Stephen Kihara, an ordinary runner of Kenya, has fond memories of China after his victory in the 100km marathon event in 2013 which netted him 17,000 US dollars in prize money.
The 55-year-old Kihara, hailing from Nyahururu County in central Kenya, said on Saturday that he took part in the event after friends brought to his attention about the rarely-run race and he decided to give it a try.
“I was not one of the elite athletes in Kenya; only a middle-tier runner who did not even represent Kenya internationally,” Kihara told Xinhua during the Nairobi County District Cross Country Championships.
Kihara opened a string of businesses at his home town from the proceeds of the race, which by Kenyan standards is a successful entrepreneur.
Kihara represented Kenya at last year’s World Masters Athletics Championships which was held in Perth, Australia where he won the silver medal in half marathon within one hour 58 minutes and 59 seconds.
As a young athlete during his heyday in the 1990s, Kihara took part in road races ranging from 10km to the full marathon (42.195km). He has competed races in South Korea, Italy and Thailand.
During the Chinese 100km marathon race, Kihara collected 92 out of the total 100 points that the organizers set for the event.
He told that the race is run for four days, during which runners cover 25km per day and resume the following day in the order how they finished.
“On the first day, I finished in second place, after which I won the three subsequent days to emerge top,” he said.
Kihara now trains six days a week with youthful athletes for speed work and rests only on Sundays. He plans to participate in the 2018 World Masters Athletics Championships, to be held in Malaga, Spain. Enditem