Thursday, May 5, 2011

Caroline Rotich and the Santa Fe area Elite Training Group

Aron Rono and Caroline Rotich, courtesy of
Update: Caroline is the new 2015 Boston Marathon Champion.

| Got to meet a solid group of local elites on Tuesday at a planning meeting/dinner for the upcoming Santa Fe Run Around. Friend Ryan Bolton has moved into a coaching position for some of the recently disbanded AmeriKenyan athletes and was at the meeting along with Aron Rono, Patrick Kemboi, and Abebe Yimmer.

Caroline in NY, courtesy of
I thought Caroline Rotich was going to be there but she couldn't make it. Caroline has been training in town for several years now and is starting to light it up on the majors circuit. She's coming off a 9th place finish at the New York Marathon last Nov. (2:29:46), a 1st place and new course record at the New York half-marathon in March (1:08:52), and a 4th place finish at the Boston Marathon three weeks back (2:24:26). At both the New York half and at Boston she bested cover-girl and Alberto Salazar coached athlete Kara Goucher (CU alum). So what we have here is:  Caroline > Kara, Bolton > Salazar, Santa Fe > Eugene. That's what I'm talking about. 

In any case, Caroline couldn't make the dinner. Apparently she's vacationing out in Lubbock this week which is particularly awesome.
  1. Professional career rocking - check.
  2. New PR - check.
  3. Two top ten finishes in a marathon major over the last six months - check.
  4. Solidly on the list of favorites for New York this fall - check.
Sweet, I think I'll head to Lubbock for a little R&R.

Abebe Yimmer was gearing up for the upcoming US 25km championships in Grand Rapids May 14th. He's the Ethiopian rep in the group but gained US citizenship recently so he'll be competing for his first US title in Grand Rapids. I asked him how he was feeling, if he was in form or what - and he was like 'oh yeah man, it's all good, training is great, I'm going to do great'. Funny as hell. I asked him what the plan was, if he was going to push the pace or mark the leaders, drop surges or what - he just said he was going to make it a race, nothing to worry about. The guy has good style.

Rono's collegiate days
Aron Rono was just out racing in Stanford at the Payton Jordan Invitational. The guy mixed it up in a blazin' 10,000m that had 19 guys run under the 28min mark. Finished 11th in 27:31. That is 'effin crazy fast. He didn't take down American runners Bobby Curtis or Matt Tegenkamp who finished just before him but did nip World Champ medalist Tahri of France. Aron ran to four consecutive NAIA 10,000m titles in college so he's a pretty bad dude on the track. He helped rabbit the 5000m at the Prefontaine Classic last May. I don't remember asking him where he was racing next but I did get to meet his new fiance. I think he made it to last year's Run Around dinner as well so he's been training in the Santa Fe area for at least a couple years now. A pretty cool guy.

Patrick Kemboi was preparing for a race in Indianapolis I believe. I don't know him that well but Ryan told a funny story about dueling with the guy in college. Ryan apparently has this photo from XC nationals of himself running in a pack of what turned out to be several future Olympians. They're positioning themselves for the final kilometer of the race. Patrick sees the photo and recognizes not just the runners but also where in the race the photo was taken, noting that he was not in frame because he was up ahead running faster than all those chumps. Great story.

In any case, Santa Fe is stepping up as a training area for some serious top level athletes. You've got to think other athletes and coaches are beginning to notice, pretty sure Salazar and Goucher have. Ryan tells me that Caroline is fixated on winning New York, which would be huge. Ibrahim Hussein huge for New Mexico at least. Until then she's awaiting offers from Chicago and Berlin to see if that's where she'll be running in the Fall.

See Also: 
  - Caroline Rotich Races to Boston Lore ('15)
  - Rotich Running Daegu ('11)
  - Luminaries on the Rail Trail
  - Chasing Antelope on Foot - Outside Magazine (May '11)

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