Saturday, May 19, 2007

Henry Rono Stuns Again

Henry Rono, the Kenyan superstar who stunned the track world back in 1978 by setting 4 world records in a span of 81 magical days, is making a comeback as a masters runner. Rono's record-setting streak (10000m in 27:22.5, 5000m in 13:08.4, 3000m SC in 8:05.4 and 3000m in 7:32.1) is "an achievement unparalleled in the history of distance running," according to He will run the Bay to Breakers 12K in San Francisco tomorrow, looking to best his Bloomsday time of 50:35 (a 6:47 pace) from a week ago.

He is currently ranked 7th in the M55 One Mile with a time of 5:45.8, which he ran on 5/12/07 at the Fountain of Youth Masters Mile in Camby, OR. He's a long way from the #1 ranking in his age group. Nolan Shaheed, who won the same race on May 12th in 4:42.7, holds that ranking.

Still, getting back to the top might not even be the point for Rono. The point may be running as far away from the bottom as he can. After that all-too-brief time at the top of the running world in the late 70s and early 80s, Rono drifted into alcoholism, ballooned to 220 lbs. and was even homeless for a while in 1994.

Some time after that, Rono made a decision to take back control of his life. He got treatment for his alcoholism, began a weight-loss program and started training again. He claims on his website that he is gunning for the M55 One Mile World Record at the 2007 World Master's Track & Field Championships in Italy, September 4 - 15, 2007. He is now a recovering alcoholic, he's lost 50 lbs. in the past 8 months, and he's thriving. Even if he never gets that record, Rono is stunning the world again with an amazing comeback of the human spirit.

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