debutant geoffrey kirui crowned champion at the 121st Boston Marathon


Geoffrey Kirui flew completely under the radar before the race, his best previous marathon being a third-place debut in Rotterdam last year and his PB a 2:06:27 for seventh in Amsterdam. But the 24-year-old asserted after the race, “In my mind, I was sure that one day I would win this race.”

The men’s pack stayed together much longer than the women, with former world record holder Emmanuel Mutai doing much of the pace work as the field wandered towards Boston. Unlike Linden, Mutai seemed disinterested in setting a fast pace, with the average mile hovering around 4:55 well past halfway.

Things began getting interesting in much the same part of the race as the year before, around 25 kilometres as the course descends into Lower Falls to cross the Charles from Wellesley into Newton. Olympic bronze medallist Galen Rupp moved to the front of the pack and although the pace didn’t improve, the size of the pack began to shrink. Mutai, defending champion Lemi Berhanu Hayle, and several others came off the pace.

The faces remaining, in addition to Kirui, Rupp, and Wilson Chebet, were not ones who would have been picked to be in the lead pack this late. American veteran Abdi Abdirahman, dominating the masters race; Colorado-based Augustus Maiyo, wearing the improbable bib number of 63; and Oregon-based Japanese Suguru Osako.

Eventually a duel developed between Rupp and Kirui, with the duo putting a dozen seconds on Osako coming up to 35 kilometres. After passing that marker, Kirui stomped on the accelerator, covering the 24th mile in 4:28, by far the fastest of the race. Rupp couldn’t answer the bell at that point, and the remaining two miles for Kirui were an extended victory lap.

Rupp came in second at 2:09:58, with Osako third in 2:10:28.

“I knew, coming here to Boston, I was going to face my colleagues who have run many times here,” said Kirui. “I was not aware that I was going to win, but I knew that I would challenge some of the champions who have been competing here.”

Osako was also thrilled with his performance. “I was very nervous and grateful for the Boston experience,” he said. “Once I relaxed, I started doing better.”

Although the athletes enjoyed a tailwind in many parts of the course, winds were gusty and occasionally met the runners head on. More challenging, especially for the mass participants, was the heat, with temperatures around 20 C at the start and rising slightly during the race.

Some 27,228 runners in four waves crossed the starting line in Hopkinton to make the trip in to Boston this year.

Kiplagat and kirui secure kenyan double in boston marathon after 5 years


Two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat and relative unknown Geoffrey Kirui were crowned champions today at the 121st running of the Boston Marathon, the first double win for Kenya in five years. Each won the IAAF Gold Label Road Race with a single devastating move at strategic points in the race which their competition could not answer. Kiplagat ran 2:21:52, and Kirui 2:09:37.

Kiplagat, who started with the other elite women 28 minutes before the mass start, was the first to lock up victory. The women’s pack maintained a brisk pace of about 3:26 per km early on, led largely by 2011 runner-up Desiree Linden. Linden, whose best races come from an even pace, wanted to thin the pack down early, and she did, with the size of the pack shrinking to eight by halfway and five as the course crossed into Newton after the 25-kilometre mark.

“I wanted to be pushing the first 10k,” Linden said. “If it was a respectable pace I would have just tucked in, but there were so many fast women in that pack I couldn’t let them take it easy. If we made it a half-marathon I wouldn’t have as much of a chance.”

Linden was right to be wary of Kiplagat, a past winner in New York (2010) and London (2014) as well as a two-time world champion (2011 in Daegu and 2013 in Moscow). In the course of pushing the pace, though, Linden ended the hopes of defending champion Atsede Baysa and former winner Caroline Rotich. Climbing up into Newton after crossing the Charles River in Lower Falls, it was Linden, Kiplagat, Rose Chelimo, Jordan Hasay, and Valentine Kipketer in the pack, with Gladys Cherono struggling to stay in contact.

Those five mostly held together for another five kilometres, but on the second of three hills in Newton, Kiplagat abruptly accelerated, dropping from a 5:33 mile pace on the first hill to a 4:50 cresting the second. Then Kiplagat followed up with a 5:23 mile on the last and best-known of the hills, the one called “Heartbreak Hill."

“I broke away at 30k, I was feeling good and I tried to work extra hard. We knew the profile of the course so I knew I had to increase my strength.”

The race was functionally over at that point, but there was one last scare at the 35-kilometre fluid station, where Kiplagat expected to find her bottle on the second table when it was actually on the third. After mistakenly picking up another athlete’s bottle, Kiplagat actually went back to replace it on the second table before getting her own.

