Arguably, Kenya is a global force in athletics. Over the years, a number of Kenyan athletes have inked world records in various field events.
Kenyan athletes have succeeded mainly in middle distance and long races and some hold world records in various disciplines.
Their success can be attributed to both high-altitude training and the long-standing long-distance running tradition in the country.
In this article, WoK reveals Kenyan athletes who hold world records.
Eliud Kipchoge is world renowned for being the greatest marathoner of all times.This is attributed to his exemplary performance and it goes without say that none holds the candle for Kipchoge.
Kipchoge has smashed records and his career has been evergreen. In September, 2022 he raised the bar high by smashing the world’s marathon on the streets of Berlin.
Kipchoge clocked 2:01:09 thereby getting his name inscribed into athletics books as it was a world record.
Kipchoge completed the 42.2 kilometers of the Ineos159 Challenge in 1:59:40.2 in Vienna, Austria, in October 2019, setting a record for the fastest time ever. However, this feat was not recognized as an official world record due to the use of rotating pacemakers and other non-standard conditions.
Faith Kipyegon, yet another Kenyan athlete, smashed the world record in the women’s 1500 meters with a sensational time of 3:49.11 at the 43rd edition of the Golden Gala at Luigi Ridolfi Stadium in Florence.
Kipyegon’s victory in the 1500 meters solidifies her status as one of the top middle-distance runners in the world and adds to Kenya’s reputation as a powerhouse in long-distance running.
Her impressive performance also serves as an inspiration to young athletes everywhere. But she’s not done yet; Kipyegon says she’s ready to beat her world record and maybe one day run the marathon.
“I’m training with marathoners and I normally say that one day I will run a marathon but now I have achieved what I wanted, what was in my heart,” she said as captured by Standard Media.
David Lekuta Rudisha is the 800-meter world record holder. At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games held in England, the United Kingdom, Rudisha set a new world record for the 800-meter race by putting on one of the greatest performances in 800-meter history.
He broke the previous world record, which he had set at the 2012 ISTAF World Challenge in Berlin, with a time of 1:40.91 minutes as he crossed the finish line. Rudisha has won two gold medals at the Olympics and is a two-time world champion.
Rudisha’s record has stood for over a decade and remains one of the toughest to be broken. But upcoming athletes like Emmanuel Korir and Emmanuel Wanyonyi have toyed with the idea of going for the world record.
The 29-year-old Kenyan mother of twins broke the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. With a time of 2:14:04, she beat British Paula Radcliffe’s 2003 record.
Kosgei’s accomplishment was especially remarkable considering that she only started competing professionally in 2015. The Chicago Marathon victory was not Kosgei’s first significant triumph. She had previously triumphed at the 2018 and 2019 Great North Runs.
In 2017, Mary Keitany took 41 seconds off the women’s-only world record at the Virgin Money London Marathon, running 2:17:01 at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Mary keitany is now retired and she struck gold at least 7 times in the women’s marathon. She won the New York City Marathon in four occasions.
Besides her lustre on the road, Keitany is also a nerd in the hospitality industry and owns Winstar Hotel (Eldoret) and Chamastar in Kabarnet.
Editorial note: In the women’s marathon, both Brigid Kosgei and Mary Keitany are recognized as world record holders despite registering different times. It is important to note that the former’s record was achieved in a mixed race i.e both men and women were competing while Keitany’s set her record in a women’s only marathon.
Her name may not ring a bell but the 31 year old is a world record holder of the women’s 3000m steeplechase. She achieved the feat at the 2018 Monaco Diamond League where she clocked 8:44.32.
Chepkoech’s career however suffered a blow after picking up a hamstring injury and finishing seventh in the Tokyo Olympics.
In the 2023 Kipkeino Classic, she made a comeback and struck gold.