Men carried by toothpicks


There they are walking on the sidewalk of Slovenska Cesta in Ljubljana. Two men with legs so skinny that you wonder how they can carry grown men. But the legs of Kenyans Jacob Yator and Stephen Kipkoech Kibiwott are capable of carrying them at speeds some people have trouble reaching by bike. Yator and Kipkoech Kibiwott are top runners.

At half past ten in the morning of the 27th of October Yator and Kipkoech Kibiwott started in the Ljubljana Marathon and now, at two thirty, they walk on the pavement behind the spectators, while on the road thousands of recreational runners battle a headwind in the last kilometers of the marathon. Yator carries a box with 6 cans of Red Bull beverage in his left hand. In his right hand he holds the sock of his left foot. Kipkoech Kibiwott holds a box of Red Bull with two hands. They only wear a singlet and shorts and the wind gave their skin goose bumps.

Both Kenyans left the race between kilometre 31 and 37. Maybe today isn’t their day, maybe they have already done their work as pacemakers. But right now they are just two pedestrians on the sidewalk of Slovenska Cesta who walk by, unnoticed by the people on the side of the road. I watch them walk away in the direction of the finish and see two pairs of toothpicks carry two men and cans of Red Bull.


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