View Full Version : The Kenyans Offer to Train with Canty! <Running Content>

08-26-2002, 08:35 AM
Warning - LONG!

I've been gearing up for a half-marathon lately by running 10K after 10K after 10K. My friend Heather has been running a lot of them with me... See this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=131446) for one race report.

This weekend I didn't have a race; Heather did. I enjoy supporting Heather at races so I offered to go with her. Sunday was the Woodbury Country Mile (http://www.woodburychamber.org/mile.htm) Half-Marathon. (I don't understand the name, either.) She had to register that morning, so when I expressed interest in going, she said, "Are you sure you want to go? We have to leave the neighborhood at 5:30 AM." I told her I'd be there. And man, am I glad I went!

The morning was clear, beautiful, a little humid and the temperature was in the mid-70s. The mosquitos were out in force. After Heather registered, attached her bib and tied her chip to her shoe, we headed toward the start. The field was about 600 strong. Heather took off her jacket and went for a warm-up so I stood around and people-watched. A large contingent of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training (http://www.teamintraining.org/hm_tnt) runners ran by and I heard their leader say, "If it's any consolation, you'll be running with the Kenyans today," and nod in the direction of two very dark-skinned black guys getting ready to run. I was a little embarrassed for the Team in Training guy... just because the guy is dark-skinned, in shape and at a running event, he's Kenyan? Hmmm.

After a lengthy speech from the race director about the new course, they were off.

The course is an unusual out-and-back. Out for a few miles, then two large loops and back to the finish on the beginning stretch. The cool thing about the course is that a spot about four miles from the start allowed me (and other specators) to see the runners at three different points in the race.

I got to the spot about five minutes before the leader. And what a leader he was. It was one of the "Kenyans" and man, did he look beautiful and strong. He was at least three minutes ahead of the next competitor. Several more men passed by - I wasn't expecting to see Heather yet, but suddenly there she was, in tenth or eleventh place! I almost missed her! "Go Heather!" I yelled as she flew by.

Twenty minutes later the "Kenyan" came by again... "You are inspirational!" I yelled at him, "Keep going!" Heather showed up about seven minutes behind the leader. "Go Heather!" I yelled. "Hey, you saw me this time!" She yelled back, smiling.

The third time I saw the field, the "Kenyan" had really distanced himself; he was at least five minutes ahead of the rest of the pack. Heather was still going strong as the first place woman with nine or ten men ahead of her.

I drove to the finish and arrived two minutes ahead of the leader. The "Kenyan" looked so strong crossing the line. Muscular, bald, sweaty and strong. Watching his awesome display of athleticism would make anyone want to take up running. The race director announced his name and time as he crossed the line. Lawrence Mboga - his time: 1:11:45. A 5:29 mile pace. Ho. Lee. Crap. It was almost six more minutes before the second-place competitor showed up.

I had to talk to him, so I went over. His friend from the beginning of the race was helping him get out of his sweaty clothes... "Hi Lawrence, I just wanted to tell you what a thrill it was to watch you run today. You were inspirational."

"Thank you." He said, smiling and shaking my hand.

"Was the course hilly?" I asked.

"Oh yes, I went up, I went down." Lawrence replied.

I congratulated him again and headed back to the finish in time to see my best friend win the women's division with a time of 1:23:14 - a 6:21 mile pace. She's a f*ckin' badass.

After Heather's race, we wandered around together while she cooled off and ended up meeting some friends of hers... they talked for quite a while about their times and finally got around to asking what time the leader had run. I couldn't remember, so I walked over to the race director to see if he could announce the time again. He was a little too busy to answer, so I started back to Heather when from my left I heard, "Hey, how old are you?" It was the "Kenyans" and they were gesturing to me to come over and talk.

"Are you talking to me?" I asked.

"Yes, how old are you?" Lawrence asked.

I'm not embarrassed about my age and really don't mind the question. "I'm thirty-three, why do you want to know?" I asked, smiling.

"Oh, we thought you were fifteen!" His friend said, both of them laughing.

"So, where are you guys from, anyway?"


Okay, so they're really Kenyans. Cool.

We talked for about twenty minutes. I got Lawrence's time. His friend, Vincent Temu, bragged about how he was a lot faster than Lawrence. Turns out they both live in New Brighton and train in Minnesota half of the year. They head back to Kenya during the ungodly winter. They asked if I ran and I told them of my incredibly slow average 10-minute mile pace.

