NEWS quickly spread by word of mouth early Saturday afternoon throughout Remy Field in Subic Bay: the Kenyans are coming.
They filed in, toting backpacks that are quickly disemboweled of running gear as they sat on the grass and put on running shoes in front of an eager crowd.
People gawked as they fitted for the marathon and did short runs to warm up. Look at those legs, several people said, talking animatedly about their runner’s physique: thin frame with long, lean legs.
People were still talking about the Kenyans even after they were bused out of Remy Field to the Smart Subic International Marathon (SIM) 2009 starting line 42 kilometers away in Floridablanca, Pampanga toll gate of the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTex). The starting gun was fired at 4:30 p.m.
A little over two hours later, large, loud speakers conveyed the news: the Kenyans are coming.
One by one, they sprinted to finish—Vincent Chepsiror coming in first at 2:27:54; Willy Rofich, 2:28:14; Daniel Koringo, 2:29:57; Alex Melly, 2:30:23; Richard Mutisya, 2:30:30; Hilary Kimurai, 2:31:51; Vincent Kipchirchir, 2:35:58; and David Kipsang, 2:37:50.
Chepsiror, 29, was so far ahead of any local runner he would still have won had he been asked to pay toll to pass the toll gates of the flat and scenic SCTex marathon route. He won $5,000 for his feat.
Hernanie Sore was the top Filipino finisher at ninth place with a time of 2:40:20. Alquin Bolivar, a native of Cagayan de Oro City, was 10th with his time of 2:40:42.