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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

Series01 Dec 2014

Work, rest and play – Patrick Makau


Marathon runner Patrick Makau training in Kenya (© Getty Images)

Kenya’s Patrick Makau will be contesting his first marathon of the year this weekend in Fukuoka.

The former world record-holder talks about his life in more detail by answering our work, rest and play questions.

Patrick at work

What is your favourite training session?

Patrick Makau: My favourite training session is 10 x 2000m in 5:40 with a one-minute recovery (200m jog). When you do this kind of training at altitude and on a soft dirt track, you know that you are ready to contest a marathon.

What is your least favourite training session?

PM: Gym work and stretching. It has to be done, but I still don’t like them very much.

What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?

PM: Providing a better life for my family, travel, and competing against the best in the world.

Who is your favourite training partner?

PM: My favourite training partners are all the members of my small group with whom I train in Ngong, near Nairobi. We have a mild temperament and the younger athletes push the speed sessions while the marathoners are working together during long runs. On easy days there is lots of talk and laughter and the whole group makes training more interesting.

Where is your favourite training venue?

PM: Masai land near Ngong. It is flat, straight and I consider it my office.

Patrick at rest

What is your favourite music to relax to?

PM: Music from my Kamba tribe, Swahili music and gospel. 

Describe your perfect day without training.

PM: Family, ocean, sunny weather and a blanket on the grass.

What is your favourite stress reliever?

PM: My wife Catherine (Mutwa, a 32:52 10km runner). As a former athlete, she knows what I need and I get a lot of support and strength from talking with her. She always tells me if I am doing something wrong and I appreciate her support very much.

If you could pick any other athlete in the world with whom to relax, who would it be?

PM: My mentors – Patrick Ivuti, Jimmy Muindi and Paul Tergat. We would talk and laugh. They are very fine gentleman.

Where is your favourite place to relax?

PM: My rural area in Machakos. While jogging there, I think of my past and my difficult childhood and I feel blessed and at peace.

Patrick at play

Why do you have a passion for kung-fu?

PM: I just like the way they make movies and it is always good fighting bad, like in real life. Their training is always very serious, similar to marathon runners. Also, they do a lot of fighting in their minds and that is how I approach the marathon as often the race is decided in the mind – days and weeks prior to actual event. I like that part the most.

What is your favourite kung-fu movie?

PM: I don’t have a favourite movie, but as long as there is good story of good versus evil or a story of dedication and perseverance, I am happy to watch.

Which track and field athlete, other than yourself, would make the best kung-fu artist?

PM: My training-mate Nicholas Manza (a 2:06:34 marathon runner). He is tall, has long legs and arms and makes many faces. He thinks quickly and makes jokes, so I am sure he would do well.

If you could celebrate winning a big city marathon with a kung-fu move, which one would it be?

PM: The kick like when an actor turns 360 degrees and ends up in a powerful pose.

How often do you watch kung-fu movies?

PM: Every once in a while. Recently, as I am returning back after a long period of injury without competition, I’ve been watching DVDs when I competed strongly. Someone from my management team joked that there is a young guy in these races, running well and looking like a younger version of me. I am not sure I liked that joke!

Steve Landells for the IAAF