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MARATHON NOTEBOOK

The Kenyan side of the story

Videographer Matt Taylor, a Yale graduate and resident of Newton, is wrapping up his second season of a documentary on the elite athletes of Kenya, who have won 14 of the last 16 races in the men's division of the Boston Marathon.

He spent his first season in Boulder, Colo., where the runners were training for the fall marathon season, but this time he spent nearly a month in Kenya chronicling their lives heading into the spring season. His work is featured on the Internet at chasingkimbia.com.

"Most people go to the races and they clap, but they're waiting for the first American to come by," said Taylor. "The reason was because nobody knows about the [Kenyan] athletes. They don't know their backgrounds, their stories. So we wanted to try to bring out the personalities of the athletes just as a small step to start to get people interested and maybe ask more questions."

Taylor spent most of his 26 days there the village of Iten, which is at 8,000 feet and where a majority of the top distance runners train.

"When I went to Kenya, you just meet so many people, and the thing that really stood out to me was the overall happiness and generosity of the people," said Taylor. "Their lives revolve around social interaction, they don't have automated anything. They walk everywhere and every transaction is done person to person.

"They're very generous. There is tons of poverty, but they're so willing to bring you into their culture. They don't have much, but they love what they do have. It's so different from being here. For them, they look at it as an opportunity to get out of poverty, kind of like basketball in the inner city here."

A veteran's view
Boston icon Bill Rodgers, a four-time Marathon winner, said he is optimistic about the state of American marathoning even though many top US runners opted out of Boston this year. "It's pretty good," said Rodgers, who last won Boston in 1980. "We have a lot of young talent. Consistency is everything, I think. We have a lot of talent. Meb [ Keflezighi, who finished third last year] has been our top guy. He's a great champion and he ran great here last year. Peter Gilmore [seventh last year] is back this year and he's getting faster and faster. A lot about the Boston Marathon is learning the course. The challenge we have is people only look to the winner. In baseball, football, and basketball, you look to other athletes and how great they are. In the marathon, you have to do the same thing and look at who is always in the hunt. We have a lot of athletes like that. We're always steady."

Queens of diamond
Red Sox wives Shonda Schilling and Dawn Timlin will run to raise money for charity, Schilling for the SHADE Foundation and Timlin for the Angel Fund . . . Japanese marathon legend Toshihiko Seko, who'll throw out the first pitch before this afternoon's Red Sox-Angels game at Fenway, says he has his own version of the gyroball. "It is slow, so it will wobble," joked the two-time Boston champion, who won here in 1981 and 1987. Seko, who lives in Tokyo, is a longtime admirer of Sox hurler Daisuke Matsuzaka. "He is meeting the standard that he set for himself," said Seko, who himself was a pitcher in junior high school. "He has been amazing since he was in high school. He was a monster there, too."

John Powers of the Globe staff contributed to this report

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