Moses Kipsiro: An In-Depth Look

  • The Running Team
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PUMA athlete Moses Kipsiro of Uganda was the runner-up at last year's World XC Championships, and placed fourth place in the 5,000m at the 2009 World Championships and 2008 Olympics. LetsRun.com has a great article on Moses by PJ Browne. Some excerpts and the link follow.
The background from which 23-year old Moses Kipsiro came to prominence is both disjointed and bewildering, but strikingly similar to Akii-Bua?s. (see our previous post from today about Akii-Bua.) The tour guides depict a country of lush scenery, breathtaking mountains and lakes, and an abundance of wildlife and parks. Not only does the River Nile have its source in Uganda, but the climate is reputed to be the best in the world. The poverty, hunger, crime and violence are not mentioned in the tour guides. Few people in Uganda can afford a decent meal. Fewer have access to basic medical, school and other social services. Kipsiro grew up in these conditions.

?I always wanted to be an athlete,? Moses Kipsiro says quietly.?I wasn?t even born when Akii-Bua won his gold medal, but my parents and family would talk about it and we learned about his greatness at school. I don?t think anyone will ever emulate his achievement. He is an inspiration to so many in this country.?

His training in Uganda is determined necessarily by the terrain, the environment and the time of year.In keeping with the African approach, Kipsiro doesn?t count mileage. Rather than running specific distances, he normally runs for time. Kipsiro will run for an hour or ninety minutes each day. He is flexible on this and he can go twice a day and often has multiple 1 hour runs, Included in this program are tempo runs of 40-50 mins at a decent pace and hill sessions. Normally it adds up to 80-100 miles per week but some times it is considerably less. He usually rests on Sundays.

Kipsiro trains alone, at altitude, without the presence of his coach and agent Ricky Simms, who is better known for being Usain Bolt's agent as well. But the coach is keenly aware of what Kipsiro is doing each day and is satisfied that he will not over train.(Specifics of his training can be found on a sidebar of the LetsRun article.)

Simms says,?Moses is a very big talent. His outstanding strength is his ability in the last lap. He?s a very fast finisher. He is very comfortable running 59/60 secs per lap. I?m not sure how he would handle 52-53 second laps. How fast he can cover a final lap depends on how fast the race is up until then. Off a slow pace the best guys close in 51/52. He certainly has a good kick and is confident in it but we are trying to practice different tactics.

?He is a good racer; he likes to sit a little off the pace and keep an eye on what is going on. We have been working on him being able to establish himself on races and we started to see signs of this in 2009. In Monaco, Kipsiro ran a Ugandan national record of 7:30.95 to win. He also won in Gateshead, defeating Bernard Lagat in the process.

Kipsiro?s plans for 2010 will include the World Cross country and the African and Commonwealth Games in summer. As he is coming off an injury, it may take him a few months to get back into top shape. In addition he would like to go sub 7:30 and 12:50 for 3k and 5k. ?My favourite distance is the 5000m and I hope to get my time down to 12:45,? says Kipsiro who in addition to his bronze in 2007 was 4th at the 2008 Games and 2009 world champs in the 5k.

Unlike Akii-Bua, Kipsiro has a comprehensive supporting team. ?You cannot underestimate the contribution made by PUMA both to the Uganda Federation and to Moses. They treat him very well,? Simms acknowledges.

Simms is cautiously optimistic about this talented athlete. ?It?s silly to be making bold predictions. What I can say is that he may or may not dominate middle distance running but he will certainly be a contender. Like all the African athletes, he is a great ambassador for sport, and his success is a huge positive for Uganda. His stock continues to rise so hopefully he will have a long career.?

The final quote is from Moses.?His place in Uganda athletics is untouchable. He was one of a kind and would have achieved so much more in athletics but circumstances dictated otherwise. You don?t displace a giant like Akii-Bua. The man is a legend and rightly so. To be mentioned in the same sentence is an honor. I am not competing against him; he is my inspiration.?

You can read the rest of the story here.
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