Before Edward Kemboi Ran 1:44 for 800m
Edward Kemboi was a member of High Performance West from March 2016 until August of this year (2017). I didn't coach him. Club co-founder, Chad Colwell, now an assistant at the University of Utah, did.
Ed is one of HPW's most distinguished alumni. In college, he was 2 time NCAA champion in the 800m (indoor & outdoor in 2015) while a Cyclone at the University of Iowa State. He is a fierce lion on the track, but a kind and gentle soul off of it.
Right before he departed from the HPW ranks, Ed set the club record of 1:44.71 at the TrackTown Summer Series Finale in New York City. I was at a pub with my wife in Portland watching the event live on TV. I was cheered wildly during the final half of his race, jumped out of my seat and spilt my beer as he zipped down the homestretch. He competed boldly that day and was rewarded with his first sub-1:45. For Ed it was a long time coming, as everyone in HPW at the time knew. We were all ecstatic to see him finally breakthrough.
One of Ed's final workouts was a fast 250m with a handful of 100m sprints. He ran the 250m in 28-high (that's 23-point 200m speed) looking fluid and crisp. I was impressed.
After his session, I went over to wish Ed good luck. I asked him what his target was. He answered, "Beat Rudisha."
I returned a puzzled look (Ed is a Kenyan citizen) and replied, "Ahh...Rudisha isn't in your race in New York."
"No he isn't, but I know he'll be watching. And I want to strike fear into his heart," he said, "because I am coming for his Kenyan record one day."
Me, being somewhat thick, shot back confused, "You mean the world record, Ed?"
"If that is what it takes to become the new Kenyan record holder," he cooly responded, shrugging his shoulders. Ed was serious. And rightfully so.
Lesson learned: Never underestimate a lion — ever.
Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm