Bernard Koech plans to turn the Paris Marathon this Sunday into a stepping stone to Kenya's team for the Rio Olympics, A view from Kenya, by Justin Lagat

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Justin Lagat is our Kenyan correspondent and great friend. He provides, "A View from Kenya" each and every week. His insights into his beloved country and his fellow countrymen and countrywomen are some of our most popular columns around the world! We are honored to work with Justin.

This is his piece on the Paris Marathon and Bernard Koech's return to form. Will Mr. Koech be ready to shine at the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon this coming Sunday?

As Justin Lagat noted, "only time will tell."

Koech_Bernard1-RAK14.jpgBernard Koech, photo by PhotoRun.net

Bernard Koech plans to turn the Paris Marathon this Sunday into a stepping stone to Kenya's team to Rio Olympics
Track interval training usually starts before dawn at the Global sports Management's group in Eldoret. Their van would drop the athletes off a few kilometers to the track and leave them to jog in the twilight, as their coaches drive to the track ahead of them. Athletes who live elsewhere, and who are eager not to miss the workouts, arrive a bit early and start warming up around the track as they wait for the larger group to arrive.
Warming up on the track with the few athletes who had arrived by 5 AM, as we waited for the larger group, I bumped into Bernard Koech and we chatted as we jogged together around the track. Koech is planning to come back to the limelight after failing to win any major race recently despite his impressive personal best times in both marathon and half marathon.
"An injury affected my training for most of 2015 and when I was finally feeling ready to run again, I did not get enough time to prepare well for the Fukuoka marathon and that is why I faded to fourth position in the last stages of the race," said Koech. "This year, everything has gone very well with my training and I believe that I will be able to do well in Paris, and hopefully get to be named in Kenya's marathon team for Rio," added Koech, who once represented Kenya at the Moscow world championships in 2013.
With a personal best time of 2:04:53 for marathon and 58:41 -the fastest time ever ran for half marathon in the US-Koech is one of the pre-race favorites at this Sunday's Paris Marathon. But, the field of elite athletes in this race is impressive and it will not be an easy task for Koech to win.
Paris is one of the marathon races that many Kenyans hope to do well, and convince the selectors that they are the right athletes to represent the country at the Rio Olympics. Other major marathons that the Kenyan selectors will be watching with interest include London and Boston marathons.
Other Kenyans in the Paris Marathon with perhaps the same dream as Koech include Mark Korir, Laban Korir, Gilbert Yegon, Stephen Chemlany, Micah Kogo, Luka Kanda, Simon Cheprot, Cyprian Kotut, Alfers Lagat, Wilfred Murgor, Cosmas Birech, Felix Kiprotich, Elijah Kemboi, Jackson Limo, Solomon Yego and Thomas Kiplagat.
Given the large number of Kenyans in this race, it definitely will be one perfect race to pick out one strong athlete to be named in the Rio team. With the good training he has done, only time will tell if Bernard Koech will be able to triumph here amongst the deep field of elite athletes here.
After about twenty minutes of jogging, the larger group comprising of Eliud Kipchoge, Geoffrey Kamworor and Brimin Kipruto, among many other big stars finally arrived in their usual style. No time is wasted trembling and worrying about the grueling workouts ahead. The group hardly slows down even as they approach the track, but continue running like a thirsty herd of cattle approaching a river, right into the middle of the track where they quickly change into lighter running gears and straight away do a few 100m sprints around the track before beginning their workouts.

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