Switzerland has been good to me. Two summers ago I came to Luzern completely new to the whole European racing scene. I had no idea how it all worked and I had no idea about the “politics” involved. I quickly learned. You come to understand that in many cases, as in many things, it’s not what you know (or how fast you are) it’s all about who you know. In track and field it’s all about agents and meet directors. These people will ultimately decide which races where you can can’t race. I count myself very fortunate to work with a great agent, Kris Mychasiw. Over the past couple of seasons Kris has helped get me into races that I on my own simply could not. Because of this I feel that I am always having to prove myself. I take nothing for granted. If I’m given an opportunity I better not screw it up! In 2012 Luzern was one of these first opportunities and as a result I was just a tad nervous. Luckily I had my training partner and friend Alex Genest with me. He’d been around Europe and back a few times and knew how it all worked. I followed Alex around and just kept on saying please and thank-you. When it came to race time I continued to follow Alex all the way to the finish line where i ran a new Personal Best (PB) of 8:28.4 dipping under 8:30 for my first time!
Fast forward two years and I found myself back in Luzern. I’m much more experienced with european racing but my PB still stood at 8:28.4. My hope was that by returning to Luzern that I may be able to channel some of that similar magic from summers past. This time around I did not have Alex with me but I did have Taylor Milne. I always like having a friend/training partner with me at these meets as it helps to provide a sense of normalcy allowing me to relax. On the start line I was so relaxed that I even managed to pop a joke. The announcer kept pronouncing 3000m (trie thousand meters) which sounds an awful like 5000 meters. I mentioned that nobody wants to run a 5000m steeplechase…
The joke fell on deaf ears but luckily for me I was saved by the starter’s pistol and the race was underway. I didn’t have the greatest start and quickly found myself at the back of the pack. I tried to reassure myself that the lead pack had gone out too quickly but, after passing through 400m in 67-68 I realized I had not got out fast enough. I was buried at the back end of the field. I had some work to do. Over the next 600 meters I had managed to work my way up to the back end of the chase pack that included the 3 Americans and Taylor. It crossed my mind that I may have wasted too much energy in making this move so early in the race but once there I found my rhythm and felt pretty solid. A single file line formed with Donn Cabral leading the way. The race stayed this way until about 600 to go when all of a sudden the front pack that consisted of 3 Kenyans and 1 Bahraini started to come back to us. The last lap was a bit chaotic with our chase pack catching the leaders. I managed to keep out of trouble and saw that with a lap to go I was right on pace for a PB, I just needed to stay strong and get over the remaining 5 barriers safety. Coming down the home stretch I knew it would be close and so I leaned hard at the line. I had to sit tight for a few minutes and wait to learn my time…. 8:28.1! Although only a PB by 3 tenths of a second it was still my fastest time ever! Double fist pump! A couple of other guys ran PBs that night and so the mood around the finish line was a happy one. We all joined in a collective cool down jog and the watched a great series of fireworks put on by the meet.
Upon reflection I would have loved to have broke 8:28. It’s now the 3rd time I’ve run 8:28 and 4th time under 8:30. I’m over it and ready to go faster.
Next up is a 1500m at Heusden this weekend and then it’s off to Glasgow to put in some final prep for my race at the Commonwealth Games August 1!
Onwards to Glasgow!
Result – Men’s Steeplechase
|1.||283||Kemboi Clement Kimutai||1992||KEN||Kenia||8:21.50||1./I|
|2.||284||Kipsang Lawrence Kemboi||1993||KEN||Kenia||8:22.25||2./I|
|15.||129||Engelhardt Adriano||1992||SUI||US Ascona||9:05.48||15./I|
|16.||130||Kern Marco||1987||SUI||LC Schaffhausen||9:25.62||16./I|
Check out this video for highlights from the meet!