Tag Archives: Mathew Kimeli

Battle of the titans in Prague

Kenya’s Philemon Kiplimo, the eighth fastest half marathon runner in history will lead a deep men’s elite field at the 23rd edition of the Prague Half Marathon that will be held on Saturday in Prague, Czech Republic.

The 23 year-old comes to this race with the eight fastest time of 58:11 that he got in 2020 at the Valencia Half marathon where he finished in fifth position.

Kiplimo will not have an easy ride as he has been lined up with three compatriots who have gone under the fifty nine minutes mark. They are Kennedy Kimutai, who comes to this race with a personal best of 58:28 that he got last year in Valencia after crossing the line in fourth place.

The 25 year-old Keneth Kiprop Renju who is the oldest among the four comes to the race carrying on his shoulder a personal best of 58:35 that he got early this year at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon where he took the bronze medal.

Another title contender is Mathew Kimeli, who comes to the city of Prague with a personal best of 58:43 that he got last year in Valencia after finishing in seventh place.

The above four runners have all run under the race course record of 58:47 that was set fifteen years ago by Atsedu Tsegay from Ethiopia.

Five more runners who have run under the 60 minutes mark have also been lined up to fight for the pole position and also chase the course record mark. The 26 year-old Benard Kimeli, is more familiar with this course after taking the 2021 honors with a life time best of 59:07. Fourth place finisher at this year’s Napoli City Half Marathon Josphat Kiprotich has also been rolled in as he comes with a personal best of 59:35.

Ethiopia’s Gerba Dibaba will also be on the start line up as he comes with a personal best of 59:39. The 21 year-old who started his running career in October last year has participated in two half marathons both in Portugal and this will be his first time to step in Czech Republic and his third road race.

Africa Cross Country Champion Alfred Barkach, who is the most experienced runner in this field and Wisley Kibichii both carrying personal best of 59:46 and 59:57 from Delhi Half Marathon and Movistar Medio Maratón de Madrid respectively.



  1. Philemon Kiplimo      (KEN) 58:11
  2. Kennedy Kimutai       (KEN) 58:28
  3. Keneth Kiprop Renju (KEN) 58:35
  4. Mathew Kimeli           (KEN) 58:43
  5. Benard Kimeli             (KEN) 59:07
  6. Josphat Kiprotich       (KEN) 59:35
  7. Gerba Dibaba              (ETH) 59:39
  8. Alfred Barkach           (KEN) 59:46
  9. Wisley Kibichii           (KEN) 59:57

What’s In A Name? For Rhonex Kipruto Nobody Is Quite Sure

When Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto first came here for the UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K back in 2018, he was just 18 and had never been to the United States before.

He was warmly welcomed by the race organizers, New York Road Runners (NYRR), who made sure that he and his adidas teammate, Mathew Kimeli, were comfortable in their hotel near Central Park. Both athletes hoped to break the Central Park record of 27:35 and earn a special $30,000 bonus in addition to the first place prize of $10,000.

On his first morning in the hotel, Kipruto had a breakfast of tea (Kenyan style with milk and lots of sugar), and toast the NYRR staff had their first chance to get to know him. He talked a little bit about his family and his training, but when he was asked about his unusual name he demurred. Even when pressed he only smiled and continued to eat. Surely there was a story there, but Kipruto was not going to tell it. He finished his breakfast, and two days later smashed that Central Park record by running 27:08 (the still-standing USA all-comers record), and went home with $40,000 (after passing an in-competition drug test, of course).

A lot has changed for Kipruto since then, who has raced sparingly since the beginning of the pandemic. He won the 2018 World Athletics U20 Championships 10,000m title in 2019, earned a bronze medal at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in the 10,000m, broke the longstanding Peachtree 10-K course record by running 27:01 in 2019 (worth a $50,000 bonus), and set a new 10-K world record of 26:24 in early 2020 before the pandemic shutdown.

Yet, nobody has been able to learn anything more about his name.

“He said he would tell me, but that was six years ago,” said his agent Davor Savija over breakfast today at a midtown diner.

A Google search on the word “rhonex” returns only pages of references to Kipruto himself, except for a coincidental hit for “Rhone-X,” a medical term for diabetic macular edema, and the “Peloton x Rhone” high-performance tank top. Surely neither has any relation to Kipruto’s given name.

Kipruto, who flew into New York last night, runs Sunday’s United Airlines NYC Half on a hilly course from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Savija said his athlete is in good shape and recently completed a strong 20-kilometer time trial in Kenya to get ready for the race. He’ll be facing a quality international field which features American two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp, Australian Olympian Brett Robinson, and Kenyan road racing veteran Stephen Sambu who won the race in 2016.

But it is doubtful that any more information about the origin of his name will be forthcoming.

“Nobody knows,” said Savija, as he finished his toasted English muffin and crispy bacon.

