Our spring tour is now drawing to a close following todays Walled City Marathon. Without doubt this has been our most successful tour to date. Here are some updates since our last newsletter-
Since the Belfast Marathon (profiled in our last newsletter) Dan & Eric have had an extremely busy racing schedule competing in numerous races throughout Ireland. These included- Buncrana Half Marathon, Strabane/Lifford Half Marathon, Virgin Media Night Run 10km in Dublin, Buncrana 5km, Ballyclare 10km and the Walled City Marathon!
A few highlights included-
Virgin Media 10km Night Run– Only days after completing the Belfast Marathon, Dan and Eric toed the line at the prestigious Virgin Media 10km Night Run around the streets of Dublin City Centre. Dan won the night; breaking the tape in a fantastic 29:23 clocking. Eric finished 3rd in 31mins out of 6000 participants.
Buncrana 5km Road Race– It was another great night of racing for Dan Tanui where he ran a phenomenal 13mins 57secs for the Buncrana 5km, only 3 days after running the 10km in Dublin and a few weeks after Belfast Marathon. A course renowned for its fast times had an “all comers” record of 14mins 18secs, which coincidently was held by Dans training partner and friend Freddy Sittuk. From the off Dan made his intensions clear that he wanted to not only run a new course record, but wanted to dip under 14mins. As it turned out, in perfect running conditions, Dan indeed went under 14mins to run 13mins 57secs; one of the fastest 5ks in Ireland for a long time, and indeed the fastest ever run in Buncrana! Will that record ever be beat? You can see a video of Dan storming home here- video
Walled City Marathon– In what was the final major race of this tour, both Dan & Eric went into the Walled City Marathon as firm favourites following the late withdrawal of defending champion Freddy Sittuk. But who would claim the win? The in form Tanui or marathon specialist Eric? And would either come near to the course record of 2:22?
The guys broke clear from the gun and moved into a 6 minute lead at half way, running 73mins for the first 21km. Running slightly slower than course record pace, it was Eric who took the initiative to increase the pace and have a real go at running under 2:22 in the second half of the race. In hot conditions, over a tough and hilly course, Eric stormed across the line to claim the win and just missed the course record by 1 minute. Eric ran the 2nd half of the race in a swift 70mins to win in 2hrs 23mins with Dan only seconds behind. You can see the lads finishing here- video
“Lessons From Africa” Schools Workshop
In between our hectic racing schedule we had the great pleasure of visiting 2 schools for our Lessons from Africa Workshop. The initiative involves educating local children on all things relating to Kenya, running and different cultures. A massive THANK YOU to the staff and pupils from Lisnagelvin Primary School in Derry and Knockloughrim Primary School for inviting us in to conduct the workshop.
During the workshop we showed an interactive map of the world where the children had to identify where the continent of Africa was. Following this we then showed a map of Africa where pupils tried to identify where Uganda and Kenya are located. We then carried out a fun and engaging quiz relating to Africa. Then it was the turn of our athletes to take over. Dan and Eric illustrated to the pupils where they have come from, showing what it is like to grow up in rural Kenya as well as explaining the cultural similarities and differences between here in Northern Ireland and in Kenya.
We then carried out an hour of traditional African games, including African dance, African ball games and traditional playground activities.
Club Endurance Workshops
Last week we visited North Down Athletics Club (NDAC) in Bangor as part of our “Club Endurance” workshop initiative. Around 30 members of NDAC showed up to hear the “secrets” behind the East African running dominance. After discussing the Project and our inspiration to start such a program, Dan discussed in detail his daily training back at our high altitude training camp in Kenyas highlands, as well as his diet and lifestyle involved in becoming a top class international athlete.
The feedback received from everyone in attendance commented that they would be implementing some of the ideas discussed throughout the workshop into their own training. A very worthwhile exercise for all involved. Thanks for having us!
WITH THANKS TO-
We owe a great deal of gratitude to the following organisations for making this tour a major success-
– Belfast City Marathon,
– Belfast Metropolitan College & Boxing Academy,
– Vivian & Sharon Grimley- BodyFocus Sports Massage,
– Carmen Runners,
THANK YOU all for your continued support.
We are already planning for our Autumn tour, which will commence later in the year. Stay tuned for more updates soon!
We are now into our 2nd tour of 2016. Some updates for you all-
On Monday past, we had 2 athletes in the Belfast City Marathon (BCM) as part of the elite field. Eric Koech (number 12) and Dan Tanui (number 1) made up our team, having travelled from our training base in rural Kenya on the Friday and Saturday before Mondays race.
