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WHY KENYANS LOST IN BOSTON: Tanui and Cherigat say poor tactics cost local athletes victory

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen | April 20th 2016
Joyce Chepkirui of Kenya runs to a third place in the women's division of the 120th Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 18 April 2016. EPA/HERB SWANSON

Former Boston Marathon winners Moses Tanui and Timothy Cherigat, have blamed poor tactics and inadequate preparation for Kenya’s dismal performance at the 120th Boston Marathon on Monday evening.

Tanui, who won in Boston in 1996 and 1998, said it was not prudent for the athletes to strive for faster times on the energy-sapping Boston course where victory has become elusive for Kenyan men in recent years. Wesley Korir last won it in 2012.

“The Boston Marathon is not about speed because there is no way an athlete can break the world record there. The course is difficult and has not been ratified.”

Tanui said most Kenyan marathoners do not consider tailor-made preparations for the different marathons.

“Before Boston, one has to clock in at least 300 kilometres each week and switch from training in the hilly areas of Iten to Kaptagat and Kapsabet, and also eat well and sleep early.

That is what we used to do but these days our athletes have changed their training so much and that is why you get someone running very fast but for a very short time and then disappears, as opposed to our days when we ran for over 10 to 15 years consistently,” he said.

Cherigat, the 2004 Boston Marathon winner, also blamed the poor performance in the Marathon on poor running tactics.

“The athletes looked like they had not set the strategy well. I blame it squarely on poor preparation. It now puts Athletics Kenya in a tricky position as they select the marathon squad for the Olympic Games.

“The winner won in 2:12 under fair weather unlike when I won in 2:10 when it was too hot,” said Cherigat. Joyce Chepkirui, who came third in women’s race, admitted that her training was not up-to-date.

“I thank God for a third-place finish in Boston, my first World Marathon Majors podium.

“My training was good, but not perfect, so I know that the best is still to come. I am happy with Boston.”

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