By JONATHAN KOMEN
Eldoret stands out as the undisputed ‘City of Champions’— and by extension — the world’s athletic superpower.
Every world beater in athletics who readily comes to mind, from the legendary Kipchoge Keino to the pint-sized Vivian Cheruiyot, calls this part of the country home.
This is where speed meets endurance, where budding athletes nurture their skills and where races are planned and executed with precision.
And in a fortnight, the town will once again reverberate in a spectacular fashion when thousands of athletes’ battle each other at the sixth Kass Marathon.
The high-stakes Kass Marathon, which is the only media-sponsored race in the world, has certainly carved out a niche by producing trailblazers in world marathons.
Geoffrey Mutai, who posted the world’s fastest unofficial time of 2:03.02 in Boston last year, won the inaugural Kass Marathon in 2007.
It was double victory for Mutai as he was spotted by his Dutch manager Gerard Van de Veen of Volare Sports during the race.
The 30-year-old Mutai says: “Although the Kass Marathon proved tough to many runners, I found it easy since I had trained at the hilly areas of Kapng’etuny. The race paid up after I met my manager Gerard Van de Veen, who began to organise races for me.”
It turned out to Van de Veen that Kass Marathon is simply a fertile ground to scout for talents.
The Dutchman, who also manages world’s second all-time best marathoner Wilson Kipsang, is keen to sign up more athletes at this year’s Kass Marathon.