If you smile and agree I will understand
Kenya Blog #3.
Discovery XC in Eldoret is arguably one of the most competitive XC races anywhere in the World and it went down on Sunday. Larry, Declan (Irish Physio), Fran (Spanish 3:38 guy), Rogers (local Kenyan) and I made the trip from Iten to watch the race. We left HATC at 9:00am to make sure we would catch the Junior races before the men’s senior race which was slated for 11:00. We piled into a Matatu for the 30km ride which would cost us 100 Kenyan Shillings ($1.25 Canadian). A matatu is an 11 passenger van (12 including the driver) which acts somewhere between a taxi and a public bus. When we got into the matatu we increased the number of passengers to 15. We then picked up more passengers on the way to peak at a nice 21, but to be fair there was one little kid on her mom’s lap.
To make more seats there were wooden slats that were brought out to be placed between the seats in the aisle.
We came upon a police check and a few people exited the matatu, including the guy seated with the passengers who collects the money (and often just hangs out the door). We all had our own seats when the police looked into the van. Once we were around the police check the money collector jumped back in and we drove to the XC course.
My buddy, James (aka J Dirty), made Larry and I t-shirts before our trip. Mine was the subject of a popular youtube clip about a leprechaun sighting in a tree in Mobile, Alabama. I thought it would be the cat’s pyjamas (a term used by Leisure Suit) to get Asbel Kiprop to wear the shirt. Asbel is the 2008 Olympic 1500m Champ who has yet to receive his gold medal after it was retracted from Rashid Ramzi who tested positive for EPO.
The race itself was absolutely insane. The Junior boys race had close to 600 competitors. The senior men’s race looked very competitive through 100 places, and even Martin Lel was over 2 minutes behind the leader. I have some footage that I will post upon my return.
Start of the senior men’s race, which went off at 12:20.
JP and ‘Webster’ at Discovery XC.
Earlier that morning I went for a run with Larry and Francisco. We headed out at 6:15 and passed the famous St. Patrick’s High School. About 20 minutes into our run we were joined, haphazardly, by a Kenyan runner named William. We were pretty lost so we asked William our way back and he was able to get us back for a 19km run in which Fran and I added on another couple of km. William has run 2:11:03 for the marathon. That’s just the nature of the runner’s here in Iten. I can stumble upon guys with faster marathon PB’s than myself whereas in Canada I have the fastest time in 24 years. On top of that I met Duncan Kibet (2:04:27) yesterday at lunch and Geoffrey Mutai (2:04:55) lives right by us.
Five people on a motorcycle, no big deal. These kids are getting dropped off to watch the Discovery XC.
Saturday is market day in Iten and it’s mostly second-hand clothes and shoes.