words // Adam Arthur
Kenya’s world-class runners are among the fastest middle- and long-distance competitors on the planet and have regularly been shattering records. Rooted in their culture, the ability to accept and take on all challenges helps these athletes work tirelessly to prepare to win, hoping one day to seize their opportunity to shine. Here’s a look at some of this African country’s most notable runners and their accomplishments.
Bethwel Birgen – 3:30.77 outdoor 1,500M
Since making his professional running debut in 2009, Bethwell has been a strong competitor in middle-distance races and has represented Kenya in the 1,500M at the World Championships. His personal best of 3:34.65 in the indoor 1,500M is among the top 20 fastest ever recorded.
Abel Mutai – Bronze medalist, 3,000M steeplechase
Abel specializes in the steeplechase and emerged as a star athlete at a young age, winning the 2005 World Youth Championship. However, the middle-distance runner’s career was put on pause when he was recruited to Kenya’s armed forces in 2008. He returned to professional running in 2011 and won bronze in the 3,000M steeplechase at the 2012 London Games.
Linet Masai – World champion, 10,000M
Competing in many different middle- and long-distance races from 3,000 M to 10Ks, Linet had a bright start to her running career and broke into the Kenyan National team in 2007, when she was only 17. She has placed in the top three in many different events, most notably winning gold in the 10,000M at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. Her personal best in the 10,000 M is 30:26.50.
Eunice Sum – World champion, 800M
Eunice has emerged as one of the elite female middle-distance runners. She has competed in 800 M, 1,500M, and 3,000M. In 2013, the Kenyan national won gold in the 800M at the World Championships, posting a personal best 1:57.38.
Stanley Biwott – 2:05:12 marathoner
Competing in half marathon and marathon races, Stanley has course records across the world. While setting the course record at the Paris Marathon in 2012, he posted a personal best 2:05:12 – one of the 30 fastest official marathon times ever recorded. The long-distance runner’s half marathon best of 58:56 is one of the 10 fastest of all time.
These Kenyan Athletes have dominated medal stands and rewritten record books simply by doing what comes naturally, running with a stride as smooth as it is swift, they make the astonishing seem effortless, providing an impressive example of the power and beauty of natural motion.