Announcing The Mount Kenya FKT Project
Joan, one of our Enda Elite athletes, was meant to run the Paris Marathon this year. But the pandemic put that dream on hold. As race after race got cancelled, we kept talking about ways we could support them and help them find new challenges.
Today we’re excited to announce the first of those challenges. 4 Enda Elite athletes, Joan Cherop, Kenneth Kemboi, Sussy Chebet, and Alfred Moindi, are preparing to attempt to set the fastest known time (FKT) records for the three major routes up Mt Kenya.
The athletes relaxing after coming down from the peak on a preparation trip last week.
To make this possible, we’re partnering with 3 other running brands: Janji for running apparel, COROS for GPS watches, and UltrAspire for lighting and hydration packs to equip and support the athletes as they take on this audacious project.
To celebrate, we’re giving away 3 prize packs of the gear the athletes are using as the train and then race up the mountain from all 4 brands. Each prize pack is worth around $1000 (Ksh 100,000) and gives you everything you need for any scale of running adventure you can imagine.
There’s no purchase necessary, all you’ve got to do is sign up.
The first attempt on the routes will be in the coming weeks. Of course we’ll let you know how it goes every step of the way. The athletes did a scouting trip earlier this week to determine how they want to approach each route, and are now resting and getting ready for the first of the big runs.
Here is a brief rundown of the routes they’ll be running in the coming months:
Sirimon - 48.2 km round trip 2,410m climbing (7906 ft)
This is the longest and most steady route. It starts in an equatorial forest and runs up the long side of the mountain. It's the easiest (though longest) approach, so is the most popular route.
Chogoria - 36 km round trip with 2,032 m climbing (6666ft)
This route starts in a lush hot tropical rainforest on the rainy side of the mountain and runs along the edge of a beautiful canyon. Wildlife, especially elephants and buffalo, are a concern at the start of the route for the first 4-5km in the forest.
Naro Moru - 28.46 km round trip with 1,898m of climbing (6227 ft)
This route is a vertical bog. Waterlogged ground the whole way and then finishes going up a 300m vertical glacial scree field. Though shortest, the terrain makes this potentially the most difficult.
Kenyans Shine in Istanbul
Kenyans Diana Chemtai Kipyokei and Bernard Sang were the winners of the 2020 Istanbul Marathon held on Sunday. Running on a changed course, both had negative splits with a much more challenging first half.
In the women’s race, Kipyokei was part of a six-person group. By 17km she was alone with Ethiopian Gebrekidan and eventually Kipyokei pulled away in the closing stages, opening a margin and eventually winning the race in 2:22:06, a personal best and the second-fastest ever recorded in Istanbul. Gebrekidan came in 2:24:30.
In the men’s race, nine men went through halfway mark together. The group reduced to six at the 30km, one by one they dropped back leaving the race to Sang, Kimutai, and Zewdu of Ethiopia. And Sang was the strongest of the three and with a kick he won the race with a personal best of 2:11:49. Kimutai was second in 2:12:00 with Zewdu taking third place in 2:12:23.
Henry Wanyoike Racing
Legendary Paralympian Henry Wanyoike led a Kenyan team racing in a fun virtual contest between Kenya and South Africa. After significant challenges with training early in the pandemic, Wanyoike is getting back into form and with his guide Paul raced a 5km in 16:33, no small feat at 1800m (6000ft) altitude. The whole event was raising money to fight hunger in Kenya and SA.
More Added On The Valencia List
6 December is going to be a running paaaarty in Valencia. Two time world marathon champion Abel Kirui and 2017 marathon World champion Geoffrey Kirui are the latest entrants in the Valencia Marathon bringing to a total of 14 Kenyans men and women competing in the marathon only.
While much of the focus is the full marathon, there is some exciting news for the half too. 1500m world record holder Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba is primed for her half marathon debut against 10km specialist Sheila Chepkirui. On the men’s side Rhonex Kipruto will face off against Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo.
A total of 218 athletes will run on 6 December; with one hundred athletes from 43 countries in the elite edition seeking to book their tickets to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Brigid Kosgei Features in Vogue! Yes VOGUE
In October last year, Brigid Kosgei broke Paula Radcliffe’s marathon world record. On 4 October she defended the London Marathon title. With this string of success the world beyond running is starting to notice her, and in a Vogue interview Brigid shares how she’s staying motivated in a global pandemic and balancing training time and motherhood.
Please Vote For Female Athlete Of The Year
Last week we told you about the men, and now the women nominees are up. Three Kenyan women are among the nominees for the virtual World Athletics Awards set for 5 of December. They are Peres Jepchirchir, Faith Kipyegon, and Hellen Obiri. The voting is pretty simple – as fans, we all vote online via the World Athletics' social media platforms. Individual graphics for each nominee are posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; a 'like' on Facebook and Instagram or a retweet on Twitter will count as one vote. Your vote counts for 25% of the final result. Voting closes at midnight on Sunday 15 November. The athlete names above link to the tweets to vote for them :)
Nerd Out on Some Running Data
Eliud Kipchoge’s first crack at the 2 hour barrier was part of the Breaking2 project. For that, they tested 16 athletes and they settled on the three East Africans – Eliud Kipchoge, Zersenay Tadese and and Lelisa Desisa - to have a go at the record. The testing included measurements like height, weight, body fat, lung function, and the length and girth of various parts of the leg and foot, VO2 max test, running efficiency and more. Outside takes a look at all the data, including how some of the VO2 max scores are lower than you might expect.
Mo Farah Wants Out
Sir Mo has joined the cast of the upcoming season of the British TV show “I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!”. The premise of the show is a bunch of celebs are put through a series of challenges ranging from physically exhausting to disgusting. Early bets are on the elite distance athlete to endure more than the average contestant.
Australia’s Bol and Deng Target Two Lanes in Tokyo 800m final
Australians Joseph Deng and Peter Bol are of South Sudanese heritage. Their families fled civil war in the late 1990s and both arrived in Australia as children. These two have a special bond, they have known each other for 13 years, they train together, they both have run 1:44 for 800m. They have seen the best and worst of each other. And together they have a common goal for the 2020 Tokyo Oympic Games – to reach the 800m final.
Guinness World Record Set for Distance Joggling
David Rush has been going at Guinness World Records for years – it is a way to boost his efforts promoting STEM education in schools. 'The main purpose of these records is to show kids that if you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything, he noted. This time, Rush competed in his first joggling (juggling / jogging) ultramarathon setting the world record by running 29 miles in 5 hours, 21 minutes, and 23 seconds.
From Us At Enda
We get asked all the time on social media: “but don’t Kenyans run barefoot?”
Ralph from the Enda team took a look, and there is some truth to it. Many young children grow up without shoes in Kenya. And often footwear is very minimal. And training barefoot or minimal shoes have been shown to improve running performance.
So why don’t we all just run around barefoot all the time? A: running lots, especially on tarmac, can be too much for bare feet.
And can shoe design still get us those benefits of barefoot training? A: Yes. It’s why we design our shoes to work with a natural midfoot gait and give the flexibility you need to build foot strength. That’s why we recommend different shoes for different runs. It lets you get in some shorter and faster runs in lighter more flexible shoes to build foot strength and then can do longer runs as you work your aerobic engine.
From the Enda Community
Lots of us around the world were glued to the news this past week. Merissa Allen had the right approach to deal with it: stepping away from the screen and getting in some more runs!
She said, "Celebrating a personal victory while awaiting one for our country 🎉🎉
It’s been REALLY hard for me to build a routine this year. This week, I was able to hit my goal of running 5x!!!! 🏃🏻♀️"