Concordia Thunder Runner Leonard Chesoo

Concordia Thunder Runner Leonard Chesoo

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

There is a video on You Tube that shows a young man running around a dirt track

A total of 4:54 in length, it was posted June 14, 2017, .

The camera work is shaky and fails to zoom in when the runner is in the distance.

On a close-up of the runner, you can easily see that his technique is superb.

Wearing a green tank top and red shorts, he has the build of a distance runner.

The video though has only been viewed 30 times.

Well, since his arrival in Canada from his home country of Kenya, this 22-year old runner is turning heads in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) cross country running circles.

Say hello to Leonard Chesoo a first-year student/athlete with the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder.

"He (Chesoo) reached out to me and asked me if I had a spot at the university and I said sure," said longtime Thunder coach Matthew Norminton. "I told him if he could get lined up with a student visa that we would love to have him."

Norminton said Chesoo's running resume – personal bests of 8:51 in the 3,000 metre and 14:47 in the 5,000 m – were also a major influence.

For comparison, the three fastest times in ACAC indoor track since 2013 for men in the 3,000 m are 8:41.62 and 8:58.15.

Norminton added that this is the first international student/athlete from Kenya suiting up for the Thunder cross country team.

The 5-foot-8 speedster from Kipsoen High School located in Iten, Kenya, has showcased his skills in 2018-2019 ACAC Running Run Grand Prix 8 kilometre events: Grand Prix #1, September 8, 2018, 3rd overall in open which would have been second for ACAC but he was not registered yet; Grand Prix #2, September 15, 2018, 3rd overall ACAC, 26:29; Grand Prix #3 North, September 22, 2018, 1st overall ACAC, 25:13 and Grand Prix #4, September 29, 2018, 1st overall ACAC, 26:36.

"For the team to have someone up at the front again is great for the program," admits Norminton. "We have been lacking a top three runner for a while, so it is nice to have that feeling again."

Chesoo is enrolled in Bachelor of Science.

Prior to arriving in Canada, Chesoo said he had been "training in camps."

Norminton expanded on what Chesoo's training consisted of, "In Kenya they (runners) are living pretty Spartan, so it is not a huge expense. He was in camp training...trying to get faster."

Getting faster is also in the game plan for the Norminton – Chesso relationship: "We loosely talked about it. In the 10K, I would like to see him break 30 minutes and the summer after that 29 minutes."

Asked what he misses most about Kenya, Chesoo, who started running at age 14, replied: "My family and friends. I also miss my food...we have different food. We had no McDonalds or anything like that.

"Kenya can be very warm. I have never been in a cold place before but here in Canada it is cold. I have never seen snow before. I am waiting to see snow."

Norminton said that Chesoo has "responded well so far," in adapting to the climate and new culture.