Practice makes perfect for Langat siblings ahead of Milan Marathon


Clement Lang'at (left) and his brother Elkana after a training session in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet on Tuesday. [Chrsitopher Kipsang, Standard]

When you enter Eldoret’s Kipchoge Keino Stadium at 9am, you will always see a group of athletes, bodies glistening from sweat.

All are dressed in running gear –full track suits, bikers, singlets and T-shirts. As their feet pound the ground in yet another season, there is nothing to distinguish one runner from the other.

But you will notice two identical siblings –Clement Langat and his younger brother Elkana –thanks to their lanky physique. The two brothers are sharpening their speed ahead of the Milan Marathon set for April 3.

Kenyan siblings competing in major marathons is nowadays a common sight.

In 2016, the two inked their names to the growing list of Kenya’s athletics competing in a race as they ascended to the podium in the Chicago Marathon –America’s fastest 42km race.

Gideon (2:12.20) and Valentine (2:23.41), who come from Kapkitony area in Keiyo South, finished third in men’s and women’s races respectively.

Interestingly, Gideon and Valentine have won the Mumbai Marathon. Valentine, who is the immediate younger sibling, won the race in 2013, while Gideon won the race that year.

Clement, a former Africa cross country champion, is the elder sibling. He won Rome Marathon in his 42km debut and will return to Italy seeking another jewel as well as register a new personal best in the flat Milan Marathon course.

“I want to go back to Italy in April in a special way. I will compete alongside my younger brother Elkana because we train together,” said Clement, the 2010  world junior cross country junior silver medallist.

“My focus is not only to win the race, but also improve my personal best from 2:08.23 and run a sub 2:05 or under. That’s my target.”

Clement said he started competing in athletics on the track and cross country at the junior level and opted to step up to marathon after 10 years.

“After 10 years on track and cross country, I saw it was good to move to marathon and see how it goes. Last year when I won Rome marathon, I realised the transition was good and while I prepare my return to Italy, I hope and pray to God to grant me good health. I want to run 2:05 or under,” he said.

On competing against his brother, Clement said: “Going up against my brother will be enjoyable and motivating as well. Right now, we are training together and today’s speed work, we did one mile, ten times. It will be nice going in the same flight with my brother to compete in the same race. We will be motivating each other on the course,” he said on Tuesday.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games athletics showpiece will be held at Alexander Stadium on July 28-August 8 while Hayward Field hosts the World Athletics Championships on July 15- July 24 and Clement hopes to make the team to any of these competitions.

“I will be happy to make it to the national team. I will be one of the happiest men to fly the Kenyan flag at either Commonwealth Games or the World Championships. But this will not be my first time to represent Kenya. I won the Africa cross country title and world cross country silver medal as a junior,” Clement added.

Elkana, who won the Ravenna marathon last year, said his graduation from track to marathon has been smooth.

After making his debut at the 2019 Eldoret City marathon, where he finished a distant 32 in a time of 2:18.04, he made his maiden international race at the Ravenna Marathon and won in 2:10.33.

“We will be targeting fast times in our next race.”