NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10- The late Some Muge made history by becoming the first Kenyan to win an individual medal at the World Cross Country Championships in 1983 where he scooped long race bronze.
However, the greater legacy bequeathed by the runner who passed on in 1997 is three of his sons have followed in his footsteps as accomplished distance runners.
Matthew Kisorio and Peter Kimeli have already stamped their mark on the international stage and now, it’s the turn of their youngest sibling, Nicholas Kipchirchir Togom to take the well beaten family path.
“Growing in a household with an athletics tradition like ours is enjoyable because we talk and chat about the sport. We use our father as our role model so we have all the morale as a family and individuals.
“We shall be happy when we find ourselves as world record holders and we aim to perform better than our father,” Togom told Capital Sport.
After showing enough promise at the KCB/AK National Cross Country Series where he won the junior 8km jackpot (Sh250,000), the Kimogoch Secondary School student won his country bronze at the March 6 Africa Cross Country in Johannesburg where he was selected after missing the Punta Umbria World Cross ticket.
His odyssey in athletics came to prominence on November 13 when he lined up to take on a packed field in the junior 8km race at the second KCB/AK Cross meet in Kipkelion.
Togom sealed a gun to tape victory in 24:53.0, achieved in a commanding display of front running that left the other 146 starters choking in his slipstream.
Only runner-up Isaac Langat (25:02.1) whose strong finish saw him craw back some metres in the last lap saw the back of the runaway winner.
Based on his early showing, it was not a surprise when Togom’s earned selection in the Kenyan team for the May 12-15 10th CAA Africa Junior Championships in Gaberone, Botswana.
“When I was in South Africa, I saw it as a golden opportunity for me to be known as a patriot and to represent my country. Now, again I’m back to compete to compete for my nation on track and all I can say is thank you, this is what God planned for me.”
At the 2007 edition of the event in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Kisorio bagged the 5000m (14:13.25) and 10000m (29:34.96) double to announce his arrival on the grand stage.
His younger brother is enthusiastic he will make a similar bold statement when he competes in the 25 and a half lap-race in Gaberone four years later.
“Yes, I can do the same since the training he has been doing, I have strictly followed it. So far, I will not be doubling but if I get a chance, I will do it. For now, I will run 10000m,” Togom stated.
On the sport and his education, he said, “For me, athletics in the blood. I favour athletics than anything and all my efforts are dedicated to the sport. I try to balance with school but I will be honest, my devotion is to be a good athlete.”
The only departure from his siblings is the fact Togom discloses, “My aim is to be a record holder on the track so that when I proceed to road running, I will have left a legacy on track. I have a big challenge to achieve this.”
His brother Kisorio and Kimeli have already stepped up to road running in the formative years of their careers.
The former has last year’s Philadelphia and this year’s Stramilano half marathons titles and the latter finished sixth at 2010’s Venice Marathon.
Kisorio has competed for his nation at the Mombasa (2007), Edinburgh (2008), Amman (2009/senior) and Punta Umbria (2011/senior) World Cross editions, captaining the team on March 20 in Spain where he was fourth in the long race.
Kimeli was seventh (junior) at the 2009 World Cross in Amman in his only Team Kenya outing.
In Botswana, Togom, who is cited by coaches and fellow athletes to possess better talent and focus than his family forerunners is among the Team Kenya squad of 24 out to deliver glory for a nation that has taken distance running dominance at recent international events to a new level.
Only Father Time will tell whether the well-spoken athlete will fulfill his rich potential, after all, at the same Ouagadougou Africa Juniors his eldest brother made a name, the world got a first glipse of a certain David Rudisha and Pamela Jelimo who won the men and women 800m gold medals!