It is paramount that an athlete arrives at the start line of any race feeling fresh and ready. A huge amount of work takes place behind the scenes to make sure that athletes competing abroad arrive at their destination with plenty of time to acclimatise and relax prior to their event. Unfortunately occasions arise where matters are out of the hands of all concerned and it was one of these scenarios that Run-Fast athlete Peter Emase found himself in on his way to the Half Marathon Villa de Madrid.
After a lengthy delay in Nairobi, Peter missed his connecting flight and was stranded in the Middle East for 24 hours while the UK team pulled out all the stops to make sure the young athlete made it to Spain. On stand-by and unable to venture far, Peter spent an uncomfortable night sleeping on an airport floor before finally being called to a flight, arriving in Madrid at 4pm the day before his race.
The race, which starts and finishes in the picturesque Parque del Buen Retiro, follows a particularly hilly course and a win seemed like a tall order for an athlete who had spent the previous 48 hours travelling.
Although only just turned 20, Peter is an astute athlete and wisely tucked in at the back of the lead group as the race got underway. At the 10km mark a Moroccan athlete edged ahead of the pack, forcing the group to push the pace considerably. Conserving precious energy reserves, Peter held his place with the group but did not attempt to make a challenge for the lead.
With only 2km to go Peter drew on his strength and began to make his way to the front, running an explosive final kilometre into first place in 62:00, a new personal best time and beating the course record by seven seconds.
Such an achievement on a tough course and after a difficult journey suggest that we may see some very exciting performances from Peter Emase over the coming months.
Back in the UK, the rest of the team were out in full force at the Brighton Marathon. Defending champion and course record holder Dominic Kimwetich was up against a very strong field in a race which has established itself as the second biggest marathon in the UK since its inception in 2010. Changes to the route, which has seen new course records set in the men’s race every year, promised that this year’s event would be even faster.
Heavy rain and chilly temperatures the day before the marathon did not bode for good race conditions, however Sunday arrived dry and cool, albeit under heavy grey clouds.
The race was started at 9:15am by marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe and the lead pack devoured the first 5km in little over 15 minutes. Run-Fast pace makers Boniface Kongin, Matthew Kimutai and Peter Wanjiru set the tone at the front end perfectly, going through 20km in 62 minutes. A group of eight men kept a tidy pace for most of the race. They fought against a strong headwind along the exposed part of the course leading up to the power station, aptly named the Road to Hell, with nobody seeking to push ahead. This all changed at mile 20 as, with the wind now at their backs, cracks began to show and the bulk of the group fell away, the final 10km a two-man race between Dominic and fellow Kenyan athlete William Chebor. The pair matched each other stride for stride along the final stretch of the promenade until, with just one mile to go, Chebor put in one final push, reaching the ribbon first in a new course record time of 2:09:25. Dominic followed closely into second with a new personal best time 2:09:36 and well within the course record he set on this same course last year.
Slightly further back in the pack, Run-Fast athletes Colin Leak and Nicholas Kirui found themselves in a slightly awkward position. Having been tasked with pacing the second elite group, the pair found themselves at the halfway point with no athletes to look after as many had succumbed to fatigue and been unable to maintain the set pace. At mile 14 the team-mates paired up to assist British athlete and marathon debutant Ian Kimpton, accompanying him to 23 miles and a first-attempt time of 2:18:04.