© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated
If anyone was worried about what was happening to the Kenyans after day one, where in the men’s marathon the usual haul of medals did not happen, well fret not, they are back with a vengeance. And anyway, the marathon is just one event. In this case the temperatures were hot and the course wasn’t ripping fast. Collectively we can assume they dropped-out to save themselves for an autumn marathon where they can make tens of thousands of dollars and run faster times. When you have the current and the second-to-latest world record holders in the marathon drop out, you know it is a hot day.
No one was going to run a 2:02 or even a sub-2:06 or even sub-2:10 with a low of 20 Celsius and a high of 31 plus humidity. In fact the winning time was 2:12 by a 19-year-old Eritrean; tough kid, he can have it.
But make no mistake the Kenyans are just as strong as we have become accustomed to them being.
Today Vivien Cheruiyot raced having come back after having a baby to win the 10,000m event in the time of 31:41.31 taking down rival Ethiopian Gelete Burka who finished second in 31:41.77. You just know that the Keiyo-Kalenjin warrior was not going to let an Ethiopian win. American Emily Infield turned some heads by earning a bronze medal in the event, her time was 31:43.49.
Cheruiyot won bronze in the 2012 London Olympic Games. This season so far, she hadn’t run a time that would compete with four Ethiopians who all had managed to better the 31-minute benchmark. Cheruiyot’s season best was 31:13.29. At the end of the day it just didn’t matter, the Kenyan ran like a Kenyan.
Speaking of running like a Kenyan. The men’s steeple final featured three Kenyans, one for each medal position. It was total and complete domination. Track fans have become accustomed to Kenyans owning the middle and long distances. Imagine if three Americans or three Brits took all three medals?
In fact, the first four athletes in a row were Kenyans:
Ezekiel Kemboi 8:11.28
Conseslus Kipruto 8:12.38
Brimin Kiprop Kipruto 8:12.54
Jairus Kipchoge Birech 8:12.62
In the men’s 10,000m Geoffrey Kamworor finished second in 27:01.76 and Paul Tanui finished third in 27:02.83. Although not winning gold in the event may be viewed as a slight failure for the Kenyans, they medalled in an event that featured Mo Farah, who now is a six-time global champion, which is a feat of legendary proportions. Chasing and playing with Mo, by surging and slowing probably detracted from their ability to defeat him. Farah was a distraction before his Pixar-like pixie grin and “M” shaping shenanigans at the finish line. During the final lap, all they could do was chase the animated one.
There are still plenty of events left to go, including 800m, 1500m, 5,000m and women’s marathon. These are events where the Kenyans shine. Bank on seeing them win eight to 12 more medals before the closing ceremonies start.
See the full schedule and results here.