By Denis Barthel – Wikimedia

The most famous Kenyan Runners


Kenyan marathon runners are world-famous. They have constantly flown the Kenyan flag high during international Olympics and marathons.

There are notable Kenya names that have become synonymous with these races both locally and internationally.

These great marathoners started small by running barefoot to winning medals in the international scene.

Here are the most famous Kenyan runners.

1. Eliud Kipchoge- Greatest Marathoner of the modern age

By Denis Barthel – Wikimedia

Eliud Kipchoge is the most famous athlete in the country and the world.

His most recent success was running a 42-kilometre marathon under two hours. This happened in Vienna Austria in 2019.

Kipchoge won his first individual world championship title in 2003. This was during the junior race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

He set a world junior record over 5000 m on the track.

In the consecutive years, Kipchoge won silver medals at the 2007 World Championships, 2008 Summer Olympics and 2010 Commonwealth Games.

He is the current world record holder in the marathon with a time of 2:01:39, set on 16 September 2018, at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

This was after he broke the previous world record by 1 minute and 18 seconds. Kipchoge has won 12 of the 13 marathons he has participated in.

2. Tegla Loroupe

By Eastfrisian – Wikimedia

Tegla Chepkite Loroupe is a retired Kenyan long-distance track and roadrunner.

She also doubles as a global spokeswoman for peace, women’s rights and education advocate.

Tegla holds the world records for 25 and 30 kilometres and previously held the world marathon record.

She became the first African woman to hold the marathon World Record, which she held for three years, between 1998 and 2001.

This makes her a three-time World Half Marathon champion. She was also the first Africa woman to win the New York City Marathon twice.

She has won marathons in London, Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Berlin and Rome.

3. Henry Wanyoike – Paralympian

By Dennislo – Wikimedia

Henry Wanyoike was 21-years-old when he suffered a stroke that caused him to lose 95 per cent of his sight.

This did not stop him from being one of the world’s fastest runners. He shone at the 5,000 and 10,000-meter distances.

Wanyoike’s medals included 5,000m T11 gold at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and 5,000m and 10,000m gold and world records at the 2002 World Championships.

He further won double gold at Athens 2004. This win in the 5,000m and 10,000m T11 set a world record that is yet to be broken.

Wanyoike excelled on the roads too, winning half and full marathons around the world.

4. Wilson Kipsang – Former World Record Holder

By Tom Page – Wikimedia

Wilson became a professional international athlete in 2007. In that same year, he came second at the Tilburg Ten Miles recording a time of 46:27.

This was followed by another win in a road race in Hem, his time of 27:51 was the fourth fastest that year in the 10-kilometre race.

Wilson won major marathons in New York City, London, Berlin and Tokyo between 2012 and 2017.

He was third at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. He holds the twelfth best time over the half marathon distance with a time of 58:59 minutes.

5. Rita Jeptoo

Rita Jeptoo is another female Kenyan marathon runner that is famous.  Her first personal best time was 2:23:38 in the 2006 Boston Marathon.

She won the Boston Marathon thrice including setting the course record at 2:18:57 in 2014.

Jeptoo also won marathons in Chicago, Stockholm, and Milan. She also represented Kenya internationally at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics.

She has more medals on her name such as the bronze from the 2006 IAAF World Road Running Championships.

Jeptoo further won the Portugal Half Marathon in 2008. After a brief hiatus, she returned to competing in 2011.

Her first race was at the Rotterdam where she came fifth with a time of 2:28:09 hours. Jeptoo’s best performance was in half a decade at the 2012 Chicago Marathon.

6. Jemimah Sumsong

By Citizen59 – Wikimedia

Jemimah has won the London, Rotterdam and Las Vegas Marathons, and has finished runner-up at the Boston, Chicago and New York City Marathons.

She established herself as a runner on the American road circuit in 2005. That same year, Jemimah won the Ogden Newspapers Classic Half Marathon and Maggie Valley Moonlight Run.

Her personal best time has been 2:20:48 hours for the marathons. In the 2016 Olympic Games, Jemimah won the marathon in warm conditions with a time of 2:24:04 hours.

This victory made her the first female winner from Kenya since women’s marathon was introduced to the Olympics in 1984.

7. Eunice Jepkorir

Eunice Jepkorir is another long-distance runner who specialises in the steeplechase.

She won bronze at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics and subsequently a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics.

in the long race at During the 2004 World Cross Country Championships, she finished seventh.

In 2005, Eunice won the Parelloop 10-kilometre in race in the Netherlands as well as the 2007 Cross Internacional de la Constitución.

In the same year, 2007, while in Athens she ran a personal best 9:14.52 minutes which is an African and Commonwealth record.

The previous African record of 9:15.04 minutes was held by Dorcus Inzikuru of Uganda.