NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 -Trail Runner Cheruiyot Kirui became the first ever athlete to run the energy-sapping 3-route Salomon Mt. Kenya Challenge in 23hrs 40 minutes.
The star Nairobi-based trail runner shattered the 35.20hour record previously set by his Salomon team mate James Muhia last year.
Prior to the fancied under 24 run, Cheruiyot’s personal best stood at 40hours.
Cheruiyot set the record on Supercross shoes and Advanced Skin8 hydration pack courtesy of Salomon Kenya. He savored his gallant run in a tough atmosphere that left the trail runners bruised and battered.
On his spirited dash to the fairy tale feat, Cheruiyot, who is one of the 5 Salomon Kenya brand ambassadors, ran the Sirimon’s Old Moses Camp-Lenana stretch in 3:31 hours, Lenana to Metrological in 1:52hours, Metrological to Lenana in 3:51, Lenana to Chogoria Bandas in 2.50hours, Chogoria to Lenana in 6.46hours and back to Old Moses in 4:06hours
Limo, also a brand ambassador of Salomon, was well on course to also rack up the record but after a bad day in the office, he came through the grueling circuit in 26hrs 24 minutes.
Victor Miringu and Muhia only managed 2 routes but the former had to contend with a stomach bug since the start and could not push further after the second summit. While James suffered a knee injury after a fall.
Four trail runners Cheruiyot, Muhia, Miringu and Limo took to the challenging mountainous terrain with the noble initiative to conquer the 3 routes in under 24 hours.
It was double celebration for Cheruiyot who had turned 37 on 26th January, and was using this challenge as a ‘birthday party’, Incidentally, he has spent his last two birthdays (2019 and 2020) running up Mt. Kenya.
Cheruiyot had the last laugh and was all smiles upon arrival at Old Moses Camp.
“The event well. It is difficult to have such an event go as planned because of the long hours on the move, technical terrain which give enough time and space for things to go wrong. The weather was favourable.”
“Lucky no rain was encountered and snow was minimal and therefore did not affect pace. Also, it was not too cold and the frozen parts of the course were limited.
The challenges for this was on the technical aspects of the descents. Given that a decent pace had to be maintained to achieve the 24 hour goal. I therefore had to run down exposing myself to injury.
The only other challenge I faced was total loss of appetite in the later parts of the race, it is important to keep energised at all times first for the cold and secondly to be able to move efficiently. I fortunately did not have issues with sleep at any time. This was also a result of the time we started, 3 am. Which means we started on fresh bodies.
The course was however less interesting as two of my fellow runners had to pull out one due to injury and the other due to health issues,” Cheruiyot narrated.
Muhia on his kart said: “I fell and messed my left knee 5 hours into the challenge while running down Narumoru route and couldn’t push further after the second summit.”
There were about 8 other runners who came to support them in the run.
One of them Clare Baker did 2 routes in 23.39hours and another Agoro Adhiambo did one route in her maiden challenge.
Muhia went on: ‘Challenges on this kind of a run are varied. Cold weather was a key factor that was mitigated by Salomon Kenya providing the athletes with proper gear (Warm midlayers and jackets, (windbreaker jackets), proper trail running shoes to help with grip and cushioning.
Salomon also covered the costs (food, accommodation, park fees, transportation etc) for the athletes.
Outdoor Kenya (local distributors of Salomon products) boss S. Gohil said the essence for them is to popularise Trail Running in Kenya while also bolstering the Salomon brand identity.
Next challenge is a speed climb up Kilimanjaro later this month (February).