She continued looking over her shoulder but Rose Chelimo, the one who’d come closest to actually covering Kiplagat’s move, was almost a minute behind at the finish. Chelimo’s second-place time was 2:22:51. Hasay was third in 2:23:00, a successful debut marathon, and Linden was fourth in 2:25:06.

Kiplagat, 38, is the oldest woman to win in Boston since Michiko Gorman (42) in 1977. She brought two of her children to the awards stand to accept her traditional laurel wreath and trophy.

“I’m happy to be here with my family, my kids helped me when I was training for this race so I am glad I can share this victory with them.”

Course record holder Buzunesh Deba was seventh in 2:30:58, and Linden’s teammate Dot McMahan was the masters winner, finishing 14th in 2:36:28.

Koech breaks Italian all-comers’ record in EA7 Emporio Armani Milano Marathon


Edwin Kipngetich Koech took the honours at the EA7 Emporio Armani Milano Marathon, breaking the Italian all-comers’ record with 2:07:13 at the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race on Sunday (2).

The 25-year-old Kenyan improved the fastest ever time on Italian soil set by his compatriot Benjamin Kiptoo in Rome with 2:07:17 in 2009. Meanwhile, compatriot Sheila Chepkoech produced a major surprise winning the women’s race in 2:29:52, breaking her personal best by more than 10 minutes.

Pacemakers Stefano La Rosa of Italy and Kenya’s Alex Korio and Joshua Kipkorir set a steady pace, going through the 10km mark in 30:03 ahead of an all-African pack formed by Edwin Koech, Eliud Bargnetuny Kiplagat, Kenneth Mungara and Henry Chirchir from Kenya and Abdela Godana from Ethiopia.

The seven-man pack went through at the halfway mark in 1:03.17, putting them on course for a sub-2:07 finish.

At 27km the leading pack was whittled down to five runners: Korio, Kipkorir, Mungara, Koech and Godana. Kipkorir was the first pacemaker to drop out at 28km, leaving Korio and Koech to go through 30km in 1:29:51, opening up a gap of four seconds over Mungara.

Koech broke away after 30km and continued to run at sub-2:06 pace, passing the 35km mark in 1:45:15. The Kenyan’s 1:50 lead over Mungara grew to more than two minutes by the finish as Koech crossed the finish line in 2:07:13.

Koech’s time smashed his previous personal best of 2:10:52 set in Verona last November. It also improved the previous course record of 2:07:53 set by Duncan Kibet in 2008.

Kenya’s 43-year-old Mungara, winner in Milan in 2015 and third in last year’s edition with a world M40 best of 2:08:38, finished runner-up, again dipping under 2:10 with 2:09:37 to finish ahead of Ehiopian Abdela Godana, who improved his PB by 92 seconds to 2:10:05. Italy’s European under-23 10,000m bronze medallist Yassine Rachik was the first European finisher, placing sixth in 2:13:22 on his debut at the distance.

Kenya set to add to past successes at IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017


Ever since the inaugural edition in 1999 when they topped the medals table, Kenya has been a dominant force at the IAAF World U18 Championships.

In 100 days’ time, the Kenyan capital Nairobi will host the biennial championships for athletes aged 17 and younger and the host nation can be expected to add to their tally of 43 gold medals.

This year’s staging will be the final edition of the World U18 Championships as the IAAF will instead devote more resources to area championships at the U18 level. But it is fitting that the last staging will be in a country that has provided so many memorable performances at the championships over the past 18 years.

Rotich and Bett lead Kenyan squad for IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017,Nassau


World U20 champion Kipyegon Bett and Ferguson Rotich, the 2016 IAAF Diamond League winner in the 800m, lead Kenya's 30-member squad to the IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017 in Nassau on 22-23 April.

Bett earned his spot after out-kicking Rotich in the 800m at the Athletics Kenya Relay National Trials in Nairobi last weekend, clocking 1:44.7.

Rotich will bring valuable experience to the competition after appearances in each of the two previous editions of the IAAF World Relays. In 2014 he ran the lead-off leg on the victorious 4x800m squad. In 2015 he ran the third leg on the silver medal-winning distance medley quartet.

Meanwhile, the women's 4x800 quartet includes Mary Wangari Kuria, the 2012 African Championships 1500m silver medallist, and Silvia Chesebe, a member of the silver medal-winning quartet at the World Relays in 2014 that clocked an African record.

