After Kenya training, I look forward to London sessions with Radcliffe

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BY MARGARET KENYATTA

“I’m back in Nairobi having completed four weeks of intensive training in Sagana, Iten and Eldoret ahead of the London Marathon next Sunday.

My team and I have had an opportunity to train at various high altitude training camps in these areas.

These are some of the most beautiful and best training grounds for road races in the world which explains the influx of the world’ top athletes, including Great Britain’s finest, Olympic champion Mo Farah and Women’s World Marathon Record holder Paula Radcliffe who have made Kenya their second home.

We have been able to cover longer distances and developed more resilience during our training sessions and we trained with a team of elite Kenyan runners among them Wilson Kipsang – the current World Marathon Record holder and Florence Kiplagat – who has the World Half Marathon Record for women.

Both Kiplagat and Kipsang will be gunning for the top titles in the elite races at the London Marathon next Sunday (April 13) while I will be miles behind them, slowly pounding the streets of London to raise funds for my ‘Beyond Zero’ campaign through which I wish to provide a better future for our country’s mothers and children.

These elite stars gave us invaluable tips on training, diet and endurance, which my team and I are following faithfully. Their encouragement and motivation was a great boost to my team.

We were also encouraged by the support and warm welcome by local leaders and residents, some of who lined up along our routes and cheered us on. They encouraged and motivated us to press on. The feeling was wonderful!

This weekend, we scaled down our training and focused on recovery, stretches and light jogs as we prepare for the trip to London where I will be privileged to do my final training sessions at the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with Radcliffe and other elite British runners.

I have keenly followed and admire the professional career of Radcliffe who ran the amazing women’s marathon world record of two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds at the London Marathon in 2003.

Radcliffe, a three-time winner of the London Marathon (2002, 2003 and 2005) is a role model to many worldwide.

It’s amazing how she has been able to juggle her life between being there for her loving husband Gary, caring for her adorable children Isla and Raphael, while at the same time competing at the highest level, raising funds for several charities and mentoring young British runners. I’m sure I will learn a lot from Paula.

Once again I thank you all for your support, thoughts and prayers. We are almost there, and we will all celebrate after the running is done, and, most importantly after mobile clinics are driven to all of our 47 counties to help prevent the unnecessary maternal and early childhood deaths.”

(Mrs Kenyatta is Kenya’s First Lady and will run in the London Marathon on April 13 to raise funds for maternal and child healthcare. Those wishing to make a donation to her ‘Beyond Zero’ charity can do so through The First Lady’s Half Marathon Trust, Equity Bank, Supreme Banking Centre at Equity Centre, Upper Hill, account number 0810262000200. Donations can also be sent through SafaricomPaybill number 500050).

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