Nicholas Leong


To quote the Esquire article:

" Nicholas Leong, a commercial photographer from Singapore, was holed up at home in 2006 with a particularly spiteful splinter in his foot. One day he started to wonder if distance runners might make good cyclists and he thought he would go to Kenya to find the answer - a mid-life crisis might have been involved too, he concedes.

He booked a plane ticket to Nairobi for the evening after the 2005 Singapore Marathon on a hunch that the runners would be on the flight. At the airport, he walked up to group of skinny black Africans; out of the first 15 runners to cross the line that morning, 13 had been Kenyan.

He asked, “Who’s the guy who won the marathon?” Amos Matui, the smallest of the bunch, presented himself. Leong said, “OK, I’m following you home!”

Leong had never been to Kenya before. Everything he knew about cycling had been gleaned from watching videos of the Tour de France. “I’m like the guy who sits there on Saturday and watches Manchester United and has watched Manchester United for 30 years, so he thinks he knows everything about the game,” he says.

Leong wound up in Iten in the highlands of the Great Rift Valley. There are officially only 4,000 residents of Iten, but many of them have gold medals and world records to their name."

Eight years on, and here we are. We might as well go all the way.