Kenyan Runningdad

                                    “We all have fathers and runners are no different.”

It is a mild but overcast spring evening and my legs have 25-kilometres of running on them. I am typing away with a cup of Kenyan tea in a mug beside me and my Kenyan friend Justin Lagat is glued to a replay of last year’s Ottawa marathon. Its a good day.

Justin is in town (Ottawa) and crashing on my couch so he can run the Ottawa Sporting Life 10k as a warm-up for the Ottawa marathon at the end of May. I hung out with my fellow running dad and friend for the weekend. Here is a bit about Justin and a few things he had to say about running, training and being a running dad.

Justin Lagat

(Bio from Justin’s profile for the Ottawa marathon, where he is an ambassador) Justin grew up in the rural area of the Rift Valley region in Kenya. His primary school was about four kilometers away from home and as a kid he, with his siblings, would run to and from the school four times in a day making it a total of 16km daily. He believes this, in addition to his genes, made him grow into a runner.

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However, in a land where everyone is born into the same life situations, it was hard for him to make a great impression as an exceptional runner in the region. He would only win in some low profile competitions, but that was enough to jump-start his career in running.

Running and writing, which is his other passion, have blended well and besides running he is also a columnist with RunBlogRun, author of Determined Runners (e-book)and a freelance sports journalist covering the sport of running. His work has been featured in a number of international media including the and Thrive Sports.

So far, he has completed three marathons, one being the 2016 Ottawa Marathon, during which he had to push on to the finish despite the heat. His aim from now on is to complete at least two marathons every year.

Justin’s personal bests

  • 10K   29:48
  • Half-marathon   1:06

I took a few moments to ask Justin a few questions:

How do you balance being an elite runner and being a dad, is it hard being away from your family?

“When you are leaving a young daughter (3-years old) it is hard to hear her ask when daddy will be home. When she was younger it was hard because she needed so much attention and I needed to be a dad – now she is going to school and I can train and rest after without any interruptions!”

If all goes well with your training and your taper – what would you like to run at the 2017 Ottawa marathon?

“My goal is to run under 2:10, to run as fast as I can. It would take things to the next level for me and I would hopefully get more recognition, sponsorship and the ability to run at more international-caliber races.”

North Americans always want to know the secret to the Kenyan running success, is it the barrels of tea, the training at altitude or just plain hard work in your opinion?

“I think it is the hard work and the motivation to do what it takes to succeed in running, in a country already filled now with fast runners – that have driven our success.”

How do your rate my cheese and cucumber sandwiches?

“I give it a 6 out of 10….I prefer hot foods more.” (I think he was being nice)

Sunday update: Justin ran the Ottawa Sportinglife 10k (which raises money for the local CHEO Hosptial). Justin loved the fact the race was flat, fast and raised money for a great cause. He also won the race in a time of 31:02!

*A big shout out to the friendly and great folks at InStride management (who manged the Ottawa race) who put on a great race and were super welcoming to Justin!

**A big thanks to Justin for being a cool guy and introducing me to Kenyan tea! (now addicted)

You can find Justin on his blog and on Twitter at @kenyanathlete


Run on my running friends!


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