran 15:48 to win by 29 seconds. Her time established a women’s course record, one year after our Tom Nyariki set the men’s course record of 13:36.

Results are here. We’ll back tomorrow with a report from the Prefontaine Classic, where Matt Tegenkamp will run the mile and Chris Solinsky will tackle the 2-mile. And then, of course, our Madison Project video series will resume on Monday.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Chepkurui Wins Bloomsday

Lineth Chepkurui continued her winning ways on Sunday, taking the title at the Bloomsday 12K in Spokane, Washington. The race just happens to be the largest timed running event in the world. Lineth pulled away from the pack, which included Olympic medalist Catherine Ndereba, on the toughest part of the course, Doomsday Hill. She increased her lead in the remaining miles to win in 39:47, 25 seconds ahead of Ndereba. Four weeks ago, Lineth won the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington, D.C.

KIMbia had two former Bloomsday champions in the men’s race. John Korir finished third in 34:17, behind Micah Kogo (33:51) and Ridouane Harroufi (34:14). Our other former champion, Gilbert Okari, returned to action by placing 12th in 35:11. John Yuda was 6th in 34:39, and Luke Kipkosgei was 15th in 35:49.

Results

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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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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ndirangu, Kiplagat Get Recent Road Wins

Better late than never…Labor Day Weekend produced two KIMbia victories. At the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in VA Beach, Edna Kiplagat continued her dominant 2007 road season with an 8-second win over Akane Wakita. It was Edna’s second win in as many years at VA Beach. Tom Nyariki cracked the top-five of the men’s race, finishing 3rd in 1:02:30, just ten seconds off of winner Haron Toroitich.

Simon NdiranguFurther south, at the U.S. 10K Classic in Atlanta, Simon Ndirangu got back to his winning ways with a 4-second win over teammate Luke Kipkosgei – 29:56 to 30:00. Richard Kiplagat finished 4th in 30:17.

This coming weekend five athletes will travel to the Philadelphia Distance Run Half Marathon. Nyariki, John Yuda, Charles Munyeki, and Gilbert Koech will face a tough men’s field in the city of brotherly love. On the women’s side, Edna Kiplagat will be looking to take the second step towards the $25,000 Triple Crown bonus, awarded to an athlete who wins all three fall half marathons put on by Elite Racing (Rock ‘n Roll VA Beach, Philly Distance Run, and Rock ‘n Roll San Jose). Edna finished 2nd in Philly last year and will face a strong field on Sunday.

Rock ‘n Roll Results
U.S. 10K Classic Results
Philly Race Preview

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Falmouth Preview

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