Kenya’s Domenic Ondoro has his eye on the prize at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Kenya’s Dominic Ondoro, who finished 3rd at the sweltering 2016 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, believes his experience in Ottawa will serve him well this year.

“My aim this time round, of course, is to win the race,” Ondoro said at a restaurant in Eldoret town earlier this month. “I observed the course last year and I think it is a nice and a fast one, but the last stages of the race were so hard for me. I think the weather affected me, but despite all that I still managed to run 2:11.”

With a personal best time of 2:08:00, which he ran in a race with no pace setters to push him, Ondoro is clearly a contender to win the IAAF gold label event on May 28th. The fact that he started 2017 by winning another high profile marathon, the IAAF silver label Houston Marathon, boosts his confidence coming into the race. Not to mention that he is also still fresh from breaking a 30-year course record at the Twin Cities marathon late last year, and has personal best times of 28:13 and 1:1:45 for the 10km and half marathon distances respectively.

“Winning Houston marathon was one of my most favourite moments in road running,” said Ondoro, who has run and won 14 road races all over the world.

Many people attribute the success of Kenya’s long distance athletes to their running early in their lives, but this is not true of Ondoro, who started running in high school, after a teacher encouraged him to give it a try.

“The teacher started coaching me on how to train for distance running and I soon discovered that I had the talent. I started participating in cross country races and even got to represent my school, Maji Mazuri Secondary School in Kisii, in athletic competitions up to the national level in the country,” said Ondoro.

Ondoro has since become a long distance running pioneer in his home area. Before him, no one in his extended family and in the area had ever shown interest in the sport of running. Ondoro’s success is now slowly beginning to change this.

“Right now, I have some young relatives and neighbours in my village wishing to take up running too. In particular, I have a niece who is already training hard and wishing to follow in my footsteps, if not run better than me,” Ondoro said.

Born and raised in Nyamache, Kisii, Ondoro moved to the running hub of Eldoret after high school to train alongside other world runners, share ideas and get quality training together.

Although Ondoro specializes in the 42km distance, he runs 10km races in between to maintain and sharpen his speed. For now, his preparation plans are going well and he intends to run one or two 10km races ahead the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon.

“This time round, with good pace setters and good weather, I am optimistic about running a personal best time. I also see a potential of breaking the course record of 2:06:54. It will all depend on a perfect weather and good pace setting.”

The Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon will take place Sunday, May 28, 2017.