Running with the marathon kings

2014-11-23 15:00

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Daniel Mothowagae spent a day with Kenyans Dennis Kimetto and Wilson Kipsang, and local star Lusapho April, in Cape Town this week

What were you doing before you began running professionally?

Kimetto: I was working at a farm, ploughing and herding cattle, as my parents could not afford to send me to secondary school.

Kipsang: I was running my own business, selling farm produce.

April: I’ve been into running since I was discovered at school.

How has running changed your life?

Kimetto: I’m able to feed my family and pay my siblings’ school fees.

Kipsang: It has changed the lives of my family, my friends and my community for the better.

April: At first, it was not entirely about the money, but now I’m making a living out of it and I get to travel around the world.

What do you invest in?

Kimetto: I’m buying land to pursue livestock farming. I’m also investing in a property business.

Kipsang: I’m involved in the hotel industry.

April: I’m in the process of buying a house and will consider business options.

Tell us about your family.

Kimetto: I’m the fourth-born in a family of seven children – three girls and four boys.

Kipsang: I’m from a family of nine children – five boys and four girls – and am the third-born.

April: I’m the eldest of six children – three boys and three girls.

Where do you train and what makes your training base special?

Kimetto: I train in Eldoret in Kenya. It has a high altitude – 2?100m above sea level. I train with a group of 70 marathon runners.

Kipsang: I do my training in Iten in Kenya, which is also at high altitude. I train with a group of about 50 runners.

April: I train alone in Hogsback in the Eastern Cape, which is 1?600m to 1 800m above sea level.

Who is your coach?

Kimetto: I’m self-coached and developed my training programme using the routines of former Kenyan marathon champions.

Kipsang: I’m also self-coached and do my own programme.

April: I’m coached by Karen Zimmerman. We have been together for the past 18 years.

How many races do you run a year?

Kimetto: I do two.

Kipsang: Two.

April: Two.

What is your shoe size?

Kimetto: Nine.

Kipsang: Nine and a half.

April: Seven and a half.

Are you considering racing in SA anytime soon?

Kimetto: Yes. If invited, I’ll come.

Kipsang: I want to run in SA, but ultramarathons (50km-plus races, which are popular locally) are not for me.

Lusapho, would you consider training in Kenya one day?

April: It’s not out of the equation. I’d definitely be interested in training there if the opportunity arose.

Daniel Mothowagae was in Cape Town courtesy of Newton Sports Agency and Adidas.

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