In what was tough conditions for marathon running, with a headwind for the majority of the race, our athletes still managed to average 5:15min miles for the 26.2 mile course.
A special mention must go to our development athlete- Eric, who finished 2nd overall behind a very experienced athlete in Joel Kositany (also form Kenya). Before Friday Eric hadn’t even stepped foot on a plane, never mind run a city marathon outside his native Kenya! This typifies exactly what Project Africa Athletics is all about, i:e our motto-
“From Nothing To Something”
We assist athletes such as Eric, who comes from absolute obscurity in rural Africa, and provide them with the chances to race abroad; as well as the tools required to ensure they can make a better life for themselves and their families back home in the rural villages in which they come from.
We are also delighted for Dan Tanui, who chased Eric all the way to finish 3rd and have 2 Project Africa athletes making the podium. Both athletes finished within seconds of each other running 2hr 18mins. CONGRATS GUYS.
We owe a great deal of gratitude to the BCM organisers for backing our athletes and making the above possible. Without their continued support we would not be able to give such wonderful opportunities to our athletes.
“Run in Africa” With Project Africa Athletics
We where delighted to be able to work with Edward and Lisa recently, who visited Kenya as part of their honeymoon celebrations. Both are qualified medical doctors, and where based in a hospital near our running camp in Solian in Kenyas Great Rift Valley. Edward is also a keen amateur athlete, participating weekly in the Parkrun in Bristol. Both where keen to experience our “Run in Africa” initiative while in Kenya- visiting our training camp at Eldama Ravine town and spending time with our athletes, as well as taking in a safari. Our senior athlete Gideon Kimosop was their tour guide throughout their 2 week stay, and Gideon even hosted Edward and Lisa in his home for some of the time.
They wrote a fantastic blog on our website- about their time spent with Gideon at his home, which articulate brilliantly the struggles our athletes face on a daily basis, and how important Project Africa Athletics is in ensuring athletes such as Gideon get the opportunities in which his talents deserve. You can visit the link below, and a few pictures from their travels which included a safari with our partner company at Lake Nakuru.
Our next “Run in Africa” trip is planned for 5th September, and already we have a team of 3 travelling out. We will be visiting a number of running camps in Kenya as well as participating in a Half Marathon in the city of Nakuru, not far from where our current camp is. Its time to start my training I think!!
If you, or a group of people would like to experience the “real Africa” with Project Africa Athletics, then don’t delay and get in contact TODAY, to start planning your once in a lifetime trip.
4×1 Mile Road Relay Challenge
THIS YEARS EVENT IS CONFIRMED FOR FRIDAY THE 17TH JUNE.. PLEASE VISIT “Carmen Runners” on Facebook for more details.
Throughout the month of May Eric and Dan will be visiting a number of schools throughout Northern Ireland.. Using fun and engaging activates both in the classroom and sports hall our athletes illustrate what it is like to grow up in rural Kenya, demonstrating the cultural differences and similarities, as well as discussing a little bit about their training and life as an athlete.
If your school would be interested in taking part in our “Lessons from Africa” workshop, then please get in contact to arrange a visit from our athletes.
Sponsor and Supporter Update
We are delighted to have Asics on board yet again for this tour, providing running kits for our athletes. This is very much appreciated, and great to have a market leader like Asics support our project and athletes.
High5 Sports Nutrition also partnered with us for the BCM, providing energy drinks and gels for our athletes as they prepared for the race, and also during the race itself.
A big thank you to BodyFocus Sports Massage for the pre race treatment on Friday before Belfast Marathon. We look forward to working with Viv over the coming weeks and months as our racing schedule intensifies.
We continued our strong links with Belfast Met Sports Students, with the Boxing Academy- under the tuition of John Mulhern, running the relay race at BCM in aid of Project Africa Athletics. The 5 students where raising money for our travelling athletes and our “Build a Camp” Campaign.
Well done all, and we are looking forward to our visit to Belfast Met in a few weeks time.
Thank you for your continued support.
If your business or organisation would like to come on board as an official sponsor for our 2016 athletics team and project, then please get in contact.
Appeal for Old Running Gear
We are putting out an appeal for old running gear you may no longer use.
Our athletes Dan and Eric will take back the gear to their training bases in Kenya after they conclude this tour at the end of the month. Particularly we are appealing for-
– Trainers/Racers (in good condition) – Long running tights – T-Shirt/Vests – Stop Watches/2nd hand Garmins
Please get in contact if you have anything you want to donate.