I run the Palermo marathon this coming Sunday
This coming Sunday is the day of the Palermo marathon in Sicily it will be the 18th edition. I first ran this marathon back in 2009 with a finishing time of 3hrs 25mins coming 49th position. I remember well because this is where my original idea of running with the Kenyans came from. Whilst warming up just 15 minutes before the start I saw a bunch of elite runners jogging in a tight knit group, they were all different hight’s and all male except one female some had dark skin others light but they were all clearly from Africa and skinny as hell. I could not stop staring at them thinking how fit and healthy they all looked, as I headed over to the bus in which people store their bags during the marathon I bumped into another African elite runner, I had a brief conversation with him I cannot remember what we talked about but I do remember he was from Kenya and how friendly and approachable he had been. During the race I thought to myself what if I made friends with one of these guys and actually went to Kenya to train with them? I even thought of a title for the book I would write, “Running with the Kenyans” from that point on I was sold on the idea, at the end of the race the opportunity to talk with one of the Kenyans never arrived and I went away feeling disappointed with myself.
I ran the Palermo marathon again in 2010 and this time seized the opportunity too talk to a small elite runner who passed me as I was heading to the start line he told me name was Tsygaye, I asked him how he felt he replied “I will finish 1st place” I wished him the best of luck and went on to run the marathon, I finished with a time of 3hrs 27mins in position 39 not bad but not my best. After finishing I saw Tsegaye and and asked him how he had done, with a broad smile he told me he had finished 1st place, we swopped emails, and in the summer of 2011 I went to Africa to visit him and train with him for 10 days I ended up staying at the home of Olympic medal winner Assefa Mezgebu with his wife and children they looked after me as if I were family.
So this is where the crazy idea of running with Kenyans came from, Then why you might ask is the blog called Running with Ethiopians? Thats because Tsegaye is actually Ethiopian and he became my first contact so the book I write will be called “Running with Ethiopians”.