BENGALURU: When it comes to long-distance running, there is hardly anyone in the world who can compete against runners from Kenya and Ethiopia. But there are others who are trying to give the Africans a run for their money.
Zane Robertson and his twin brother Jake, from New Zealand, left home and settled down in Kenya at the age of 17. And this is just to become good distance runners. “The dream started in high school. We were misfits and didn’t gel with the other kids but had a passion for running,” said Zane, who will compete in Sunday’s TCS World 10K Run here. “We joined a run club and within a year, we became national champions. In 2006, we met a lot of Kenyans. We asked if we could come down to Kenya and train with them.”
Any parent would be apprehensive of letting their kids relocate to a place where the culture is totally different. “They thought we were crazy but they knew that we would go there and work. The world cross-country was in Mombasa next year. That was a good excuse,” said Zane. “We stayed on and kept improving. It was tough in the beginning. Slowly but surely, the results kept coming,” he stated. In the Rio Olympics, Zane finished 12th in the 10,000 metres. He is a 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in 5000m.
Though it was hard, the experience helped. “Hardship has added to my character. There were times when we ran out of funds. Luckily, we were supported big names like Patrick Sang and Eliud Kipchoge. We spent the first year living on a single mattress and survived on Ugandan food,” he explained.