Marshall makes Olympic bid in Kenya
Lamont Marshall is determined to leave no stone unturned in his quest for 2012 Olympic qualification.
The Bermudian middle distance runner has travelled to Nairobi, Kenya to broaden his athletic horizons under the watchful gaze of two-time World Indoor 800 metres champion Abubaker Kaki Khamis.
Marshall’s primary objective in Kenya is to work on his speed and condition himself to running at much higher altitudes in the hope of enchancing his chances of Olympic qualification.
“My preparations are definitely for this up and coming Olympic Games in London,” Marshall told
The Royal Gazette. “Last year I wasn’t really pleased with the way I raced internationally because I went from a half-mile race to a half-marathon (May 24 Derby) all within three months.
“This year I’ve chosen to focus on the track, strictly the 1,500 metres, and see what sort of time I can achieve. Track sessions are particularly challenging as they are on a dirt 400 metres track.”
Marshall said the conditions at the higher altitude in Kenya have taken him completely by surprise.
“The conditions are not hot at all, it’s very cool in terms of the altitude,” he added. “It’s really ideal because the humidity is often below 30 perecnt making it quite chilly in the mornings and evenings, which is when I train. Quite deceptive when you think about it because the actual temperature is often in the 80s.
“The training has been quite intense and for the most part I’ve adjusted to the high altitude.”
Since his arrival in Kenya last month, Marshall has received valuable advice from some of the country’s elite runners, including Sudanese runner Khamis who became the youngest World Indoor Champion by winning the 800 metres final at the age of 18 in 2008.
“I’ve met some really nice athletes, some of whom have personal bests lower than the Olympic standard, and some who are in my position which is being a ways off the standard but have a dream and desire to make it internationally,” Marshall said. “I’ve exchanged contacts with some athletes and they’ve directed me to some other quality training camps that they have attended in both Europe and the US.”
Marshall is currently following a rigid training programme drawn up by legendary Kenyan runner and past World Marathon Champion Douglas Wakiihuri.
“Douglas has set up training for me on the track in Nairobi as well as running with the Kiberia Kids,” the local runner said. “This is a running club for Kenyan children who don’t have the best living conditions but enjoy athletics.”
Wakiihuri, who was in Bermuda for the International Race Weekend, reckoned training in the conditions in his native country will rub off on Marshall in a positive way.
“We have a great training environment and being subjected from being a sea level athlete to a high altitude athlete will force his body to change and adapt to high altitude pressure of running fast with the thin air,” the Kenyan said.
“His body will have to adjust to that and definitely after some time he will see some changes in his running performances. This would make him a better athlete and that’s what we are hoping for.”
Marshall, 27, currently holds national records for the 10,000, 5,000 and 3,000 metres which he established within a 40-day span last year.
He also finished runner-up behind Chris Estwanik in last year’s Bermuda Day Half-Marathon and represented the Island at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Puerto Rico where he placed sixth in the 5,000 metres.
Marshall hopes to qualify for either the 5,000 or 1,500 metres at the Olympics.
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