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My personal experience at the 2019 Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon

October 28, 2019
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With Brigid Kosgei's coach, Erick Kimaiyo after participating at the 2019 Nairobi Marathon

My idea of a well-organized marathon race with working timing chips is one that should have their results ready in less than one micro-second after a runner crosses the finish line. It is now more than 24 hours since we last ran at the Nairobi marathon and still waiting for the results to come up. This is one thing that I think any serious and transparent marathon should work on.

It is more than 12 years since I did my first race at the annual Nairobi Marathon, and I have always been almost consistently running different distances here from the 10km to the 42km.

In 2007, I did help pace Gladys Chemweno, the lady who had eventually won the 10km race that year. By then, almost all races were being done entirely on the Mombasa road loop. It was great for fast times, but perhaps quite complicated to manage all distances on the same road.
The 10km distance has been moved to the city center in recent times; which has been great to feature the city features in the race, but with too many loops and sharp corners perhaps it has not been so good for runners aiming for fast times.
The timing chips were at first put in place for the marathon distances, but is now has come down to the 10km distance, which should make things faster at the finish line. although it did not look so at the finish of the 10km race this weekend as I was asked to join a long queue to present my names at the finish line, of which I just said thank you and left. If there was not electronic timing at the finish, then I expect my results won't be that official anyway.

Henry Wanyoike's pacemaker did help pace my wife for the first 5km of the 10Km race. As I ran on the opposite side of the road ahead of them, I could see my wife just behind Wanyoike. She later told me that the pacesetter actually told her to hang in there and she should be fine. The organization of the Standard Chartered Marathon this year was, to be honest, below their normal. I think the timing chips were not working. There were a lot of manual recordings at the finish line, but I did not give out my name because I was not able to run my best. I was still quite unwell with flu and could not take any pain killers or cough suppressants leading up to the race for the obvious reasons.

The only thing I could do was scale down from the 42km race I had earlier registered and run the 10km distance instead. I saw that I was off my target pace ( was aiming for 29:45) by over 30 seconds at 5km and just decided to stop and wait up for my wife to help her remain in the top ten positions, which might help build a good running profile for her. I helped pace her the last 5km and she finished 6th. I should be feeling well very soon now that I am finally able to take some medication for the remaining cold. It was a good race for my wife; it wasn't a good day for me.

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