Kipchoge, Kosgei and the medals of 2019
In matters athletics, one name was dominant in 2019. The greatest marathoner of all time Eliud Kipchoge.
The 35-year-old went into history books in October when he became the first man to run a marathon under two hours during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, Austria after clocking 1:59.40.
His time was not recognised as an official world record but it was a feat that earned him recognition around the world, including World Athletics who crowned him Male Athlete of The Year.
Before his Vienna heroics, Kipchoge had won his fourth London Marathon title in a course record time of 2:02:37, breaking his own previous mark set in 2016 by 28 seconds.
That plus the historic Vienna race ensured Kipchoge became the first Kenya to successfully defended the World Athletics Athlete of The Year Award when he wad feted in Monaco in November.
While Kipchoge might have taken all the limelight, there were other standout Kenyan athletes in 2019.
Kipchoge’s friend and one of his training partners, Geoffrey Kamwowor broke the World Half Marathon record with a new time of 58:01 in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 15, beating the previous time of 58:23 set by Eritrean Zersenay Tadese on March 21, 2010.
Kamworor would later recaptured the New York City Marathon crown, his second title on the course, in 2:08:13 on November 3. The two-time World Cross-Country champion had settled for silver in Aarhus, Denmark in March.
Just a day after Kipchoge shocked the world, another Kenyan was breaking a record. Brigid Kosgei set the new mixed women’s world marathon record on October 13, clocking 2:14:04 to defend her Chicago Marathon title.
Kosgei, who had also won the London Marathon in 2:18:20 in April, shaved off 81 seconds from the 2:15:25 set by Britain’s Paula Radcliffe 16 years ago in London.
It was also a course record as she reduced Radcliffe’s time of 2:17:18 set in October 13, 2002.
Kosgei’s victory in London this year and Chicago last year saw her win her maiden World Marathon Majors title and a cool Sh50 million jackpot.
Doha and Rabat
Kenya was once again a force to reckon with in major events of 2019, starting with the Doha World Championships, World Cross-Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, and African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
In Doha, Kenya won 11 medals (five gold, two silver and four bronze), finishing second behind the United States of America who had 29 medals (14 gold, 11 silver and four bronze).
Gold winners were Ruth Chepng’etich (marathon), Beatrice Chepkoech (3,000m steeplechase), Timothy Cheruiyot (1,500m), Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase) and Hellen Obiri in 5,000m.
And at the 12th African Games held from August 19 to 30 in Rabat, Morocco, Kenya won 20 medals (10 gold, seven silver and three bronze) the bulk of it in athletics where they were second behind Nigeria, who had 10 gold, seven silver and six bronze.