Kenyan Runners Miss out On Miami marathon As Chaos Continues In Kenya

Posted: January 29, 2008 in kenyan Runners

For a second time in a month, Kenya’s runners failed to win a marathon. Haile Gebreselassie won January Dubai Marathon ahead of his kenyan pacemaker and at last weekend ING Miami marathon Jose Garcia of Guetemala won ahead of Kenya’s Samwel Kiprotich. Are we Kenyans losing our touch in long distance running?

Kenya Violence Affects Runners

One thing that is surely affecting Kenyan runners is the ongoing political crisis in the country. A former athlete, Lukas Sang was killed and a current athlete has been killed. Athletes have claimed they have received threats to their lives. Most of kenyas’ athletes are from Rift Valley province of Kenya that has been a center of ethnic fighting. Its difficult to go out running when you know the roads are full of gangs killing people.

How the Violence Erupted

The chaos started after a suspect election process. The incumbent, President Kibaki was declared the winner but the Opposition, Orange Democratic Movement protested calling for mass action. The mass action has now turned into ethnic fighting, tribe against tribe. Neighbours who lived in harmony are now turning against one another. Koffi Annan the former United Nations Secretary General is in the country to try and mediate between the feuding politicians.

Watching the media you might think the whole of Kenya is on fire but that is not the case. I come from Mt. Kenya region, the area has not suffered the violence and am still able to go about with my business, as you can see am still able to update this blog daily.  But I fear its only a matter of time and the whole country will be affected economically. Key economic sectors,Tourism and Agriculture are rapidly being killed. I still dread that day when my internet provider will apologise to me for increasing my internet charges due to the worsening economic situation!

How Runners are Coping

Training camps have been shut down and some elite athletes have left the country and shifted their training base abroad. The local athletics federation is playing a part in finding peace by trying to organise a peace run. If their is one thing that is known to unite people is sports. I hope and pray Kenya finds peace.

If you want to understand more about Kenya, Marathon guide website has an informative article, a Runners Guide To Kenyas’ History.

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