Honolulu, Hawaii — Marathon world record holder Patrick Makau of Kenya arrived in Honolulu last night in preparation for The Hapalua, Hawaii’s premier Half Marathon. The second edition of The Hapalua will be run this Sunday morning beginning adjacent to world-famous Waikiki Beach. The race, and its Chase format, will be Makau’s final tune up for the April 21st Virgin London Marathon where he will test himself against one of the strongest marathon fields ever assembled, including all three medalists from the 2012 London Olympic Marathon.
While there are some who might question why an athlete of Makau’s stature would travel so far for a tune up when his marathon is just six weeks away, and chance a major disruption to his training, Makua has always run to his own rhythms, and with evident success.
Having visited Kenya last year, I can attest to the Makau Way, which, by the way, is the title of an e-book Patrick hopes to have published within the next few months, which will outline his training philosophy.
“His is a very basic approach,” explained Makau’s manager Zane Branson, managing director of International Athletics Consultancy out of Prague in the Czech Republic. “In Eldoret (Kenya) everyone is training in the Wilson Chebet group, maybe 230 to 250 runners in all. But Patrick has a different confidence. He trains in Ngong (outside Nairobi) with a few hand-picked guys, and sets up his own program. You never hear anyone say, ‘you won’t believe what Makau did n training today’. He trains to race fast, not to train fast.”
Makau plans to steer proceeds from his Makau Way e-book to a nursery school and orphanage he is building in the village of Kangundo near his birth home in Machakos, Kenya. The area has suffered from a high incidence of HIV / AIDS, as high as any in Kenya, leaving many orphans in its wake.
“(Paul) Tergat is also helping,” said Branson. “They are the only two Kenyan men to have held the marathon world record.”
Raising their own standard of living via a running career has only been part of what drives Kenya’s great runners. Extending that providence to others, whether their large families or even their villages as a whole has also been a prime motivator. Paul Tergat has long been a United Nations World Food Programme “Ambassador Against Hunger”. And on February 23rd Patrick was named the United Nations Environment Programme’s clean air patron.
Joining Makau on the 24-hour flight to Honolulu from Nairboi were his wife Cathreen, their four year-old daughter Christine, along with fellow athletes Jimmy Muindi, the seven-time Honolulu Marathon champion and course record holder, and Nicholas Manza who is prepping for the Warsaw Marathon, also on April 21st.
Makau, Muindi and Manza will take on the top Hawaiin runners in a Chase format which will assign the top local women a 19-minute headstart and the top men a seven-minute advantage. The first runner across the Kapiolani Park finish line will pocket $5000. Last year, the handicaps were 18 and 9 minutes, and 27 year-old local Thomas Puzey ran 1:10:24, adjusted to 1:01:24, to win the $5000. Nicholoas Chelimo was the top Kenyan finisher in 8th place in 1:05:05. But Chelimo is no Patrick Makau, who is a two-time silver medalist in the World Half Marathon Championships, and carries a PR of 58:52.
On Friday March 8 at 6pm HST, Patrick will answer questions and interact with runners from around the world on the Hapalua Facebook page, and this give-and-take will be tweeted by @thehapalua using the #hapalua. @thehapalua.
Times to check in for the Facebook Q & A with Patrick are: