Although Kenya is known for producing large quantities of young running talent, there are also a few old guys and gals coming up through the ranks. Paul Tergat (39) ain't no spring chicken and fellow marathoners Catherine Ndereba (36) and Tegla Loroupe (35) are also closing in on the 40 year mark. Yet all are still competitive on the international marathon scene.
The recent Nairobi Marathon winner, Samson Kikwei Tuiyange (34), hopes to join their ranks.
As is typical of all Nairobi Marathon winners, Samuel came from near obscurity to win this highly competitive race in a course record 2:10:30 last Sunday. Cosmas Musyoka (3rd, 2:13:10) was leading for most of the race until Tuiyange and eventual runner-up Gitia Baaru (2:11:01) passed him around the 30km (18M) mark. Tuiyange then went solo from the 40km (24.4M) point and cruised to the finish line US$20,000 richer.
Setbacks and Recovery
Back in 2004 he was showing some promise having finished 31st in the Nairobi Marathon then running a 2:15 in China. He was training under an expereienced manager and things were looking up.
But an achilles injury in 2005 put him out of serious competition for about 3 years. 3 YEARS! That's not what you want to happen when your hoping to start an elite distance running career and you're in your thirtys!
But (apparently) Samuel kept at it and after completing a half-marathon in Eldoret (major town in Kenya) he felt he wasa getting in shape.
The rest is history.
But now all eyes will be on him to see if he can duplicate his performance in another marathon in the next few months. I'll let the media interest in him die down and then try and get an interview with him. Of course he's probably busy building a new house with his well-deserved earnings, but I can always shoot him a few questions while I hammer in a few nails. After all, I may not be able to help him build a career at this stage in his life, but I can do my small part to help build his house.