Sunday, July 23, 2017

A little Westerly Fun Run history..

Myself, my friend Jon, and world class Kenyan runner, Nicholas
August 8, 2007

August 8, 2007
"Wednesday's race featured the appearance of two "world class" runners from Kenya; Nicholas Kamakya & Angelina Mutuku, who are here to compete in the FALMOUTH 7.1 MILE ROAD RACE this coming weekend. The two, along with their escort John Thornell, addressed the crowd and held a Q & A session prior to the start of the runs," WTAC site.

My take
As the years march on, sometimes it is fun to reflect on running and the history of events you've been involved in. A few weeks back I came across an old photo of an elite Kenyan runner, my friend Jon, and myself at a "back in the day" WTAC fun run.  

I'm not sure if anyone in my blogger audience was there that evening, but I'm going to share my take on the event and the story of why this Kenyan gentlemen, Nicholas, was hanging with us that night.

The story should really begin with Jon, who had recently returned from approximately a year of teaching and running in Sigor, Kenya.  Jon was a friendly high school rival of mine and we continued to develop a friendship, competed against one another, and trained from time to time during college breaks.  Post collegiate, Jon explored his interest of Kenya, running, and the culture my immersing himself in the East African world.  In short, Jon taught school, visited his students' families, ran, and developed a raw, yet super talented XC team during his time there.  His star athlete would go on to run world class times and go on to win some big time marathons.

Coincidentally and shortly after I moved to Westerly, Jon came to RI for a couple days to hang out at the beach and run with me during the summer of 2007.  We opted to head down to the fun run that evening to get in a workout and enjoy the novelty of running down by the water.  Before the start of the fun run, I remember someone from the WTAC making a special introduction and announcement of the two world class Kenyans who would be on hand for the evening's run. The entire crowd was somewhat in awe of the athletes, but their attendance especially piqued Jon's interest as he could speak some of their language and had background in Kenyan culture.  While I have no idea of the context of their conversation, Jon spoke to both Nicholas and Angelina at that night's fun run.  While neither of the Kenyan athletes came to run hard, Nicholas ran with the top guy and jogged the 3 miler in at 14:51 and Angelina ran with the top female in her own "pedestrian" time of 17:45.  I'm not sure what these two Kenyan's ran at Falmouth that year, but did a little research and saw that Nicholas ran a 2:06:34 in the 2011 Amsterdam Marathon and Angelina ran a 1:11:20 at the 2007 Philadelphia Half.   Pretty impressive to say the least.

In short, it was neat and enjoyable night to have some surprise guests at the WTAC fun run.


  1. That's a cool bit of WTAC history all right!

  2. Interesting write-up. I was NOT there that night, but remember hearing about it afterwards.