Since he burst to international acclaim with silver at the World Half Marathon Championships in Udine in 2007, Makau has evolved to be one of the most revered distance runners on the planet.
However, he is not keen on hogging the limelight or relishing in the glare of fame and therefore, his acceptance to be a chief guest at a local road race earlier this month was puzzling to say the least.
Dressed in faded blue jeans, training top and dark orange sneakers, world marathon record holder, Makau was the star attraction at the sixth annual Safaricom Road Race in Imenti, some 275km from Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
“I have many friends here, especially the young ones starting their running. I have also been helping athletes from Southern (region) to establish their careers,” the 2:03:38 standard bearer in the marathon said.
“It is important for me to come here to help the young athletes through motivation to improve their talent. I started running local races and improved little by little and at the end of the day, I became a big athlete.
“Such races then, are very important for getting new talent and when they see such runners like myself, they get focused to succeed.”
At Imenti, Makau personally sponsored five athletes from his native Tala, Kangundo District in the Kenyan Eastern region to register and participate in the race.
On the sidelines with his role as guest, Makau reflected on the season past where he missed the London Olympics as well a chance to break his own record at the Frankfurt Marathon in October due to foul weather.
“I had prepared very well for Frankfurt but the weather conditions were not favourable so I went there to win. When you come across bad weather, you need to use your brain.
“It was not like Berlin last year where everything was good and I ran with my all,” the two-time World Half silver winner said of his 2:06:08 win in Frankfurt on October 28.
After failing to finish the London Marathon on April 22, Makau saw Athletics Kenya (AK) quash his Olympics dream by declining to include him in the squad.
Even when a slot opened up in July when Moses Mosop who was hitherto selected got injured, the federation settled on 2011 London winner, Emmanuel Mutai, in Makau’s stead.
“I was not happy when I was not selected for London Olympics but I told myself there are good races coming so it is a matter of preparing and keeping fit for upcoming events.”
He also shed light on what happened between his management team and Berlin Marathon organisers that saw him not return to defend his title there in September.
“For someone to attempt a world record is not easy. Last year, I used a lot of effort to make the world record but in this case, we could not agree with them on what I was to get.”
Makau is now keen on returning to London next April to complete his unfinished business after his DNF this year.
“It is normal not to perform at times and I had some problems with my hamstrings that made me not finish the race.
“Next season, I’m preparing from London and after that, I will be thinking about the World Championships and I will make sure I train well. I’m back again fit and I hope for the best in 2013,” the ultimate distance benchmark upheld.
Makau finished third in London last year having won the Rotterdam and Berlin marathons in 2010.