All in the genes
2003-03-23Much talk of Kenyan runners profiting from birth and nurturing at altitude took an interesting diversion today, when Patrick Chumba won the inaugural Marseille Music Marathon in a personal best, 2hr 12min 06sec. Different traditions relating to family names obscure the fact that the 24 year old Chumba is the son of Peter Koech, a former world record holder in the steeplechase. Koech ran 8min 05.35sec in Stockholm on July 3, 1989.
"It was because my father was a good runner, that I began training when I was 15," said Chumba. Of course it helps that, in common with most of his compatriots, Chumba was born and trains at altitude. He is a Nandi tribesman, like the first great Kenyan distance runner, Kipchoge Keino.
The race turned into something of a local struggle, because the leader for over 40 kilometres was Julius Sugut, who comes from the same town, Kapsabet, as Chumba. "I was trying to get away from him, because I knew he would be strong at the end," said Sugut. So it proved, Chumba raised the pace in the final kilometre, leaving Sugut second, on 2.12.21. A third Kenyan, John Kiprono was third in 2.12.51. It was a different story in the womens race. Tatyana Hladyr of the Ukraine led every step of the way, to win by over five minutes, in 2.37.50. Second and third were Russians, Lilya Yadzhak and Tatyana Mironova, in 2.43.39 and 2.44.09 respectively.
Over 3000 runners in all took to the Marseille streets for this inaugural race around the port city, founded by Greeks in 600BC. Modelled on the Rock Roll Marathon in San Diego, there was a succession of sound stages around the course, with local groups providing entertainment. ends
further info: tel +33 4 9117 2267; UK mobile 07900 243460 (results to follow)
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