Is Geoffrey Kamworor the Next Great Marathoner? He Can Stake His Claim at New York City Marathon
NEW YORK — This city is extra. Being born and raised in New York City, it feels weird to say but I said it to Patrick Sang and Geoffrey Kamworor as we walked down Sixth Avenue at 6:30 in the morning on Friday. Sang, Kamworor and four other staff members of the NN Running Team (a management team professional running collective of athletes from around the world) were getting ready to go for an easy 50-minute run. While I was thinking about how long I’d try to last, Kamworor and Sang were captivated by the buildings and cars that were out.
“Everything here is always open,” Sang says as we passed a diner. “That’s crazy to me.”
“Too many cars,” Kamworor says.
Welcome to New York. Kamworor and Sang are in town on a business trip and that’s to win the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon for the second consecutive year.
The 25-year-old is one of the most talented distance runners in the world and not just at the marathon. Running 25 laps on a track? Kamworor has a silver medal in the 10,000 meters on the track from the 2015 IAAF World Championships. Hills and mud? He loves it and has back-to-back world cross country national championships to show for it. He can win, but can he go fast? He owns a 2:06:12 personal best from the 2012 Berlin Marathon and if you’re curious about how fast he can go for half that distance, he’s run 58:54 and won three world half marathon titles.
So how ‘easy’ was this easy run going to be?
Once we got to Central Park, Sang peeled off for his morning walk because we all have an expiration date and an easy run with his athletes isn’t so easy anymore for the 1992 steeplechase silver medalist from Barcelona. The group started off with a 10:08 first mile and this was the slow jog that I had heard that many Kenyans use on their easy run days. If this is how we were going to run for the full 50 minutes, I would be OK. The New York City marathon course is contested entirely on concrete but Kamworor wants to run on the dirt surfaces so we ended up on the bridle path around the Central Park reservoir and the pace slowly quickened. The next two miles were run in 8:40 and 8:13 before his agent, Valentijn Trouw, and physiologist, Joost Vollard, peeled off after the first loop. Kamworor wanted to run one more so I challenged myself to hang for as long as I can. I survived for 41 minutes and a total of five miles with the final one in 6:44. That will wake you up in the morning.
Kamworor kept going for about 100 more meters so I’ll joke and say that I’m convinced he was simply trying to drop me before finishing up with six quick strides and drills. Even on a humid morning with a full jacket and tights, he barely broke a sweat. It comes easily to the best.
Many consider Kamworor as the next great marathoner, which is interesting to think of so soon after Eliud Kipchoge shaved 78 seconds off the world record with his 2:01:39 at the Berlin Marathon. Kamworor and Kipchoge are training partners and friends in Kaptagat, which is more located at more than 7,200 feet of altitude in Kenya. Because of race scheduling, they do not match up for every workout but meet for recovery runs and some long runs.
“These are guys who believe in the sport and are very focused,” Sang said. “When they’re in the business of training and they do it the way it’s supposed to be done. They understand themselves very well and don’t kill each other. It’s fun for me to watch them train together because it’s the teamwork that’s taken them this far.”READ MORE