It was with trepidation that I stuck my head around the corner and smiled at Kip Keino. It had been 12 years since I had last seen him and we had both grown older.
Kip is, to my mind and many others, the godfather of African athletics after he beat Jim Ryan to gold in the 1500 metres Olympic final at the 1968 Games in Mexico, and then took gold again four years' later in Munich in the 3,000 metres steeplechase.
From that point onwards African, and especially Kenyan athletics has never looked back. Back in 1998 I trained with the Kenyan middle and long distance runners high up in the Rift Valley before taking part in a steeplechase race in Eldoret in front of a 15,000 crowd in a ramshackle stadium, including the great Keino.
After I finished eighth (and last), exhausted and two laps behind everyone else, a laughing Keino invited me to his house, which is also an orphanage, the next morning. There he gave me a water gourd as a present. "You weren't the best," he said. "But you finished." I have kept it to this day.
Twelve years on I met up with Kip again during the Laureus Sports Awards in London this week. He recognised me instantly. "You fell into the water jump, didn't you," he laughed. It was good to see him again. His legacy serves his country well and the gourd I have kept ever since is worth nothing in price, but everything in value.