"You should train with us." Lawrence said.

I couldn't speak. My chest felt full, my face flushed. Maybe they were just being nice and didn't really mean it...

"Are you kidding?" I asked, incredulous.

"We can't guarantee anything except that you will run faster."

"Are you kidding?"

"No, we're not kidding. We should get together at Lake Calhoun sometime and do some long slow distance."

I can't believe it. The Kenyans offered to train with me.

I've decided. I'm going to run the marathon in the 2008 Olympics.


08-26-2002, 08:43 AM
Wow!! That's excellent news - good luck! As someone who can hardly make it to my car without wheezing, I'm envious. Congrats!

08-26-2002, 09:03 AM
I am jealous ;) Will you share some of their training techniques with us? Maybe you will be catching up to Heather sooner than you think!

08-26-2002, 09:29 AM
I almost forgot one of the coolest parts! I found out today on teh internet that Vincent Temu's father was the first Kenyan to win Olympic gold - the 10,000 meter in Mexico City in 1968.

How cool is that?!?

08-26-2002, 10:02 AM
Damn man, that is so cool! I wish that the offspring of an Olympic gold medalist would offer to train with me.

08-26-2002, 10:04 AM
"...on the Internet..."


08-26-2002, 10:35 AM
You know, it's funny. As fast as those elite athletes are, they know how to run sloooooow.

Two weeks ago the AFC Half Marathon was held in San Diego, and I guess some elites came from out of town. A friend spied them in Balboa Park the day before the race, just out doing an easy run. It turns out they were doing an 11 minute pace. Hard to believe, isn't it?

Cripes, if I slowed down 5-6 minutes per mile in my pace, I'd be walking! And slowly!

08-26-2002, 11:54 AM
Ooh, that's a spectacular opportunity! Reminds me of my own long lost dreams, really. When I was 14, I decided that I was going to become a runner. After a few dismal race showings, it was apparent that I was using the term "running" loosely. I think my PR was something like 33:00 -- on a 5k. By the time I was 16, and no world-class athletes showed up to help me train, I gave up on the running idea.

May your training be successful, and enjoy the LSD! (Gosh, that was much funnier when I was 16...)

08-26-2002, 01:06 PM
Shoot, if you guys don't think it's too nutty of an idea, maybe I will take them up on their offer!

They were two incredibly nice, humble and funny human beings. It was the realization of my fantasy of what meeting and talking with an elite athlete would be. How often does that happen? Never.

It's more than 24 hours later and I'm still in shock.

08-26-2002, 01:09 PM
Yeah... Kenya believe it?

08-26-2002, 02:15 PM
A male friend just told me that they were merely flirting with me, maybe even trying to get the hook up with an American woman for the citizenship and stuff...

I just don't wanna believe it.

dantheman, you're hilarious! :)

08-26-2002, 02:45 PM

Were you serious about training for the Olympics, winky notwithstanding? Cause it sounds like you've got the inspiration, now..

08-26-2002, 02:51 PM
I'm envious. Are you going to change your board name to "RunswithKenyans," or something?

08-26-2002, 03:11 PM
The Kenyans run the Cooper River Bridge Run/Walk here in Charleston, SC annually. I believe they have been first place every year (both Male & Female). The Kenyans are quite renowned for their amazing running abilities. And, IMHO, if you get the chance to train with them, you should absolutely do it, that's quite an honor.

08-26-2002, 04:08 PM
dantheman, I'm joking about the Olympics... I truly have zero desire to compete at that level. My running goals are as follows:

Short Term:
1. Gradually increase my weekly mileage.
2. Run the 2003 Grandma's Marathon, comfortably and without stopping.
Long Term:
1. Run comfortable, sustainable, long, slow distances, six times a week, for the rest of my life.
2. Be a running fan.

I guess it would be cool to train just once with the Kenyans, just to be able to say that I did it... but I wouldn't want to lead them on about my personal level of commitment to the sport.


08-26-2002, 07:44 PM
Well, I think it would be GREAT to train with eminent athletes, even if it's a one-shot deal. Really, if some major league baseball player wanted to pitch batting practice with me, I'd do it - even if I knew at my age I wouldn't be competing anytime soon!

Hope you do it, and good luck!