THE world’s most famous middle distance runner is waking up in North Clare this morning, and preparing for a leisurely jog around Ennistymon. World and Olympic 800 meter champion, David Rudisha, will today pay a visit to all three secondary schools in Ennistymon – starting in the vocational school, before taking on the big climb to the Ennistymon CBS and finally on to Scoil Mhuire. Rodesia and his wife Lizzy are the guests of Ennistymon couple Pat and Neilus O’Doherty, who have hosted a number of Olympic champions in Ennistymon over the years. On August of 2010, Rudisha broke Wilson Kipketer’s 800 metre World Record and was also the first man to run under one minute and 41 second for the event. Indeed, so complete is the 23 year old’s domination of the event that h- has now ran the three quickest 800 metres ever recorded. Rudisha is famously trained by Irish Christian brother Colm O’Connell. Brother O’Connell first arrived in the Rift valley from Cork in 1976 on a two-year placement to teach at a Catholic boarding school and over the last 30 he has helped establish kenya as the powerhouse of middle distance running. O’Connell first spotted 14-year-old David Rudisha in 2004, running the 200 metre sprint at a provincial schools race. “He only came fifth, but I noticed he was a tall, elegant runner, and that he was focused, so I made a mental note to watch out for his progress,” he said. “He had never run an 800m before so I wasn’t expecting anything. Then the surprise came.” The young Rudisha ended up beating the then Kenyan national champion and record a time just eight second off a world record – in his first ever 800 metre race.

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