Monday, April 27

Front Runners

Update correction: the above photographs taken by Madeleine (not Sonnet) and I promise Madeleine to inform you so here it is.

Sonnet takes photographs at nine-miles, including the eventual winners of the wheel-chair race and the men's elite, which is won by 22 year-old Kenyon Sammy
Wanjiru whose 2:05:10 breaks the course record though not the world record he seeks - that's 2:03:59 set by the great Haile Gebrselassie of Ethopia on the Berlin course last year. Yes, that will be my next marathon in September enshala. It is simply unimaginable the pace these guys hold for 26.2 miles - many under 4:30 per mile. Wanjiru discovered when running 10 kilometers to school and back - a Japanese coach recruited him for the Prince Takamatsu Cup Nishinippon Round-Kyushu Ekiden, which begins in Nagasaki and continues for 1064 kilometers, or just less than the KKH which took me and Sonnet a month to complete. Many of my friends from Brown competed in the Kyushu Eiden during and post-college, on strictest invitation. Wanjiru, in 2002, moved to Japan and went to Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School in Sendai, where he graduated in 2005 and joined the Toyota Kyushu athletics team. He won the '08 Olympics Gold, his second marathon. His preparation? At 17, he ran 5,000 meters in 13:12.4 which would easily win the NCAA any year; at 18, he broke the world half-marathon record at 59.17 minutes and then 58.53. What makes Wanjiru unusual is his yuf - usually, the longer distances reserved for post-track, mature athletes with confidence and aerobic abilities maintained into their middle-years. Ok, thirties - but late 30s. Wanjiru is 22. Holy cow- this kid is going to be with us for a while yet. David Weir won the wheelchair in dramatic fashion in a sprint over the last 50 meters before the cheering crowds at Buckingham Palace. Sonnet sees his family at nine, who are in tears when he passes them by.

Me to Madeleine: "what did you learn today?"
Madeleine: "nothing."
Me: "you realise that a day without learning is like a day without bread?"
Madeleine, contemplating a moment: "well, I did eat some bread."