Nike Discovery Kenya 10K XC!

Posted: January 29, 2014 in Robert Brouillette


On Sunday January 26th 2014, I raced the Nike Discovery Kenya senior men 10K cross-country race in Eldoret at the Sports Club. This was my first race of 2014 and it happened to be in Kenya which is cool. This race is known to be the most difficult in all of Kenya and some even say it’s one of the hardest cross-country races in the world. From its high level of competitiveness of Kenyan runner’s wanting to be discovered and the competitors in the race are ranked all the way up to World Champions, Olympians, and world record holders. The day started off with a quick breakfast of a cup of coffee, some slices of plain dry bread and some water for the road at 7:30AM. The only thing Johana and I knew was that the first race would go at 9AM and the rest of the races would follow when the earlier race finished. The girls would go first and then boys, from the youngest kids 1K all the way up to the last race which is the senior men 10K. This is the first year the event is doing a senior 10K as the earlier years have been 12K so I decided to do this race to say I was in the ‘first one,’ plus the senior race is for 20 years old and up anyways. Johana decided that the junior 8K race would better suit him based on his training and how he felt so that’s the one he entered. The race was free to all so there were easily over a thousand participants for the event. The course is a flat winding 2K loop so that means the junior boys do 4 laps and I as a senior man will do 5. I met up with my old friend Simon Boit from Mosoriot who I lived with in July last year while I was in Kenya, and we did our warm up and strides together before the race. For this race I had my Conestoga College race singlet shirt and the New Balance 5000XC spikes that everyone was crazy to have but there is no way I can give these up. On the start line for my race there was roughly 3 rows deep of 500 men so just looking side to side I know it would be an interesting beginning to the race. Kenyan races are known for there false starts so being in the front row with the only other white dude, New Zealand track Olympian, Zane Roberson, we both were very careful to be ready for anything. As the race director was making his announcements in Swahili for some time, the racers were getting impatient so before I knew it we were off in a blink of an eye from a false start. There is no way on earth anyone was stopping hundreds of sprinting men all determined to win, so the race was no officially started. The first kilometer was a mess with people getting pushes, tripped, run over, and then lots of drop out from going out too hard. Once the stampede of Kenyans was over and we started to spread out I felt more comfortable even though I was now running from the back of the pack. Not much excitement or place changes happened so the rest of the race was basically just me trying to breathe, not sweat to death, and keep my heart from popping out of my chest. I loved all the cheering from other international runners who came to watch and of course all the Kenyan’s cheering me on as “mzungu.” In the last 1K I was battling with 2 guys, and knowing that a couple hundred runners had already finished a few minutes ago, with Wilson Kiprop winning the race by a second, I just wanted to at least beat these two dudes. I picked up the pace to test them and easily dropped the first guy but the second guy knew what I was up to and got back at me by playing games with me, not allowing me to pass him. Finally with 100 meters to go he was getting cocky and thinking he had beat me but I gave it all I had and had a very fast strong finish beating the guy by milliseconds right at the finish line as I squeezed in front of him. The crowd sounded like they were going wild for me but I was so exhausted I just kept walking through the finish line area to get a drink to hydrate myself but just my luck they ran out of water bottles so I was left dying for some liquids. My finish time according to my Nike+ GPS SportWatch was 38:05 for 10.2K so that’s 3:44/K and if it was an exact 10K it would be about 37:20 or so for a cross-country race out here in the high altitude of Kenya. That’s about 1K slower than what I think I should be able to do in Canada so it’s interesting to see how much the climate really affects you. Anyways, I then met up with Zane who told me he placed 27th overall in 30:30 which is unreal for him to do among all these Kenyans. We both got a red “Discovery Kenya 2014” t-shirt which I think looks awesome so I wore it around all day proudly. All in all, I did enjoy the race even though it hurt the lungs, I did not place very well but that was expected, and I can say I participated in a well-known Kenyan race surrounded by all the famous runners and friends I have met along my Kenyan trip.

Race = Nike Discovery Kenya
Distance = 10K XC (10.2K)
Time = 38:05 min.
Pace = 3:44/K
Overall Place = unknown out of 500+/-
Age Group = unknown for senior men
*Note: I was one of 2 white men (mzungu’s) with Zane Robertson

Photo album of race =

Photo album of my 2014 Kenya trip =
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The start line for the senior men's XC 10K!

The start line for the senior men’s XC 10K!

Over the small hill with 500 meters to go!

Me on my way to the finish line!

Me on my way to the finish line!

New Zealand track Olympian, Zane Roberson, on his way to a top 30 finish!

New Zealand track Olympian, Zane Roberson, on his way to a top 30 finish against a field of Kenyans!

Johana running the junior XC 8K!

Johana running the junior XC 8K!

The top 2 finishers for the senior men's race. Wilson Kiprop in yellow was the winner!

The top 2 men for the senior race. Wilson Kiprop in yellow was the winner!

– Robert Brouillette

  1. […] Nike Discovery Kenya 10K XC! | Runner Rob […]

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