IN HONOLULU, HAWAII
Titus Ekiru’s father was fast, extremely fast!
But Mzee Nangiro Longote Kameto’s speed was utilized not in conventional sport, but for hunting in Nandi forests where he and his family lived having relocated from Turkana County.
“They tell me he was quite fast and would chase after rabbits and dik diks and catch them,” Ekiru tells me on the sidelines of the Honolulu Marathon where he will be looking to defend his title Sunday (from 6pm, Kenyan time).
Ekiru is happy that today, the people of Turkana have started utilizing their talents to earn a living through sport.
“My father was never a serious athlete. Previously, our people never thought about sports but I’m happy that today, more and more are getting into sports as a profession,” he says.
“I have four athletes whom I help with training equipment, tips and to get their careers going.”
It would seem that sporting talent runs in Mzee Kameto’s family as apart from Ekiru and his elder sister Margaret, his other brothers are also runners.
With changing fortunes following the Ekiru’s successful running career, Mzee Ekiru and family have now relocated to Kitale and will be following today’s Honolulu Marathon keenly to see if the 27-year-old will be the first man to run a sub-2:08 time in the Hawaii State capital.
Race president and CEO Jim Barahal has lined up a stellar Kenyan cast that includes former champion Wilson Chebet in this popular “people’s race” that continues to be the breeding ground for marathon legends, the latest off its production line being Brigid Kosgei, the new women’s world marathon record holder (2:14:04), who won here in a course record 2:22:15 in 2017.
In the same year, Lawrence Cherono set the men’s course record (2:08:27) before going on to win two Majors this year in Boston (2:07:57) and Chicago (2:05:45).
In the women’s race, Kenya’s former Paris champion Betsy Saina – an Iowa State University alumna who has applied for US citizenship – is among the favourites, with fellow Kenyan Margaret Muriuki making her marathon debut here.