The team also includes African championships 400m silver medallist Boniface Mweresa and Geoffrey Kiprotich, the fourth place finisher over 400m at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016, who were named to the mixed 4x400m relay.

First Lady Launches IAAF World U18 Championships Website at MISC


Kenya inched closer to hosting the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) W-U18 championships when the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launched the official website for the iconic event.
With only 134 days to the kick-off of the 10th edition of the IAAF championships in Nairobi slated for July 12- 16, the First Lady said the website will serve as the nerve centre of the championships, providing information to all stakeholders.
She is the current patron of the Biennial IAAF world U18 championships
“The website will also serve the thousands of visitors who are planning to visit our country for the championships-many of them for the first time”, said the First Lady during the colorful launch ceremony of the website at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, today.
Besides being the primary point of contact for the participants and attendees, said the First Lady, the website will also serve as their connection to Kenya.
“So I want to thank the developers and designers who created this website for their fantastic work, and urge those in charge of maintaining the platform to ensure it reflects the very best of our country’, she said
A total of 2000 athletes of various disciplines are expected in Nairobi in July where they will be representing over 150 countries from all over the world.
Besides the sporting fraternity drawn globally, thousands of other visitors are also expected in the country to have a first-hand experience of Kenya, a country recognized internationally as a powerhouse of long distance runners.
During the previous 9 editions of the IAAF championships held in Poland, Germany, Canada, Morocco, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Ukraine and Colombia, Kenya has always emerged between positions 1-3 beating such many other world sporting giants.
At the inaugural 1999 IAAF world U18 championships in Poland , Kenya emerged position one after beating 150 other countries . Kenya also held position 2 in 2001(Germany), 2005 (Morocco), 2007 ( Czech Republic), 2011 ( France), 2013 ( Ukraine) and 2015 in Colombia.
Sporting enthusiasts are optimistic that no country can beat Kenya (in Athletics) at home during the forthcoming championships.
The First Lady said , as patron, she will do whatever it takes to ensure the success of the championships adding that the event is a historic moment, not only for Kenya, but the entire East African region.
She said by staging a successful event, Kenya will be demonstrating to the world how capable the country is in delivering a world-class event and experience.
“As we do that, there is no doubt that we will receive many more hosting opportunities”, she added.
The First Lady said the championships also provide an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the diverse sporting abilities of youth from across the world, Kenya included.
“As patron, I see the upcoming Championships offer a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate, applaud and recognize the diverse talents and abilities of youth across the world
Invitations have already been sent out to all the 214 IAAF member countries requesting them to send in names of Athletes that will represent respective countries.
Sports, Culture and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Dr Hassan Wario, IAAF W-U18 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) chairman Lt-Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei , LOC Chief Executive Officer of the championships Mwangi Muthee and Kenyatta University (where all the Athletes will reside) Vice Chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina assured the First Lady that everything was going well and will be ready within the set deadlines.

Safaricom international jazz festival 2017 at Moi Kasarani Sports Center

David Sanborn Safaricom Jazz

The 4th edition of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival will be held on Sunday 26th February 2017 at the Kasarani Stadium. This year we have various talented artists from across the globe who are guaranteed to delight all jazz lovers.

David Sanborn, world renowned saxophonist from the USA will be the headlining performer at the festival this year. He will be accompanied by a star studded line up who will be performing with him during the show.

The Hazelnuts, a unique musical phenomenon from Israel, TaxiWars from Belgium and British-Asian clarinetist, composer and music educator Arun Gosh are also slated to dazzle us with their unique sounds.

The Bokani Dyer Trio, who performed at the annual Jazz ahead showcase in Bremen, Germany in April 2016, and Ray Lema from the Democratic Republic of Congo are the African acts also scheduled to perform at the festival.

Local artists lined up for the festival include home grown Nairobi Horns Project, Shamsi Music and the amazing Mwai and The Truth Band.

Music lovers can expect to enjoy a selection of pure jazz as well as a mix of jazz fusions with influences from around the world.

All proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the Ghetto Classics, a non-profit programme that teaches music skills to the youth from underprivileged backgrounds. To date we have successfully raised over 19million towards this programme to uplift the lives of many youth by way of providing musical instruments, classes, and much more.

