Patrick Makau Musyoki of Kenya wins in Berlin in a course record (© Matthias Thiel / Vattenfall BERLIN HALF MARATHON)
Kenyan Patrick Makau Musyoki hopes to elevate himself from an also ran at the 2006 IAAF World Road Running Championships to the podium for this year’s event in Udine, Italy on Sunday (14).
In his first full season competing on the international stage Musyoki made his championship bow over the 20km distance in Debrecen, but finished a distant 26th in 59:54 – some 3:53 behind the gold medallist Zersenay Tadesse of Eritrea
But such has been his rapid rate of progression that just 12 months later he has emerged as genuine medal contender after recording three of the 11 fastest times in history for the Half Marathon distance this year.
Back in February he made his mark in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates when he obliterated his personal best to record 59:13 for second behind countryman Samuel Wanjiru, who ran an unratified world record of 58:53 for the distance (No EPO analysis was performed) - a mark Wanjiru has subsequently lowered to an officially ratified 58:33 in the Hague (17 March).
On 1 April, Musyok proved nobody’s fool, winning in Berlin in a scintillating 58:56 to climb to third on the all-time Half Marathon list – just one second slower than the best time Ethiopian maestro Haile Gebrselassie has ever run for the distance.
And in his most recent 13.1 mile outing in September he registered a none-too-shabby 59:19 for second place in Rotterdam – seven seconds behind Evans Cheruiyot, who like Wanjiru is amongst the entrants for Udine.
“This season has been fantastic, to run sub-60 minutes three times is more than I could have hoped for at the start of the year,” explained Musyoki. “The World (Road Running) Championships are very important, to run for my country makes me proud and if I can get a medal it will be a good end to the year.”
Four to five year career so far
Born and raised in the Machakos district of Kenya to the south east of Nairobi – the same area as Patrick Ivuti the winner of last Sunday’s Chicago Marathon hails from – Musyoki started running ‘four or five years ago,’ according to his British-based coach Ian Ladbrooke,
His first significant breakthrough came when he won the 2006 Tarsus half-marathon in Turkey last April in 62:42 and to build valuable racing experience Ladbrooke decided the Kenyan would benefit from spending a large chunk of the season living, training and racing in the UK.
Excited by his potential Kenyan selectors picked him for his championship debut at the IAAF World Road Running Championships in Debrecen last October, although Ladbrooke insists his underwhelming performance in Hungary was no great surprise.
“He had been racing for three months in the UK, he was already tired and we decided Patrick go there for the experience,” he admitted.
Natural road runner
Based at Ngong he regularly racks up 200km a week in training and he has developed into a world class performer. And while his best performances have so far come in the half-marathon Ladbrooke is also excited by his marathon potential.
“He is a natural road running and I think he is easily capable of a 2:05 marathon,” said Ladbrooke. “He is a very stubborn, determined athlete and fearless in training.”
For now, though, it is all about Italy and the World Road Running Championships and Musyoki is cautiously optimistic.
“I have been training very well, so I’m hoping to do well and if it’s my day anything can happen,” explained Musyoki of his Udine expectations. “Last year was not so good but I was tired from doing a lot of races in the UK. This time I’m rested and well prepared. But the field in Udine is very tough, my Kenyan team-mates are all very strong and Ethiopia and Eritrea also have some superb athletes.”
Steve Landells for the IAAF
'Udine 2007' FACTS & FIGURES (pdf format)- Statistics concerning previous editions of the IAAF World Half Marathon Champs (1992 - 2005) and IAAF World Road Running Champs (2006)