Rhonex Kipruto threatens Leonard Komon world record at Birell Grand Prix 10K

World U20 10,000m champion, Rhonex Kipruto set the streets of Prague on fire last night, when he blasted move at the Birell Grand Prix 10K.

Kipruto threatened to tear down Leornard Komon’s world record of 26:44 when he fell short of it with two seconds to set the second fastest time over the same distance.
Kipruto, who last April ran a 27:08 USA all-comers record at the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in New York, blasted from the start when he hit the 5km mark in 13:31.

The 18 year-old took on the last 5km with an astonishing 13:15 to smash the previous course record of 27:10 that was set by his fellow country-mate Benard Kimeli at last year’s edition.

All of the top-10 men last night ran under 28 minutes.

Kipruto lead a 1-2-3 Kenyan podium finish as he was followed by Geoffrey Koech who crossed the line in 27:18 with Mathew Kimeli who is also a training partner of Kipruto with both coached by Bro Colm O’Connell closing the podium three finishes in 27:26.

Kipruto pocketed a cool € 10,000 in prize money and time bonuses, but had he broke the world record he would have received a € 20,000 bonus.


  1. Rhonex Kipruto  (KEN) 27:46
  2. Geoffrey Koech   (KEN) 27:18
  3. Mathew Kimeli   (KEN) 27:26

Rhonex Kipruto targets Birell Grand Prix title

The top three men from last year’s Birell Prague Grand Prix will return to challenge for the IAAF Gold Label road race on Saturday (September 8) in the Czech Republic.

Defending champion Benard Kimeli will be up against fellow Kenyans whom he led to a Kenyan sweep of the men’s podium.

It was the first time in history that three men had finished inside 27:20 in the same 10km race.

The top three Kenyans in last year’s race return to Prague in devastating forms and race promises to produce fireworks if their form is anything to go by.

The IAAF World U20 Championships  10,000m gold medalist compatriot Rhonex Kipruto, third in Prague last year in 27:13, has improved on that mark in April with his 27:08 victory in the UAE Healthy Kidney 10km race in New York, recording the fastest performance in the world at that distance for eight years.

Kipruto went ahead and won the 10,000m title at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 with a dominant run.

Kimeli, who won last year’s Birell Grand Prix in 27:10, returned to Prague earlier this year for the half marathon, which he won in a PB of 59:47.

Last year’s runners up, Mathew Kimeli finished second to Kipruto in the UAE Healthy Kidney 10km race in New York in 27:19, just eight seconds shy of the PB he set when finishing in the same position at last year’s Birell Grand Prix when he separated Kimeli and Kipruto is in the fray.

Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu threatens to break the Kenyan’s dominance.  He won over 10km in Ottawa in a PB of 27:48, finishing 34 seconds ahead of Benard Kimeli, and went on to take the 10,000m silver medal at the African Championships in Abuja, Nigeria.

Belihu finished 10th in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 at the age of 18 against formidable and experienced athletes like World and Olympic champion Mo Farah.

Athletes from Europe will be bidding to wrestle the title from Africans. Germany’s European Cup winner Richard Ringer and Belgium’s Soufiane Bouchiki are in contention after having reduced their respective 10,000m PBs to 27:36.52 and 27:41.20 respectively this year.

Britain’s Luke Traynor won against an all-European line-up at the Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon earlier this year, after improving on his 10km PB to 28:3.1.

Kipruto targets World Junior Championships

Rhonex Kipruto is set to take part in the 2018 World Junior Championships in July after winning New York Road Runners 10km race on Sunday.

Kipruto clocked 27:08 smashing 27:35 course record set by Leornard Komon in 2011 and setting the fastest 10K record on the US soil.

His coach Brother Colm O’Connel disclosed that Kipruto will take part in the competition that will go down in Tampere, Finland.

“Our goal is to ensure Kipruto makes it to the Kenyan team to World Junior Championships. He will be competing in the 10,000 metres race,” Colm said.

Colm said Kipruto’s preparation for the junior competition will be done through well-spaced races ahead of the world competition.

The 18-year-old 2018 U-20 African cross country champion and his training compatriot Mathew Kimeli scooped the first and second places in the New York’s Central Park duel. Kimeli cut the tape in 27:19 ahead of Teshome Mekonen, who clocked 28:10 to take the third position. The duo’s win put Iten in the spot light and more so Brother Colm, who described the winner as the world’s new stars. “Kipruto and Kimeli will represent the country in the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan if stay focused,” Colm said.

Colm has trained Kipruto and Kimeli for four and six years respectively in the country’s oldest athletics training camp at St. Patrick’s High School Iten.

“It is a fantastic encouragement. It motivates me to nurture more athletes and it gives credibility to my programme,” Colm said about performance.

He said the duo have demonstrated consistency in their performances throughout their junior athletics duels. Kipruto pocketed Sh3 million for breaking the course record and an additional Sh1 million for the win. Kipruto and Kimeli comes from Keiyo South, Elgeyo Marakwey county.

