“Kip Kangogo – Aiming For Victory at Toronto Yonge Street 10km,” by Paul Gains

TORONTO. April 17th. Wow… first Rotterdam on Sunday, with the tremendous performances of Dylan Wykes (2:10:47 Olympic Qualifier), Rob Watson (2:13:35 a BIG PB), plus Lanni Marachant (2:31:52) & Krista DuChene (2:32:08), both with HUGE, breakthough PBs. Then Boston yesterday with Oakville’s Josh Cassidy racing to a new Wheelchair World Record (1:18:25); STWM 2010 Champion Sharon Cherop becoming Boston Women’s Champion; and Wesley Korir, husband of Tarah McKay-Korir, who is currently living and training with the McKay family in Waterloo County, becoming the Boston Men’s Champion. Tarah, you’ll recall, was our Harry’s Spring Run off Toronto 8K winner, and will be favourite going into this Sunday’s Toronto Yonge Street 10K. Incidentally, Wesley will be on babysitting duty this Sunday, holding daughter Mckayla and cheering Tarah on at TYS10K. TOO much! The “8 days that shook the marathon world” continues…

Paul Gains lovely feature on Tarah and her family is well worth a re-read, and a rumour tells me he has more coming out later this week.

Today, enjoy this fine piece from Paul on Lethbridge’s KIP KANGOGO, who will battle London 2012-bound Reid Coolsaet for the Men’s title at Toronto Yonge Street 10K, in a re-match from last Spring.  

ENJOY! 

Kip Kangogo (right) battles it out with Reid Coolsaet & Eric Gillis at Toronto Yonge Street 10K 2011

Kip Kangogo – Aiming For Victory at Toronto Yonge Street 10km, by Paul Gains

Kip Kangogo returns to the Toronto Yonge Street 10km this week in the best shape of his life and with something of a score to settle.

A year ago the Kenyan born resident of Lethbridge, Alberta finished steps behind Canadian Olympians Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis in Toronto with a time of 28:09.4. Coolsaet won the race in 28:08.0.

“I think this year the Toronto Yonge Street 10k will be exciting to watch,” he says. “Last year I never had the chance to see the course, I just ran it. Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis knew the course. I never really calculated the last 800m. I never knew where the finish was. With Reid and myself, and other runners, it’s going to be very exciting.” [see VIDEO of last 800m last year].

Lest one think Kangogo is a sore loser it must be remembered that he is a three time Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon champion and has twice beaten Coolsaet over 10,000m at the Canadian Track and Field Championships (in 2011 and 2010). On both of those occasions he had to watch the victory ceremony from the stands. Kangogo, you see, is a ‘permanent resident’ who is seeking Canadian citizenship. His name therefore appears on the results with an asterisk, which is a source of frustration.

“You know you won the championship and somebody who was second gets to obtain the title,” he explains. “I don’t think it’s fair for the person who is second either. Whoever is going to be first is not going to feel good. At the same time I look at it in a positive way. I contributed to that race, I was there and made the race exciting. I gained something from the other runners with me. I still feel in a positive way, I am improving my time, I am winning championships.

“You see when I ran the 2010 Canadian championships I was 2nd in the 10,000m wednesday night to Simon Bairu (Coolsaet was 3rd). I never got to go to the podium because I am a permanent resident. Then on friday I decided to run the 5000m. I ended up winning the 5000m. My winning keeps me smiling.”

Kip knows that winning feeling at Canada Running Series events! Here pictured at Scotia Vancouver Half-marathon 2010

Kangogo’s 2012 season is off to a great start with a victory in the Vancouver Harry’s Spring Run Off 8km (March 25th) and a close, second place finish at the Vancouver Sun Run (April 15th). Gillis was 4th that day. He and his wife, Florida, hope to obtain Canadian citizenship this year or perhaps in 2013. They were married at Kabernet AIC Church in Kenya on August 6th, 2011.

Kangogo was born in the village of Kitura in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, the middle of seven children born to farmers.

“Life was very good,” he recalls. “I lived a simple life. My parents came from humble beginnings. I enjoyed the company of my brothers and sisters and I used to look after my father’s goats as a young boy. I had fun doing it.”

He remembers the villagers all talking about the exploits of five time world cross country champion Paul Tergat who lived nearby. Although Kangogo was inspired by Tergat’s accomplishments it wasn’t until he arrived in Canada to study at Lethbridge Community College in 2001 that he took running seriously. He says his father had always encouraged his children to take advantage of a good education and that had been his focus.

“I came to Lethbridge College in 2001,” he recalls. “I attended the Canadian national championships in Edmonton and I ended up being 2nd in the 1,500m and then, because I was running pretty good, I started applying to U.S. universities. So in the fall of 2002 I went to Brigham Young University.”

He found the winter less than agreeable in Utah and, after a prolonged chest infection, he started looking for a warmer climate and transferred to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Kangogo graduated with a kinesiology degree from TCU in 2005.

Two of his younger siblings, Ed and Florence, currently live with Kangogo and his wife. It is Ed who fulfills the role of training partner to his older brother.

“Yes my brother Ed is always running with me,”he adds. “I kind of like my younger brother. He is always giving me advice. He is my younger brother but he knows what I need too. He is always telling me this and that. We motivate each other.

I go on long runs and do intervals and tempo runs with him. He is a great brother and I am glad to have him.”

Kip breaks the tape to win Harry's Spring Run Off Vancouver 8K on March 25th, 2012

 Kangogo laughs at his choice of words. But he is sincere in his love for his family. And he also points out that Flaman Fitness western Canada’s largest fitness equipment retailer for whom he works part time is clearly behind him all the way.

“Flaman Fitness has been a great supporter of mine. I work for them,” he explains. “They came up with a new idea this year. They told me ‘Kip we are going to support you and at the same time we would like to support a charity. So every time you win a race this year we are going to donate $1,000 to a charity in that city.’ It’s good.”

The 33 year old is a keen advocate of the Canada Running Series which keeps him motivated to race all across the country. Last October he made his marathon debut finishing 11th at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. His time was 2:20:45. Although many would consider it a disappointment, given his impressive road race credentials, he had achieved what he wanted.

“To be honest with you I was very happy to finish the race,” he reveals. “At the back of my mind I was kind of scared in the beginning, I had never run a marathon. It’s not like a half marathon or 10k. At the same time I gave myself the morale I want to finish the race no matter what. I said I will do what I can. Crossing the finish line I was smiling.

“I took a lot of lessons from the STWM last year. When I came back and rested from the race all these experiences came back in my head. I am looking forward to coming back to STWM this year to improve my time and all the lessons I took last year were a good experience for me. I will put that into practice in my training and make sure I come back this year and run a good time.”

But first, there’s the matter of exacting a revenge on his friend and rival Reid Coolsaet in the Toronto Yonge Street 10km this sunday morning.

“I think I am in good shape,” he declares, “My coach is Patrick Cunniff he coached me at TCU and now lives in California. He is a good coach and I like the way he approaches training. I think I am coming around with my knowledge of the Canada Running Series, and with my races in Vancouver last month, I think I am on a good schedule.”

For More Information and entry: www.toronto10K.ca

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