Francis Kimeli Kemei, our guest from Kenia, won today's Boxing Day Run in Hong Kong, Juergen Wittstock placed 12th over-all and second in the Master's division.
Francis, who is 53 years old and the gardener of Moi University in Eldoret, had arrived in HK on Friday, and, after initial worries, managed to meet up with Bernd and myself at HK airport.
We then checked in at our apartment on Lamma island and took it easy for two days, but I made the mistake to eat some MSG-contaminated food the night before the race, leading to head-ache and tiredness even on race-day-morning.
Well, I gradually improved and made up my mind to be beaten only by younger runners and Kenians, and I succeeded!
Francis, at 53, has been running for only six years, and has recently run a 1:17 half marathon. This time he proved that he can go much faster! He fell over on a rocky section of the trail, but still managed to beat the second-place runner by 12 seconds, and the second veteran, myself, by two minutes! Based on this achievement, I predict half-marathon-times of under 1:15, which means that we really should save up for him to run the World Masters Championships when he is 55!
Bernd Plagge also did well, placing in the top-30 out of 303 runners in 18:26.
On the picture: Francis, Gillian Chastka (former British National, full-marathon PR 2:32) chinese presenter, Juergen Wittstock.
Francis with bandaged legs, and yes, he really said:" I knew I had to get up and win, like a warrior protecting his family!" This seems to be a common phrase in Africa!