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Q&A with Timothy Cherigat

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April 18, 2008

Timothy Cherigat -- 2004 Boston Marathon champion and Team New Balance athlete (who is competing again this year) -- talks about training for Boston amidst the political unrest in Kenya this past year.

Q: Where were you when the violence started in late December?

"I was already at the training camp in Iten. This was good because travel was very, very dangerous."

Q: Were some of your teammates unable to make it to the training camp?

"Yes, there were guys who could not make it to Iten because the roads were closed. They could not travel safely. Stephen Kiogora (3rd at the 2007 Boston Marathon) could not come to Iten to train with us because he is from another tribe. He is not Kalenjin and it would have been dangerous for him to travel to Iten."

Q: Was your training affected?

"Oh yes, the training was affected. At times we could not train at all because we didn't know what would happen next. We had to pay attention to what the politicians were saying to see what might happen next. We were lucky because nothing really bad happened to us, but you did not know what might happen from day to day, and this is what really affected the training. At first, for the first few days, we could not train at all. It was just too dangerous. Some days we could train only once, very early in the morning. This uncertainty went on for most of January."

Q: Was it very different not having manager Tom Ratcliffe and coach Dieter Hogen there to help w/your training?

"Every year before, they come and help with our training. They support us morally and they solve any problems we have. That was not the case this time. It was much harder. We heard from coach Dieter daily. Most of the time he was calling. When he could not call, he would text us."

Q: Were any other aspects of your training compromised/affected? Diet?

"Most of the stores in Iten were closed during the worst time, for most of January. We ate what we could find. Some days it was safe to travel, but then when demonstrations were called for, roadblocks would be set up. Then it was not safe to travel to search for food."

Q: Given all that, how do you feel about your fitness for Boston:

"The training has been pretty good since all the violence stopped. There were really those three weeks in January when the training was really affected. For the marathon, it's all about having a strong mind and believing in yourself."

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