by John Dye
11/21/08 -- The Open Race was added to NXN in 2006, when NXN qualifiers were still selected by committee. It was sort of a consolation event where teams could show the committee they should have been picked for the championship race. It was also a chance for runners to experience the national finals scene, run on the championship course, and see the championship races. Nike enhanced the experience immensely by bringing teams from Kenya to run against Americans. The Kenyan teams returned in 2007 and they will be on hand again in 2008. Two medalists in the World Junior Championships in Poland are on this year's girls team.
|Last year, Kenya boys scored a perfect 15. || Kenya girls won with 55 points. |
photos by John Dye
the Gods of running
“I always thought the Kenyans were the Gods of running,” said 2006 championship winner Steve Murdock of New York’s Shenendehowa High as the Nike Team Nationals squads checked out the Portland Meadows course the day before the races. “It’ll be neat to sit back and watch them run.” Harrier magazine publisher Marc Bloom's story, Kenya do it? Yes, they did.
After the 2007 Open Race, Marc Bloom wrote in The Kenyans: Showcase For The Perfect Runners that the Kenyans were not merely the best runners, but the most perfect.
| ||With their qualities of worldliness and wonder, bracing speed and embracing humility, the young Kenyans are not merely the best runners or the strongest, but the most perfect runners—symbolic figures who embody the austere ruggedness of their homeland, and the power that running can bring.|
“Oh, my God, you want to be able to run like them,” said Hunterdon XC Club star Lanie Thompson as she limbered up for the girls NTN championship, in which she would place 11th. “But they’re so much stronger, so relaxed. They don’t even look like they’re breathing hard.”
Regarding the Kenyans with rock-star awe, Jackie Henderson of the Lake Central Club in Indiana, the NTN Midwest Regional winner, said she was able to break the ice and speak with the Kenyans over the weekend, exchanging gifts and appreciating their self-effacement. “They are so thankful for what they have,” she said.
2008 Kenyan team
Here are the credentials of this year's teams from Kenya:
|KENYA BOYS||KENYA GIRLS |
|St. Patrick's Boys High School|
Top boys school in the country. Located in Iten in the famous highlands of Kenya. Has produced several World champions and top middle distance runners.
Coach - Samuel Keitany.
Nickson Chepseba, Junior
-3000 metres, Gold, National High School Track
-1500m, Silver, National High School Track Championships
-5000m High School Track Regionals 14:20:5:pb
Eliud Kipserem, Senior
-1500m 3:49:6 pb High School Track Regionals
-5000m 14:21:0 pb
-8km High School Cross Country Regionals
Stanley Tanui, Junior
-3000m SC 8:59:03 High School Track Regionals
-8k High School Cross Country Regionals
Dominic Cheruiyot, Freshman
-10,000m ( 30:12:0 ) High School Track Regionals
Eric Kiprono Sophomore
-1500m 3:52:6 pb High School Track Regionals
-800m 1:54:0 pb High School Track Regionals
|Riruta Central Girls High School |
Top girls school in Kenya. Located in the outskirts of Nairobi. Coach - Greg Kilonzo
-National HS Track Championships, 3rd , 800m, 2.12.
-2008 National HS Cross-Country, 8th, 19:21:38
-National HS Track Championships,3rd, 3000m
-National HS Cross Country Championships, 7th,19:11
-National HS Cross Country Championships, 1st, 19:01
-Silver medalist, Eastern and Central Africa Junior Regionals, 3000m, 8:57:00
-Bronze medalist, World Junior Championship in Poland 5000m, 15:46
-National HS Cross Country Championships, 6th, 19:05
-Gold medalist, Africa Junior Athletics Championships, 3000m steeple, 10:02
-Silver medalist, World Junior Championship in Poland, 3000m steeple, 9:36:00
Prior Years Open Races
Boys: Kenya 15, Vista Murrieta CA 56
Girls: Kenya 55, Dana Hills CA 86
Kenyans, Californians run off with blustery Open races - Dave Devine story
The Kenyans: Showcase For The Perfect Runners - Marc Bloom story
Boys: Kenya 15, El Toro CA 100
Girls: Kenya 23, Gig Harbor WA 82
Kenya do it? Yes, they did - Marc Bloom story
Gig Harbor WA wanted to show the NTN selection committee they were wrong - Brandon Miles story