On Saturday, David Rudisha, the world record holder in the 800 meters, the World champion from 2011, will venture to North America for the first time.
David Rudisha turned a few heads in 2009, with some fast times. His departure at the World Champs in the semis, Berlin may have caught some off guard, however, it just hardened David Rudisha's resolve. In September 10, 2009, at Rieti, Italy, David Rudisha ran 1:42.01, obliterating the 25 year old Kenyan record of 1;42.28, held by Sammy Kosgei. David Rudisha was the fastest Kenyan 800 meter runner ever. Oh, and Rudisha hit número four on the all time list!
In June 2010, Mr. Rudisha ran 1:42.04, breaking the 31 year old record of Sir Sebastian Coe, at the ExxonMobil Bislett Oslo games. He also beat Abubaker Kaki, giving him the ignominious distinction of having run the fastest loosing time of all times.
Last summer, at the 2011 Aviva London press day, David Rudisha told he assembled media that Sebastian Coe has given him high praise. " He told me that if I stayed true to my training an racing, I would get the work record. " noted Rudisha, who gently smiled as he retold the story.
David Rudisha is a humble, gentle man. He is also driven to be the best 800 meter runner in the world. He knows what Coe, Ovett, Juantorena, Cruz did--he knows how they trained, he knows how they raced. "David Rudisha, like all great track athletes, is a student of the sport," noted Aviva London meet director Ian Stewart. From Stewart, a European, Commonwealth gold medalist at 5,000 meters, and an Olympic bronze medalist, that is high praise for Mr. Rudisha.
On July 10, 2010, at the KBC Knights of Athletics meeting, held in Heusden, Belgium, David Rudisha found that extra gear, and ran 1:41.51, and eyes turned back in the heads of many a track fan.
The 800 meters is that perfect middle distance runner's place in hell. Running the first quarter fast, say 48.5, the runner is obviously running hard. For David Rudisha, is it the gene pool of his father, an Olympic silver medalist at the 4 x 400 meters? Or, perhaps it is that his mother was a 400 meter hurdler, that most sadistic of the hurdle events?
Whatever the reason, David Rudisha can run that third 200 meters like few others, and come charging home, lifting and pumping his arms and legs, running into a place few others have ventured.
On August 22, 2010, in the famous Berlin Olympic stadium, David Rudisha made Seb Coe's observation a reality, running 1:41.09, a new world record. Seven days later, on August 29, 2010, in the rarefied air of Rieti, Italy, a track renowned for great performances, David Rudisha ran 1:41.01, finding the energy to take .08 off the world record.
In 2011, David Rudisha fulfilled his dream, and won the World championships in Daegu, at 800 meters, leading from start to finish. For David Rudisha, the time of 1:43.91, was modest. However, Mr. Rudisha had his World championship medal.
On June 9, 2012, David Rudisha will run two laps very fast around the track in Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island. In the recent press conference, David Rudisha noted that he would like to run 1:42!
Would you bet against him?