Los Angeles, Ca. – Shadows cut long and lean through the greenscape of Griffith Park this morning as runners toured the 2.7 mile golf course loop at the Ranger’s station, one of L.A.’s most popular running routes. But among the string of regulars hitting the hard-packed dirt trails came a head-turning group of three exotics from faraway Kenya in town for this Sunday’s 28th ASICS L.A. Marathon.
Defending L.A. champion Simon Njoroge (in blue), 2:07-man Nicholas Chelimo (in orange), and 2011 Nairobi Marathon champion Ernest Kebenei (left) had arrived last night from the long haul out of Kenya, and were looking for an easy travel rust remover. And though their speed was well in check on the casual six-mile jog, there was no disguising their world-class forms and rhythms.
“Who are those guys,” asked Craig Henry, the coach and member of the Los Angeles Police Department team who were in the park training for the April 13-14 Baker to Vegas Relay, a 120-mile slog from Baker, California to Las Vegas, Nevada through perilous Death Valley.
While the three Kenyans shook the dirt from their shoes and leaned into the stretching routine, I introduced the LAPD team who huddled around for pictures as I learned more about the unique Baker to Vegas Relay from Coach Henry. Continue reading