When Kenya’s Philemon Limo went to school, he strived hard to attain good marks in all subjects, particularly the English language. He burnt the midnight oil to keep ahead of others.
The results have been worth the toil: he speaks fluent English and has a job with the Kenyan police force.
On Sunday, Limo again gave a brilliant display of his capabilities, though this time on the roads of Bangalore, by taking home the winner’s prize of $21,000 (R9.4 lakh) in the TCS World 10k.
Before the race, not many put money on Limo. Not even the elite athlete manager Ian Ladbrooke.
But after the race, Ladbrooke changed his views. “Limo has certainly established himself as a good runner.” Limo, who hails from Marakwet district in the rift valley of Kenya, had concentrated only on academics till 2009. But after joining the police, he turned his attention to running to support his large family of eight brothers and two sisters.
“In Kenya, running always helps to make some extra money and live a better life,” said Limo, who made his debut in the domestic circuit in 2009.
A year later, he entered the global competition. This April, he set a course record of 59:30 in the Prague half marathon.
The Kenyan runner says the secret of his quick success is sheer hard work.
“A solid training programme in the last three years has not only improved my physical fitness, but added to savings,” he said.
The Bangalore race turned out to be the biggest payday of his career. “It’s a good amount, it will help me support my family economically,” Limo said.
The elite women race went the Ethiopian way. The race was keenly contested and winner was decided in the last 10-metre of the 10k event. The day’s honour went to Ethiopia’s Dire Tune. Ethiopians also claimed the next three positions, pushing arch-rivals Kenya to fifth place. The top Indian male and female runners took home winning prize of R2 lakh each. Top ten in each category were awarded cash prize in both Indian and elite groups.
(the writer’s trip has been sponsored by procam)