Nike Discovery Kenya Half-Marathon!

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Robert Brouillette


On Sunday February 2nd 2014, I raced the Nike Discovery Kenya men’s half-marathon road race in Eldoret starting near city hall. This is now my second race of 2014 and both my races of the year have been in Kenya. I had mixed feelings going into this race, trying to decide if I wanted to just simply finish the 21.1K, treat it like a training workout and just go tempo, or race the race like everyone else. Even going to the start line I still didn’t know what I wanted out of it so I just going to ‘go for it’ and see what happened. This attitude was because my half-marathon in Canada in exactly a month is my highest priority and I didn’t want this race to affect my training too much. If this race injured me, or caused me to miss some important days of training, I would be devastated. Anyways, so I did my quick warm up and some silly drills just to keep my nerves under control. This is a very intimidating race with a few of Kenyans top athletes here racing against little mzungu Runner Rob and hundreds and hundreds of other strong Kenyans. Once the race directors got everyone under control, we “walked all together” to the start line, but in reality everyone was so pumped up that there was very many times we false started. One false start was so bad that everyone raced for 2.5 minutes before realizing we weren’t even at the start line yet, and yes gullible I fell for this too, wasting about 600M or so of my energy. Once we were officially at the start line waiting for the go ahead to start the race, people were screaming with excitement and started pushing others to get going already. This pissed off the race directors so they started to rip off the bibs of people who were pushing ahead of the start line causing the race to be delayed over and over. Finally everyone just started booking it and we were off in a full-out sprint before I got spit out the back because I was not going to blow myself up with 21K of race to go. The course was a 3K x7 by the way which made it easy for me to know where I was going and to track the progress of the other Kenyan runners. So if you remember earlier I was debating on which race strategy I wanted to go with, well I ended up doing all three. I started the race out going sub 4:00/K tempo, then after I saw all the Kenyan cheaters going under the ribbons to cut a kilometer or two out of their race, or even them hiding and then popping back in a lap later, it all just made me so mad. This caused me to have a bad attitude and start slowing down not giving a care how fast I was going but knowing I would just finish. Then once I realized how good I felt, I was passing people one by one, nobody passing me at all for the rest of the race, and seeing participants drop out, all made me want to do this thing at race pace for the last half for so. They finally set up the water station so I took advantage of that every 3K by drinking a little and then dumping the rest of the water cup on my head (I need to practice my cup to hand to mouth running technique for future races). It was a hot day but the heat wasn’t affecting me. Once my earlier frustrations were out of my mind, people who were not in the race started walking in front of because the leaders had already gone by and then don’t care about anyone else who was racing. Then people kept putting their hand out or grabbing me because they were excited to see a mzungu, but I am running a race so that ticked me off. With one lap to go I still felt strong, I could tell my stride and running form was good, so I enjoyed the last 3K with running some great splits to get to the finish line in 1:18:01 knowing I had beaten a few dozen Kenyan’s behind me, plus those who quit and dropped out. However, in the last 1K I literally knocked a woman over who blindly walked in front of me without looking and shouted/clapped loudly at a few others who were close to getting in my way. Finally, the race announcer with his microphone says to the crowd of a couple hundred, “it’s alright everyone, not everyone can be a champion” as I’m coming around the last bend and then he walks right out in front of the finish line like it didn’t matter that I was coming at full sped, so I screamed really loud, dodged around him, and was not done the race. Race directors and media were trying to get a hold of me because a mzungu had participated in their race or something, but I was furious that I stormed through the crowd, found Johana and my other friends, and got out of there. By the way, I did this race with my Nike GPS SportWatch and New Balance 1600 racing flat shoes, that I love so much. In the end I had a half-marathon PB, in Kenya, so right there I know that my fitness is better considering the heat, altitude, race conditions, and the fact I didn’t race hard the time. I’m more excited than ever to see how I do in Canada at the Burlington Chilly Half-Marathon in a month on March 2nd. All in all, it was a fun race overall and I actually want to do this race again some time in the future years to see what time I can actually run with my head in the game the time and no spectators making me mad or any funny business. Once again just like last week’s race, I have no idea what place I came in but that’s alright as I am not too worried about that anyways. 3 weeks out of my 7 week trip left, so let’s see what happens and I look forward to being back in Canada in February 25th, a week out from my first Canadian race of 2014.

Race = Nike Discovery Kenya
Distance = 1/2 marathon
Time = 1:18:01 min.
Pace = 3:45/K
Overall Place = unknown out of 400+/-
Age Group = unknown for men only race
*Note: I was one of very few white guys (mzungu’s)

Photo album of my 2014 Kenya trip =
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The women's 10K winner!

The women’s 10K winner!

The men's 1/2 marathon lead pack!

The men’s 1/2 marathon lead pack!

Me racing Discovery Kenya Half-Marathon!

Me racing Discovery Kenya Half-Marathon!

Johana interviewing me after I finished the race!

Johana interviewing me after I finished the race!

– Robert Brouillette

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