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Karoki, Vivian Cheruiyot hold marathon running future

Wednesday April 26 2017
By BARNABA KORIR

Congratulations are in order for Kenya’s London Marathon winners. Daniel Wanjiru held off a late charge from Ethiopian track legend Kenenisa Bekele to win the men’s race in 2:05.48 while Mary Keitany sealed her third London title in a women-only world record of 2:17.01, beating Britain’s Paula Radcliffe’s previous best by 41 seconds.

Radcliffe still holds the overall record of 2:15.25, which she set in a mixed gender race at the London Marathon in 2003 when she used male runners to help set the pace.

I expected Keitany to win the race, but for Wanjiru, it came as a huge shocker, considering all eyes were on Bekele.

But as much as the two victories were interesting, my focus on the day was elsewhere. I was more interested to see how Vivian “Pocket Rocket” Cheruiyot would fare, and if at all fellow debutant Bedan Karoki was up to the challenge for the painful 42-kilometre race.

And they didn’t disappoint!

Cheruiyot came fourth in the women’s race in 2:23:50, while Karoki was third in the men’s race in 2:07:41.

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These were major feats considering that the two were making their debut in marathon. Just imagine the transition from 10,000 metres to the half marathon then to marathon in less than a year!

As far as I am concerned, the two are the future of marathon running as long as they calculate their steps.

Vivian, like the Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, has taken the baby steps to reach wherever she is and it is the right time for her to join the marathon fray.

She has won everything there is to win on track and it’s time for her to prove herself on the road. Coincidentally, she is joining the track almost at the same time with her track rival Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, second in London in 2:17:56.

After a 15-year stint of entertainment on track, it remains to be seen what the two have to offer on the road, and I’m sure the next time they meet, it will be very interesting.

However, Karoki will really have to punch above his weight to steal the limelight considering he is arriving at a time when men’s marathon is too competitive.

With Kipchoge and Bekele just getting in the mix, Karoki will have to do more to avoid playing catch up. Kipchoge is already scaling new heights as he looks forward to running under two hours in Monza.

But as we celebrate our runners, the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya need to do more to sensitise up-coming runners on the hazards of doping.

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