Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rubbing Elbows With Elite Runners

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.


  1. Patience patience. Remember - the races will always be there. Make sure you are in good health so you can enjoy.

    You're story about the marathon finishers reminds my of my first half. Everyone started at the same time. At mile 8, the full marathoners spli from the half marathoners. The trails joined again a mile from the finish. I came pulling in to finish my half marathon - right nehind the marathon *third* place finisher!

  2. Hi Bong. Wow, what a great clinic. It's nice to get away from running and attend one of those, especially when elite athletes are a part of it.

    Hope the calf is doing better. Take care and have a good safe weekend!

  3. Very nice Bong, surely it must have been a treat to actually hang out with true-blue elite runners. I like the fact that your time wasn't that far off - for the half mary haha :) Nice post man.


  4. Wow I would love to go to something like that.

    I hope your long walk goes okay with the calf and thanks for the idea of run/walking - I will do that on Tuesday and see how I go :)

  5. That clinic sounds awesome! Glad you got so much out of it. If anything like that ever comes to our local running store... I'd be all over it.

  6. Hi Glenn, yes, that's the one thing I can't lose, patience, otherwise my running season is over.

    For a minimal registration fee to join a clinic, the rewards are enormous, and one of them is getting to hear from and talk to elite runners who always get invited to give inspirational talks to new runners. The calf injury I think is no moreI. I just did a 2 hour walk/run (mostly walk) this morning. Take care Wayne.

    It's so humbling to know how fast these elite runners are, but more surprising was, they were also the most humble, friendliest and most approachable elite runners around. I like it when Danny told us that each runner is different and that even he, with a 2:14 best time in the marathon gets beaten by faster runners.

    Hey, Sharon, my left calf passed the test this morning. I walked/ran for around 2 hours this morning (without running more than 2 minutes at any one point)and got home without pain, thanks God. I pray for you to recover completely too with your injury. Take care.

    Hi Glorybelle, thanks for dropping by my blog. I love reading your posts and am actually a quiet fan of yours, particularly with your fast times, something that I lack as a runner. By reading runner blogs of elites like yourself, I might discover the "secret" to their success in the sport. Take care and enjoy what's left of the weekend.