Athletics Athletics

Makau learns being the best has baggage


NAIROBI, Kenya, September 27- Fresh from setting the ultimate distance running milestone in Berlin on Sunday, world record holder, Patrick Makau Musyoki was in living up to his humble persona, not keen on hullabaloo upon his return.

However, his new found status as the benchmark in the most gruelling race comes with a healthy package of arousing great interest in his person as he found out on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Monday night.

When word reached him a horde of people led by Kangundo Member of Parliament, Johnson Muthama as well as a battery of press were waiting for him, Makau opted to give everyone the slip at the airport.

“He wanted a low key reception and just wanted to spend time with his immediate family, friends and training partners,” his training partner, Isaac Macharia, said.

The assembled traditional dancers, fellow athletes from his native Ukambani region as well as media personnel were left high and dry as he exited at a speed that gave a demonstration of his 2:03:38 world record run on Sunday.

With his intimate hideaway being at a shopping mall 15km from the airport, Makau had hardly settled for his own welcome that the very people he had ducked showed up with cameras clicking to no end.

Attention was also transmitted to his spouse Catherine, a military officer who is expecting their second child and daughter Christine but to his credit, the toast of ultimate distance running took the intrusion with the finesse that saw him scale the heights in Germany.

First, he paid tribute to his immediate family, stating, “My family, especially my wife has been giving me peace of mind, she’s cooking well for me and giving me enough time to relax.”

“I will arrange a huge party for them at home to celebrate with them. I’m very fine and grateful for the welcome they have given me. I’m very proud to have brought this record back home.”

Hardly concealing the delight coursing through her veins, Catherine was quick to state, “If it’s a boy (looking at her baby bump), I will name him Berlin after his record.”

“I’m proud of him as a world record holder. The guy trains very hard and I’m very happy since he did it not only for us but Kenya and to have a world record in my house is a blessing,” she added.

And dotingly looking at her better half, she went on, “It’s been a great sacrifice, I can’t explain the feeling and I shed my tears when he broke the world record. I was very excited since I could not believe he could run like that but with God, everything is possible.”

Makau stated he had altered his training after his attempt at the world record at the same race last year fell victim to the weather.

“This time, the weather was so favourable and the sunny condition on Sunday was perfect. To be a champion and record holder for a marathon is something big. To do the world record with the record owner, Haile Gebrsellasie was special.”

Makau expressed his understanding on what his new status portended for his future.

“This will cost a lot especially in my behaviour and values. I have to work harder to maintain my value. The world record can be broken if someone like I gets another chance to return to Berlin and attempt it but it can also be done at another city.”

On the same, his spouse added: “I will give him double the support I have been giving since now, he has to work harder to maintain his status but I know he can do it.”

Makau said he was yet to craft his plans for next season as well as the opportunity to feature in the London Olympics as he soaks in his new found billing.

One thing that has never been far from the Kangudo bred athlete is his undying devotion to his local community that through his means, has engaged in various projects to uplift them from the squalor he faced while growing up.

“It means a lot to my people. I have been helping them to develop the area and their lives and to them, it is a great achievement.”

Among the masses gathered to salute the official new king of marathon running was former Chicago Marathon winner, Patrick Ivuti and seven-time Honolulu Marathon winner, Jimmy Muindi, the mentors of Makau.

“It’s beyond words that what we planted in our region which is not known for producing distance runners has now matured through Makau. He will be the inspiration for more runners from our area,” Ivuti said.

Training partner, Nicholas Kamakya, who set the Gold Coast Marathon course record (2:10:01) in August offered, “He has been our hero as you know (the late Olympic champion Samuel) Kamau and Haile are great but Patrick is one of us. He was really determined and when he was flying out, he was confident since we had trained well for it.”

“For us his training partners, he has just inspired us to train harder and aim higher.”