Jimmy Muindi, 6X Honolulu Marathon champion
Honolulu, Hawaii — We tend to see the finished product and think it was always this way. But of course, it rarely is. In 2004 Kenya’s Jimmy Muindi saw a young Patrick Makau run a school race in their home area of Machakos, Kenya, and identified a budding talent in raw form. Remembering how he was mentored by three-time Boston Marathon champion Cosmas Ndeti early in his own career, Muindi invited Makau to come train with him in Ngong outside Nairobi after Patrick graduated from high school.
For two years Muindi supported his fellow Kamba tribesman before Makau got his first break, a chance to run a half-marathon in Tarsus, Turkey in 2006. Makau did not waste the opportunity. He not only won that race (62:42), but met his future wife Cathreen, who finished second in the women’s field. Continue reading
Marathon World Record holder Patrick Makau
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. Continue reading
Mary Cain – Winning Personality
While couch-surfing yesterday afternoon I came across the U.S. Bank NBC Sports Report with Liam McHugh. First up on the highlight reel was the Chicago Blackhawks continuing their record, non-losing streak to begin an NHL season as they bested the Detroit Red Wings in overtime 2-1. Next up came Lebron James leading the Miami Heat over the New York Knicks, 99-93, in Madison Square Garden. That was followed by Tottenham over Arsenal 2-1 in Premier League play in England. Finally, McHugh teed up the feel-good story of Mary Cain, the 16 year-old phenom out of Bronxville, New York capturing the mile at the U.S. Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque in 5:05.68.
“Look for her in three years in Rio,” McHugh said in closing.
Going back to 1967 when Doris Brown won the first of four U.S. indoor mile titles in 4:43.3, there has never been a single U.S. indoor mile/1500m title won in such a pedestrian time. In fact, the slowest winning time in the previous 46 years was 4:59.3 run by the Toronto Olympic Club’s Abby Hoffman in 1969 when she bested Shalane Flanagan’s mom, Cheryl Bridges (5:07.0).
Yet, it mattered not to NBC Sports that Cain’s time was the slowest in modern U.S. indoor history, or that it was nowhere near here best high school record 4:28.25 that she ran at the Armory in New York at the 106th Millrose Games in February behind Canada’s Sheila Reid. In this day and age when track and field has been all but dry-docked from the sporting mainstream, the fact that a runner made it to a major network’s highlight package goes to show what a winning personality can generate. Continue reading
As the winter snows give way to the unrelenting muds of March, the small dividing strip of land along Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, Massachusetts between Center Street and Hammond Road — a strip that runners know better as Heartbreak Hill along the Boston Marathon route — becomes rutted by the innumerable footfalls that pound its surface every day. For the area runners who work this hallowed ground through the long, bitter months of winter it is the pull of generations past which draws them through till Marathon day in mid-April.
This is also why there had always been a close connection between the beginning of baseball season and the arrival of the Boston Marathon, for both are harbingers of hope, the promise of better, warmer days ahead. Yet the Marathon, like the long baseball season, while holding hope, never actually promises it. Would a people who sprung from a Pilgrim’s harsh heritage have it any other way?
Born of myth, the marathon is rooted in failure, even demise. Its language alludes to that curtain which will befall each of us one day. “Man, I really died today,” is how a runner describes a poor performance. So, too, in baseball was failure built into the system; hit safely just three out of ten times, and you are an honored player. It is this element of suffering to attain, overcoming to transcend which extends these sports from their 19th century beginnings into today’s nano-second world of instant gratification.
And it is also in that sense of suffering to attain that the long-tormented Chicago Cubs baseball fans can relate to what New Englanders had long gone through with their beloved Red Sox. Yet even the Cubs’ multi-generational streak of futility and frustration can’t compare to the 87 accursed years that Boston Red Sox fans endured the “Curse of the Bambino”. Continue reading