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One-to-one with Mary Keitany
Kenyan superstar Mary Keitany is an inspiration to a generation – not only for her running skills but also for combining being a mum with being a top athlete. We caught up with her as she prepares to defend her title at the New York Marathon.
Q You make it look easy running marathons and bringing up a baby. Is that the reality?
“Not at all; being a mother and an athlete is not easy. It needs someone who is disciplined because the training is very hard. My family assist me very much, so I can do both. To come back from maternity leave and get myself into training again was difficult. Both full-time running and having a family require lots of time, attention and effort. But I couldn’t be happier.”
Q When did you start running again after giving birth?
”I didn’t run when I was pregnant but I started when my baby was 7 or 8 months.”
Q What’s your routine – and what’s your secret?
”I train in Iten, in Kenya, which is at a high altitude – it helps to prepare my body for the strain of a long distance race. I work on putting in the miles but also on building up speed on the track. For marathons you need endurance, but it’s also important to get your technique right so you don’t waste any energy.”
Q Where does winning in New York stand in your list of great memories?
“Winning my first London marathon in 2011 will always be an important achievement. To win again, and beat the African record, in 2012 was another great moment for me. New York was special because I hadn’t been back long after giving birth. It’s difficult to pick between the three.”
Q Do you raise money for charity when you run?
”Wherever I run, I run for midwives. Africa needs more midwives to prevent so many needless deaths. We need to train more midwives in Kenya and I’d urge people to donate.”
News in brief – Athletics
Kenya has set its sights on Olympic glory in Rio next year after finishing top of the medal table at the World Championships for the first time. Kenyan athletes won seven gold medals, six silver and three bronze medals to top the table in Beijing, China, in September, led by superstars such as David Rudisha, Asbel Kiprop, Ezekiel Kemboi and Vivian Cheruiyot.
There was also an incredible gold for javelin thrower Julius Yego – Kenya’s first ever field gold – and all those athletes are hoping to ‘double up’ by going for glory in Rio too. South African sprinting sensation Wayde van Niekerk is also aiming high after becoming the first African athlete to win a 400m title in almost a century. He was crowned World Champion in Beijing.
Beijing: Kenyan Medallists
David Rudisha 800m
Asbel Kiprop 1500m
Nicholas Bett 400m hurdles
Ezekiel Kemboi 3000m steeplechase
Julius Yego Javelin
Vivian Cheruiyot 10,000m
Hyvin Kiyeng 3000m steeplechase
Elijah Manangoi 1500m
Caleb Mwangangi 5000m
Geoffrey Kamworor 10,000m
Conseslus Kipruto 3000m steeplechase
Faith Chepng’etich 1500m
Helah Kiprop marathon
Paul Tanui 10,000m
Brimin Kipruto 3000m steeplechase
Eunice Sum 800m
What’s on in November? Don’t miss
1 Formula 1 – Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City
1 Marathon – New York Marathon
3 Horse racing – Melbourne Cup, Flemington
1-5 Cricket – Pakistan v England, Third Test, Sharjah
3-4 Football – Champions League games
9-15 Tennis – Fed Cup final
11-30 Cricket – Pakistan v England ODI and Twenty20 games, Abu Dhabi
12-14 Football – Euro 2016 play-offs
15 Formula 1 – Brazilian Grand Prix, São Paulo
15-17 Football – Euro 2016 play-offs
16-22 Tennis – ATP World Tour Finals, London
19-22 Golf – European Tour’s World Tour Champion-ship, Dubai
20-29 Weightlifting – World Championships, Houston, USA
24-25 Football – Champions League games
27-29 Tennis – Davis Cup final
29 Formula 1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina