Filling running shoes of Kenya’s greats.

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Filling running shoes of Kenya’s greats.

With Kenya’s most established marathon runners out of World Championships, Peter Some hopes to bring glory back home.

When Kenyan Peter Some, who friends say runs like Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele, races in next month’s Moscow world championships, he will be thinking of his late father. “I’m motivated by my father’s memory,” Some said in Iten, a small village perched on an escarpment in Kenya’s Rift Valley, a region that has become a global hub for middle and long distance runners. We still have to fight and train and bring glory to our country like our former champions

Peter Some, Kenyan marathon runner

“My father was also an athlete. I’m following in his footsteps,” said Some, who won the 2013 Paris Marathon.

Some Muge, who died in 1997, won a bronze medal at the 1983 IAAF world cross country championships and later bagged a bronze over 10,000 meters at the All-Africa Games. His son also started his career competing in cross country events, representing Kenya as a junior in the 2008 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, before making a jump to marathon.

With most of Kenya’s established marathon runners out of Moscow, including double world champion Abel Kirui and Olympic bronze medallist Wilson Kipsang, 23-year-old Some is part of an inexperienced team bidding to replicate the 2011 Daegu world championships success, where Kenya’s men won gold and silver. But Some said there is no less pressure on the athletes despite lower expectations among the general public.

“We still have to fight and train and bring glory to our country like our former champions,” said the softly-spoken Some, while seated in the quadrangle of Kipsang’s Keellu Resort hotel in Iten, which acts as the base for Kenya’s marathon team.

Kipsang advice

Some said it was a huge challenge for Kenya that “big name athletes” will not compete in Russia but added that the team remains optimistic it can do well.

“At one point (Kirui and Kipsang) started like us, they were running like us, and when you get more experience you start winning,” said Some, who has two brothers that are also professional runners. Kipsang decided to skip the world championships in Moscow to focus on other races but Some said the 2012 London Marathon winner has been giving advice to Kenya’s young marathon team during their stay in his hotel. “He told us ‘follow our steps, run fast times, relax, and everything will be OK’,” said Some, who has been called ‘Bekele’ since high school, when classmates started noticing his running style was similar to that of the Ethiopian running great. Some said next year he is unlikely to defend his Paris Marathon title, won in April with a personal best of 2:05:38, if he takes gold in Russia.

“If I win the race in Moscow I want to go and compete in the London Marathon,” he said.

“Winning London is my big dream.”