Photo: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series.
The champ is back.
Canada Running Series today announced that Philemon Rono, the two-time defending Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon men’s winner, will go for a three-peat on Oct. 21. In 2017, Rono ran the fastest marathon ever recorded in Canada, 2:06:52.
Not familiar with the diminutive, but incredibly-fast, Kenyan? Get to know him ahead of seeing him in person on Oct. 21.
Rono has an interesting nickname, ‘Baby Police,’ because of his short stature, slight baby face and the fact that he runs for the Kenyan police force at domestic championships.
He ditches the (GPS) watch
Unlike many recreational runners, Rono chooses not to wear a GPS watch in training, or in races. So, unfortunately, you won’t be seeing the 27-year-old upload his ‘morning runs,’ or titling his runs with emojis, to Strava any time soon.
He runs close to a marathon every week for his long run
Distance runners train long, and hard. Each week, Rono says his group’s long run reaches upwards of 40K, which is just 2.2K short of a marathon. He trains with a group called the NN Running Team, whose namesake comes from Netherlands-based NN Group. They financially support the team and allow the athletes to train full-time. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of the team, they’re just over a year old, but growing fast and winning marathons across the globe.
His favourite sport (other than running) is football.
Rono’s favourite team is Chelsea in the English Premier League. He particularly likes Eden Hazard, a Belgian midfielder whom Rono followed during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
His favourite runner is Eliud Kipchoge.
The most famous runner on the NN Running Team is Eliud Kipchoge, the 2016 Olympic champion and a 2:00:25 marathoner. The well-spoken athlete (his go-to line is that ‘no human is limited’) is a mentor for the entire group, and Rono trains with Kipchoge for about 50 per cent of his training, he says. Their Kenya-based group trains out of Kaptagat, at high-altitude.
He had a massive payday at the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
In breaking the Canadian all-comers marathon record (as well as setting a course record and winning the race), Rono took home a whooping $75,000. The money was put towards growing his farm and to provide for his family, including his wife and one child. He visits them as often as possible but is predominantly situated at the NN Running Team’s Kenya-based facilities, also known as the Global Sports Communication camp.
Morning runs are at 6 a.m. No time for sleeping in as runners in the low-key camp rise well before departure to drink their morning tea.
Social media or no social media?
With the growing influence of social media – Kipchoge, his teammate, for example, has 144,000 followers on Instagram – Rono is less active on social media, and hasn’t posted to his Instagram account as of writing.
Join Rono on the start line of the 2018 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. For more information and to register, visit STWM.ca.