Diriba Mergia from Ethiopia clocked 32:04 to win the women’s 10K race, beating Monicah Ngige (32:15) of Kenya and Ethiopian Sinke Dessie Biyadgilgn (32:56).

Kipruto smashes Patrick Komen 10km record as he wins UAE Healthy Kidney 10km Race

Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto and Mathew Kimeli came into today’s UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K here with one thing on their minds: taking down the Central Park record for 10-K, the 27:35 standard set by Leonard Patrick Komon at the same race in 2011.

The18-year-old, out-dueled his training partner and best friend, smashing the record with a 27:08, the fastest 10-K ever on a record-eligible course on U.S. soil. He also obliterated the world best for 8-K en route, splitting 21:45 (certified split). Buze Diriba of Ethiopia, the recent United Airlines NYC Half champion, won the women’s race in 32:04, two seconds ahead of countrywoman Aselefech Mergia.

With a USD $30,000 bonus on the line for the record (to go with USD $10,000 for first place) in the New York Road Runners-sponsored event, there was more than enough incentive, so the two young Kenyans bolted off the line and set a searing pace in cool, comfortable temperatures (9C/49F). By the time they ran the mostly uphill first mile in 4:31, there was just one other runner on their heels, unseeded Fikadu Girma Teferi, an Ethiopian attached to a local running club. Teshome Mekonen of Ethiopia trailed about 10 meters back, followed by Kenyan Edwin Soi, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 5000 meters.

Kipruto and Kimeli pressed the pace up the East Drive of the park, with Kipruto frequently running ahead as they cut the tangents on the roadway with laser-like focus. The pair, who train in Iten, Kenya, under famed coach Brother Colm O’Connell, passed two miles in 8:46 (thanks to a blazing 4:15 split) and continued to push up Harlem Hill to hit 3-miles in 13:09 (4:23 split). By the 5-K mark (13:39) the course record was in serious jeopardy.

Approaching 6-K, Kipruto, who came into the race with a personal best of 27:13 from the Birell Grand Prix in Prague last September, began to open up a gap on Kimeli. Despite a series of rolling hills during this segment of the race, he reached 4-miles in 17:37 (4:28) and had built a 15-meter lead. “The hills were tough,” Kipruto said after the race, making a waving motion with his arm to simulate the relentlessly undulating portion of the course. “It was a real challenge out there.”

As the road started to descend into the lower portion of the park, Kipruto kept his foot on the gas, blowing through the 8-K mark in 21:45, well under the 22:02 world best set by Stephen Sambu in Boston in 2014. Passing 5-miles in 21:51 off a 4:14 split, the world record (Komon’s 26:44 from 2010) seemed in reach. Alas, Kipruto, now almost 50 meters clear of Kimeli, lost ground on that standard, clocking 26:18 at 6-miles (4:27). The course record, however, was clearly about to become history.

Kipruto broke the tape in 27:08, superior to both the USATF (27:11) and ARRS (27:19) ratified U.S. all-comers records. “I didn’t think I was going to win,” the soft-spoken teenager said. “I thought it would be Mathew, but at 6-K I knew I was running alone and I wanted the record, so I continued to run hard.”

Kimeli (27:19) finished strong to also break the Central Park record, while Mekonen (28:10) was a distant third. Teferi (28:36) finished fourth, with Soi (29:07) fifth. Brendan Martin of the New York Athletic Club was the top American, 10th in 30:39.

In the women’s race, Laura Thweatt of the United States led a pack of five runners through 5K in 16:12, including Diriba, Mergia, Monicah Ngige of Kenya and unseeded Ethiopian Sinke Dessie Biyadgilgn (along with assorted sub-elite men as part of the event’s mass-start format). “I’m a cross country girl at heart, so I loved the hills,” said the Boulder, Colorado, resident, the 2015 USATF cross country champion. “I knew the other women weren’t going to go out on record pace and the hills would help me stay in it a little bit longer.”

Thweatt continued to set the pace through 8-K (25:52) before Diriba, Mergia and Ngige pulled away. Diriba, who won the United Airlines NYC Half in March with a strong kick in Central Park, did the same on Sunday to secure the title. Ngige was third in 32:15, followed Thweatt (setting a road personal best of 32:22) and Biyadgilgn (32:56). “As we were running, I knew I had better speed than them, so I knew I could win,” Diriba said through an interpreter. She said she hardly noticed the men running around the leading women, and felt the pace was well within her comfort zone. “We went a little bit slower on the uphills, but it was fine.”

For Thweatt, the race marked a big step on her comeback from injury following the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon. She finished sixth in that race with a personal best 2:25:58, but subsequently had to take six months off from running while suffering from osteitis pubis, an inflammation of the tendons in the pelvic bone. “I felt like I gave it everything today,” she said. “It’s all part of a progression to a fall marathon.”