Kenya's Nicholas Bor was all set to defend his 2015 title and set a new course record at the 2016 Ottawa 10K, when an injury forced him to forego the race. But with just over two weeks to go before the 2017 Ottawa 10K on 27 May, Bor believes he is in the right form to do what he was hoping to do last year at this IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
"My body is responding well to training now, just like it was in 2015," said Bor. "Ottawa is a big race, being an IAAF gold label, and doing well there builds a good profile for my running career. It did that in 2015 when I won the race. My aim this time will still be what I wanted to do last year: to run a personal best time and if the weather conditions will be good, then I will also try to go for the course record."
Bor's 10K personal best time is 27:38, 14 seconds from the Ottawa 10K course record of 27:24 set by Deriba Merga in 2009.
It was a last minute decision to run the Hamburg marathon just two months before the Ottawa 10K last year that ended up sidelining Bor. Just 10 kilometres into the race, Bor started to feel discomfort in his feet. He pushed on with the leading pack, hoping the pain would subside, but it kept worsening until he had to pull out at around 25 kilometres.
"It was a very hard moment in my life having to miss races after all the hard training that I had done early in the year, but I am glad my management and family understood and encouraged me not to lose hope," he said.
"After having to drop out of the Hamburg Marathon, I still had some hope of recovering fast from my injury and making it to the Ottawa 10K race. I was beginning to feel better and other friends were even advising me that I should just go and see what happens in the race, but I did not want to take the risk and end up not finishing the race."
Bor thinks his injury might have resulted from trying to move up to the marathon distance too quickly since he had to change his training program to include more long runs and generally increased his weekly mileage. It was a learning experience for him.
"I won't be in any hurry again to run the marathon. Perhaps, I should first get used to pacing up to 30-35 kilometres first. That is how many other runners are transitioning successfully to the marathon distance," Bor said.
For now, Bor's main focus for this year is the Ottawa 10K and it will be exciting to watch him try and make up for what he missed last year.