Tonight I attended my marathon clinic session with 2 elite runners, Amos Munyua (from Kenya) and Danny Kassap (originally from Congo) as speakers. They shared with us their life stories, the hard life in their countries of origin, the long run or walk to and from school, the loneliness of being away from family and the trials, hardwork and joys of being on top of the game as elite runners.
Danny Kassap, winner of the 2006 Montreal International Marathon (2:20) and 2004 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (2:14) . His times are not really that far from my best time of 2:23 (except I ran the half marathon, he he he)
Amos Munyua, on the right ,specializes more on the 1,500 meters (best time-3:34) but is slowly training for longer distances. On June 17, 2009, he won the Toronto Night Crawler 5 Miler in a time of 27:08. I ran the same race last year, and without bragging, my time was just a few minutes behind him at 48 and change, he he.
The room was jampacked with people, and I arrived a little bit late, so had to listen from row 5 .Have to plan a strategy to rub elbows with these elite runners whatever it takes. Maybe, just maybe, they could give me their "secret" other than genetics on how to run fast.
A little bit of Pinoy talk and jokes, and, ola! Amos is now converted to the Bongpagong way of slow but fun running. In reality though, had to patiently wait before I even spoke to him. I am surprised at how humble and friendly these elite athletes really are, and they share the same of the things we ordinary runners are concerned about, like stretching, diet, cross training, running injuries, hydration. I would have liked to talk to him longer but he had to go run 8ks with our running group.
From left to right, run club members Julie, Jack (A Boston Marathon veteran), Amos and trail walking veteran :) Bongpagong
Danny signing some autographs after the presentation
Except for me, everybody on the picture are marathoners, from left, Ray, my clinic teacher with 64 (and still counting), Victoria (1 marathon), Danny (winner of several marathons), myself (trail walking expert :) and Jack, a Boston Marathon finisher a number of times.
Overall, it was a very productive evening, with the two elite runners providing as much information one could get about running in general and a little bit more to be good at it, coming from people who are actually almost always in the lead pack in all races they've run. The only regret I have is not being able to go out there with Amos and my marathon clinic group to do the 8k tempo run. It would have been nicer to run side by side with an elite runner rather than just rub elbows with him.