There will be 12,000 runners from 19 countries over several distances but just one goal: Reach the finish line.
Leading that rush to the tape in the 30th annual Royal Victoria Marathon tomorrow will be eight competitors from Kenya, considered the greatest running nation on earth.
But challenging them will be some decent hometown talent two-time triathlon Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield in the 8K and two-time Olympic marathon fourth-place finisher Jon Brown in the half marathon.
I very definitely have heard of Jon Brown, said Nixon Kiprotich, who will challenge three-time winner Brown for the Royal Victoria half-marathon honours.
He is greatly respected in running and we have chatted on the Internet and he has given me good hints, said the 24-year-old Kiprotich.
But yes, I think I can beat him. I am well prepared.
Kenyan runners travel the world following marathons and road races, often crashing in the cramped apartments of local running enthusiasts, as they are in Victoria. The best of them have gone on to become legendary in track, road and cross country.
It is a way of life in our country and the Kenyan track, road and cross-country running teams are the greatest in the world, said Willy Langat, the 23-year-old who will challenge Whitfield in the 8K.
It is so hard to make the Kenyan team, but my goal is to make it for the 1,500 metres of the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Eric Chepkwony, 22, will challenge three-time defending champion Steve Osaduik of Nanaimo for the marquee mens marathon title tomorrow and brings a formidable arsenal of speed and tactics. His goal is to make the Kenyan team for the world cross-country championships, which is easier said than done.
Ten to 60 Kenyans make the qualifying standards for every IAAF world championships or Olympic running race but only three can be picked, noted Chepkwony.
Both Chepkwony and Osaduik, however, will have their fill of trying to contain Kenyan Lamech Mokono Mosoti, who comes for the Royal Victoria after winning the Montreal Marathon last year and the famous Grandmas Marathon in Minnesota in 2:13:39.
Theres also Lethbridge-based Willy Kimosop of Kenya, returning to B.C. to contest the Royal Victoria marathon distance after sweeping to victories last spring in both the Victoria Times Colonist 10K and massive Vancouver Sun Run.
These are the young Kenyan up and comers who are building their resumes to get into the bigger marathons and races in Europe, said Steve Murenbeeld, the former UVic Vikes varsity runner and director of elite racing for the Times Colonist 10K, who is hosting three of the Kenyan runners in his one-bedroom apartment.
Its about progressive steps and you could be hearing from these guys in future big events.
Which makes the tight quarters in the apartment worth enduring.
Its a bit crowded, but its been fun. Its all a part of racing, said Murenbeeld.
From the grassroots to the Olympics, Victoria has earned a reputation for being one of Canadas great cities for running. So its probably no surprise the Kenyans are feeling comfortably at home on these streets.
The people in Victoria have been so welcoming to us and we love it, said Langat.
The Royal Victoria womens marathon will feature defending champion Cheryl Murphy of Victoria, Canadian road race career multiple champion Lucy Smith of Victoria, Cristina Gomez of Spain, Suzanne Evans of New Westminster and Rebecca Gallaher of Silverdale, Wash., ranked in the top five by Bob Reid, the Royal Victorias crack director of elite racing.
In Victoria for a three-month work stint at the Pacific Forestry Research Centre, it is a matter being at the right place at the right time for Spaniard Gomez, who has a second-place finish in the Madrid Marathon and a third place from the Bonn Marathon in Germany.
Im racing to beat my personal best of 2:49 and not worried about what these other wonderful competitors do, said Gomez.
Meanwhile, in an annual marathon weekend tradition, Ken Bonner is the latest to get his name placed in the Walk of Fame outside Frontrunners. One of only three people to contest all 30 Royal Victoria marathon races, among his career 170 marathons and many other ultra-distance running and cycling exploits, Bonner joins a starry list of Island names in the Walk of Fame that includes Olympians such as Brown, Whitfield, Gary Reed, Zach Whitmarsh, Bruce Deacon, Diane Cummins and Ironman Hawaii legends Lori Bowden and Peter Reid.
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