Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 77 Men's Marathon, London

Stephen Kiprotich

August 12, 2012

The marathon is complete, the games are all but over.

A remarkable upset, or was it, by Stephen Kiprotich of UGANDA?

Mention was made during the race that he had been training in Eldoret (Western Kenya) with members of the Kenyan team.  More will come out in that story as the days pass.  It's quite possible Stephen is closely related to the lads from Kenya, having the same surname as Kenya's number two finisher Wilson Kiprotich.  That's not always a guarantee, but the chances are good.  Northeastern Uganda borders on Western Kenya.  Some  traditions of running could easily flow over that porous border.  Indeed I've seen some fairly good looking runners training on the roads of Uganda as I passed through there in 2007.

With the example of Mohammed Farah coming to the States to train with Galen Rupp under the tutelage of Alberto Salazar, this could easily be the wave of the future unless xenophobia raises its head in Kenya and the Kenya Athletic Association puts a stop to such practice.  The tale of moving across borders to seek better opportunities has been evident with Kenya juniors mass migrating to the Arabian peninsula, western Europe and America, witness Bernard Lagat but many others as well.  Being an internationalist, I'm always prone to fall on the side of the underdog in a race and celebrate the emergence of a new star or a new country making itself known through sport.  Before today most of us probably recall John Aki Bua the 400IH winner in Munich, but after that burst of glory, all we know of Uganda is the madness of Idi Amin or the atrocities of the Jonathan Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army.  Uganda is a beautiful vibrant country, home of a grand mix of people, and a capital Kampala that never goes to bed.  Congratulations Stephen Kiprotich!  You outdueled the world's  greatest marathon team on your own.

Congratulations too to Mebrahtom Keflezighi, you ran such a beautiful race and carried such a wonderful story of survival and family.

I did a quick tally of team scoring a la cross country and sifted out the  runners of countries that did not have three runners completing the race.   The results appear to be:
1. Kenya     1,2, 10      13
2. Brazil       3,5,7         15
3. Canada    11,12,15   38
4. Russia      8,13,21     42
5. Ukraine    6,17,25     48
6. Japan        4,23,24    51
7. Spain        14,18,,20  52 (tie)
7. Australia    9,16,27    52 (tie)
9. Mexico      22,26,28  74
10. Korea       19,29,30   78
(Track statisticians may find some errors.)

Of note     Ethiopia    3 runners  DNF'd
                North Korea  2 runners finished in lock step 2hr. 20 min. 20 sec.
                Absence of North Africans, only one Moroccan, one Tunisian, one Algerian who DNF'd
                     Could that be the effect of Ramadan?
                Expect the Brazilians to be primed in 2016 in Rio.
                Only a whimper from Western Europe.
                 Coolboy Ngamole of South Africa,   runner with best name in the race

George Brose


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