Date: Sunday 26th February 2017.
Venue: Kasarani Training Grounds
Entry Charges: Ksh. 2000 for adults and Ksh. 500 for students (proof of ID must be provided)
Tickets: Available at select Safaricom shops, Michael Joseph Centre and via m-Ticketing by dialing 1511.
Gates open at 10 AM show starts at 12 PM.

National Age group open and relays LC 2017 at MISC over the weekend


The annual Kenya Swimming Federation Long Course National Age Group and Open Championship will be held at the Kasarani Aquatic Stadium, Nairobi, over the weekend.

The event had the young men and women arrive at the Kasarani Stadion Hotel as from tuesday morning for prior preparations to the epic event which is estimated to take four-five days i.e 23th- 26th Feb.
KSF has stated that it is expecting a registration of 2000 participants from all over the country,including mombasa.kisumu and kampala,Uganda.

Former champion Kipruto lead Lake Biwa Marathon Entries


Vincent Kipruto, the 2013 Lake Biwa winner, will return to Otsu. The 2011 world silver medallist has a PB of 2:05:13 and won last year’s Xiamen Marathon.

Fellow Kenyan Ezekiel Kiptoo has been improving steadily in recent years. He reduced his PB to 2:06:07 at last year’s Amsterdam Marathon.

World bronze medallist Solomon Mutai excels at championships, but the Ugandan is still awaiting a breakthrough in an international marathon and will be aiming to do better than his 11th-place finish from last year.

Eritrean Olympian Tewelde Estifanos, Ethiopian 20-year-old Yihunilgn Adane and marathon debutant El Hassan Elabbassi of Bahrain are also set to compete.

The race is also the final opportunity for Japanese marathon runners to impress the team selectors ahead of the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

Satoru Sasaki and Suehiro Ishikawa, who both represented Japan at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, lead the domestic entries. Sasaki finished second at the 2014 Lake Biwa Marathon and went on to reduce his PB to 2:08:56 at the following year’s Fukuoka Marathon. 37-year-old Ishikawa will be making his fourth appearance at Lake Biwa, the setting of his 2:09:10 PB from four years ago.

kiplagat achieves fourth consequetive barcelona half marathon triumph


Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat once again took an overwhelming victory at the eDreams Mitja Marato Barcelona, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, winning comfortably in 1:08:15 on Sunday (12).

Her time was more than three minutes outside the half marathon world record of 1:05:06 set by her compatriot Peres Jepchirchir in Ras Al Khaimah last Friday, but Kiplagat – who broke the world record at this race in 2014 and 2015 – had stated before the race that she was not targeting a world record.

The windy conditions clearly hampered the athletes’ efforts. Paced by Kenyan Dickson Kipchumba and Spain’s Marc Roig, Kiplagat had requested a steady 3:10 steady pace with them for the first half of the race. As agreed, the trio reached the 5km point in 15:47, 37 seconds ahead of the chasing group formed by USA’s Sara Hall, Ethiopia’s Kuma Dibaba, Ireland’s Fionnuala Mc Cormack and Portugal’s Jessica Augusto.

After covering the second five-kilometre segment in 16:03, Kiplagat reached 10km in 31:50 while Dibaba and Hall trailed behind by 68 seconds, themselves 11 seconds ahead of Augusto and 25 clear of McCormack.

Although Kiplagat’s pace dropped further in the second half, she increased her advantage over Dibaba to 94 seconds. Augusto was in third another 20 seconds back but eight seconds clear of Hall in fourth.

At the tape, the former world record-holder signed her fourth win in a row in Barcelona with a relatively modest – by her own lofty standards – 1:08:15, more than a minute quicker than her winning run in Barcelona last year.

Dibaba finished second in 1:09:49 while Augusto took the third place on the podium in 1:10:36, some 43 seconds ahead of a fading Hall with McCormack completing the top five in 1:11:35.

“I’m satisfied with my win but also a little bit disappointed as the wind has annoyed me a lot,” said Kiplagat, who will turn 30 later this month. “I would have liked to run under 1:06 today but at this early stage of the season I’m not at my peak as I’m still in full preparation for the London Marathon in April. I love to come back to Barcelona every year; I realise people already know me and really appreciate me.

“It’s OK, records are there to be broken,” she added when asked about Jepchirchir’s world record earlier in the week. “I’m now happy for her and we’ll try to regain the record in the future.”

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Sports Kenya (SK) was founded through the Sports Act of January 25 2013 by an Act parliament as a successor to Sports Stadia Management Board and the department of Sports in the ministry of sports, culture and the arts.

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