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Runners accused of mistreating members of society during training

David Macharia @PeopleSports11

Kenyan athletes are in the spotlight again after being accused of bad behaviour and attitude towards members of the community during training.

This was brought to the fore by Machakos-based coach Philip Muia who posted a word of advice on social media to runners training in Iten, Eldoret, Ngong, Machakos, Kapsabet, Nyahururu and Kericho not to harass road users whenever they do their daily routine.

“Some locals have complained that some athletes slap people whenever they meet them on the way during training especially if they are obstructed. Let us be friendly and understand that the roads or paths are also used by other people,” read part of Muia’s Facebook post on May 21.

He added: “We understand you may be tired running on that course (road or path) but please control your temper. You will arrive at your destination anyway!” It is a post that has triggered debate among the athletics fraternity with many confirming the incidents while others condemning them. Sam Thiong’o, an athlete, said: “I’ve seen it too and it’s very bad”.

“Very true, hata wengine hutemea watu mate wakikosa kuondoka kwa barabara.” (Some even spit on people when they don’t give way),” was the response from Gerald Kuria.

In the past, runners training in Iten were accused of impregnating school girls and getting away with it because they had money to compensate the parents, an incident ex-athlete Thomas Kiprotich alludes to, although he is surprised more is happening.

“Is this nonsense still happening? That was something I heard long time ago and was coming from Army or Police runners but I thought that generation was gone,” he said.

Amos Kimutai Tarus, also a runner, admits the behaviour is rife but also accuses some members of the community, particularly boda boda riders for making it hard for athletes.

“Some riders are rude and ride between the runners instead of giving way,” said Tarus. Meanwhile, Wilson Kibogo won the 5,000 metres race during the Nyandarua County track and field championship held at the Oljoroorok Stadium on Sunday.

Kibogo, representing Ndaragwa sub county, overcame strong opposition in the early stages of the race to win in 14:18.4, a head of Samuel Mwaniki of OlJoroorok (14:19.7) with Michael Kunyoga (14:20.1) and John Elimlim (14:24.0) both from Ol Joroorok taking third and fourth positions in that order.

The corresponding women’s race was won by Naomi Nduta of Ndaragwa in 16:50.8 followed by Josephine Wambui (OlJoroorok) 16:58.3 and Susan Tanui (Ndaragwa) 17:02.8, in second and third spots respectively.

Competition was also intense in the 1,500m and 800m for both men and women as Nyandarua selected a team for the Central Region competition to be held in Thika this weekend.

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