Kenyans Continue to Dominate International Marathons

Kenyan marathon runners continue to take the world by storm. Traditionally, Kenyans have dominated major marathons around the European and United States circuits, but this year has been a special one with two of the major marathons so far being won by a Kenyan male and female.

A guest blogger at Outside Blog reports:

When the men's lead pack of the 115th Boston Marathon finished the first half in 1:01:58, the crowds in Boston knew this was going to be a fast race. But the final eye-popping time of 2:03:02 by Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai, the fastest marathon ever recorded, was even more impressive on Boston's notoriously difficult and hilly course.

Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai wins the 2011 Virgin London Marathon. Image courtesy of Beaumont Enterprise.

Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai wins the 2011 Virgin London Marathon. Image courtesy of Beaumont Enterprise.

Running in isolation helped Mutai:

Mutai, who is not related to London marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai, said he prepared for Boston by training almost exclusively in the hilly areas of his native Kenya. Mutai ran most of the race alone with Moses Mosop, and said that the isolation allowed him to push himself even further. “When I am alone I know how to control my pace, but when someone comes to me I don't know how to go,” he said after the race.

The Running Deo links to a story from International Association of Athletics Federations (IAFF) website where Mutai praises American Ryan Hall for helping set a fast pace:

Nonetheless, that a man could average 2:55 per kilometre (4:42 per mile), over the full Marathon distance of 42.195 km (26 miles, 385 yards) under any circumstances is astounding.

“It was at our back,” Mutai said matter of factly about the wind. “But it wasn't such a big wind.”

Instead, Mutai partially credited American Ryan Hall for his fast performance today. Hall, the USA Half-Marathon record holder, was the prime mover in the early kilometres and reinvigorated the pace nearly every time the race slowed on the hilly course from Hopkinton to Boston. Hall saw the lead pack through 5 km in 14:47, then 10 km in 29:05. By that time, the men had already banked a full minute against the 30:08 10-K split by course record holder Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, the defending champion.

A day before two Kenyans had achieved a similar feat running in record time for the men’s marathon and personal best time for the women’s race in the London Marathon:

Emmanuel Mutai made it a Kenyan double after winning the Virgin London Marathon in a new course record.
Earlier, compatriot Mary Keitany smashed her personal best to claim a commanding victory in the women's race…. Keitany broke away after 15 miles and never looked like being caught as she clocked an unofficial time of two hours 19 minutes and 17 seconds, almost 10 minutes quicker than her debut in New York last year.
The 29-year-old began the year by setting a new world record of 1:05.50 for the half-marathon, becoming the first woman to run under 66 minutes.

Caroline Kilel completes another double for Kenya at the 2011 Boston Marathon. Image courtesy of

Caroline Kilel completes another double for Kenya at the 2011 Boston Marathon. Image courtesy of

Last week, there was outrage when race organisers in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands wanted to offer Kenyan runners 100 times less prize money than Dutch nationals because “Kenyans always win”:

There is outrage over a move by organisers of the Utrecht Marathon in The Netherlands discouraging Kenyan athletes from competing in – and winning – the annual 42-kilometre race. Organisers of the marathon are offering Kenyan runners 100 times less prize money than what is up for grabs by Dutch nationals who cross the line first, a move that has been subject to vitriolic attacks from sections of the Dutch public, media and equal rights activists.

Subsequently, Athletics Kenya has ordered all Kenyan athletes invited to compete in this year’s edition of the race on April 25 to withdraw their entries.

The Dutch City race controversy was also captured by in a post titled “Dutch Marathon: “Y'all Negroes Keep Dusting Our White Runners, & Demoralizing Their Egos. We Gotta Rig Our Event In Order To Prop Up Our Mediocre Talent”:

Check this out this story about affirmative action in sport. 23 Kenyans and 1 Ethiopian have won 24 out of the 25 Dutch marathon events held in the past five years. I should add that just last weekend; Kenyans won the Rotterdam Marathon in the Netherlands. Enter the newly rigged setup: a foreign (translation: black African) winner of the Utrecht Marathon on April 25 — which, I should note is billed as an international event — only gets 100€ in prize money vs. 10,000€ (US$14,400) for a Dutch winner. On top of that, they only invited Dutch marathoners to the event (which they've renamed the “Dutch Battle”). The goal is to heavily discourage black Africans from running (and therefore winning) Dutch marathon events.

Finally, Dave Solomon questions the decision by the IAAF to deny Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai the distinction of running the world's fastest marathon (2:03.02) because he was supported by tail-wind:

The decision by the IAAF to deny Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai the distinction of running the world's fastest marathon (2:03.02) at Monday's Boston Marathon might be the singlemost objectionable ruling I've ever seen by a governing body in sports. You mean it's taken the IAAF 115 years to decree that the most venerable marathon in the world is too easy to be legitimate? And too subject to tailwinds to be legitimate?
Anyone ever hear them say any of that before Monday?
Out of nowhere, the IAAF simply dismisses the record for conditions over 26-plus miles on an internationally famed track. They may as well run it inside Fanueil Hall next year too take the elements out of the equation.


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