Following the conclusion of the Athletics Kenya (AK) track and field meetings last weekend in Thika, I must say I am impressed with the world 1,500m champion Elijah Manang'oi.
Truth be told, he is proving to be a leader per excellence and a real role model for the upcoming generation. While most of the elite athletes have sort of abandoned the weekend meetings, Manang'oi doesn't really mind mingling with upcoming runners and inspiring them.
While his class of athletes opted to stay away from last weekend's meet in Thika, Manang'oi and Commonwealth Silver medallist, Margaret Nyairera didn't mind being the main focus of the meet.
As expected, they both lit up the venue with commanding victories in their respective events. However, for Manang'oi, it was not just about winning.
"Thika meet was crucial for my endurance and speed ahead of the Bowerman Mile race this week," said Manang'oi.
He was further quoted saying he will be chasing his personal best during Saturday's Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, USA.
I am surprised that nowadays track weekend meetings have been left for rookies. How I miss the days when athletes used to jostle for places in the weekend meetings and later tease each other after races. It has nothing to do with being busy or idle.
Athletics happens to be a life-time career and it is these weekend meetings that keep you going. Most athletes who have used them as build up like Manang'oi have ended up posting good results abroad while those who have taken them for granted have continued to struggle with pace.
As they say, it is more difficult to run with a rookie than a professional because you do not always know what to expect.
As we get into the thick of the Diamond League races with the Prefontaine meeting scheduled for this weekend, I am sure only the fittest will survive.
And what a better way to keep yourself in shape than run in the local meetings.
For the athletes who are beginning to make a name, I would like to advise them that weekend meetings are the way to go as they happen to be our local version of the Diamond League.
The likes of Paul Tergat and Tegla Loroupe's of this world will attest to the fact that weekend meetings and other local races made them what they are today. It is a fact that Kenya has the best talent and the kind of competition one needs can only be found here.