translated by Brett Larner
Kenya’s “Ryan Hall Moment” – Paul Kuira’s Dream Comes True
Last week, Kenya’s Paul Kuira pulled an absolute stunner, as in his half-marathon debut he ran a 59:47 to win the Marugame Half-Marathon, making him the first Kenyan athlete and and [sic] first non-African-based runner under 60:00 this year (New Zealand's Zane Robertson has also done it).
When we saw the result, we instantly thought, “Wow, Kenya has found their Ryan Hall.”
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The parallels between the two are striking. Both come from unconventional training backgrounds and both have spent a considerable time at altitude. Hall great up [sic] in Big Bear, California which is at 6,700 feet and did twenty mile runs as a high schooler and ten mile tempo runs (For an interesting LRC interview with Ryan as a high schooler in 2000 click here). Paul, at the age 16, in search of being the best in the world, moved to Japan by himself to train and has lived for the last nine years in Japan or Kenya at altitude pursing [sic] his dream. Both Ryan Hall and Paul Kuira initially tried to make their mark at 1500 before reluctantly moving up to moderate success at 5000, before becoming a totally unexpected sensation in the half-marathon.
The parallels between the two are eerie:
Hall ran 3:42.70 at 18, 13:16.03 at 22 and 59:43 in his half marathon debut at 24.
Kuira ran 3:44.21 at 18, 13:22.38 at 20, and 59:47 in his half marathon debut at 25.
It will be fun to see if Paul goes on to have great success at the 26.2 distance in the years to come.
Translator's note: In a related article on Marugame, Alberto Stretti wrote, "Last Sunday in Marugame (Japan) he did one of the most amazing and fast debuts on halfmarathon in the history...he ran 59.47 at the first time on distance showing everyone another time his growing talent.." Stretti went on to point out in capital letters that he was not speaking about Kuira's world leading course record-setting 59:47 winning debut.
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