Justin Lagat sometimes is a mind reader. Our senior writer from Kenya, Justin Lagat captures the feel, the culture, the zeitgeist if you will, of the Kenyan athletic culture. He is proud of his country’s traditions in athletics and knows that the Kenyan fans are as well. The gift that Justin Lagat provides is this; a weekly reaffirmation of the tradition and honor in Kenyan athletics, even in a day when some are tempted to win by ill gotten means.
Below are some of the greatest marathon moments that happened this year.
1. Brigid Kosgei setting a new world record at the Chicago marathon
The old women’s marathon record of 2:15:25 had stayed out of reach for the women for such a long time. No runner had even run a full minute close to it and it was appearing as though it was still going to take such a long time for it to be broken. But, Kosgei surprised everyone going at an alarming pace that saw her being in a predicted finish time of 2:12 at some stages in her race. She ended up running a new world record of 2:14:04, which was more than one minute than the seemingly impossible record by Paula Radcliffe.
2. Eliud Kipchoge running 1:59:40 for the marathon
Finally, no human is limited! The debate on whether it is possible for a human being to run a marathon under two hours and still live came to an end when Eliud Kipchoge just did that in Vienna and still had plenty of energy left to run around and hug the fans that had turned up to cheer him.
Kipchoge was able to demonstrate that whatever one sets their mind to achieve will achieve as long as they give it their best.
3. Kenenisa Bekele’s run at the Berlin Marathon
A world record that everyone thought was out of reach for the rest almost fell at the Berlin Marathon when Kenenisa Bekele ran 2:01:41 to narrowly miss it by just 2 seconds. Bekele was already behind the leaders at around 30km into the race and fans watching the race had almost counted him out of contention. However, he started coming back strongly after the 35km point quickly gaining ground on the leaders before passing them as though they were jogging.
4. The close finish between Lelisa Desisa and Lawrence Cherono in Boston
The men’s race at the Boston Marathon ended up in a captivating climax when there were three athletes still stuck together in the last 500m of the race. A sprint finish was only going to determine the winner among Kenneth Kipkemoi, Lawrence Cherono and Lelisa Desisa. It became a long sprint with less than 200m to go in which Kipkemoi was the first to give up, but Desisa and Cherono ran shoulder to shoulder almost up to a touching distance from the tape before Cherono would slightly edge Desisa for the win. Interestingly, the gap in the prize structure for the 1st and 2nd positions in Boston is quite large.
5. The brave run by Ruth Chepng’etich at the Doha world championships to win the women’s marathon
The conditions at the world championships were tough for long-distance races, especially for the marathon event despite it being done at night. Many runners dropped out of the race. Despite the harsh conditions, Ruth Chepng’etich decided to make an early break in the second half of the race where she did a solo run at the front that eventually earned her the victory.
6. Joyciline Jepkosgei’s debut at the New York City Marathon
Despite holding the world record for women in the half marathon distance, a few people were talking about Joyciline Jepkosgei leading up to the New York City Marathon. However, she later turned out to be the only competitor to give the defending champion , Mary Keitany, such a hard run to the last stages of the race before she emerged victorious in one of the few major marathons in her debut.