Kenyan-born American, Hillary Bor broke the four year course record at the Twin Cities Marathon’s 10-mile race held on Sunday (02) in Minneapolis, United States.
The 32 year-old battled for the honors with Shadrack Kipchirchir, Sam Chelanga and Biya Simbassa who recently smashed USATF 10 km Road Championships course record.
Bor and the two pulled away from leading group of eight after the four miles mark and went through the five mile split with Simbassa leading the charge.
Bor and Chelanga pushed the pace through the next three miles, eventually separating themselves from the pack putting a 14 second lead on Simbassa by mile eight.
Bor engaged his gear as he accelerated leaving Chelanga and Simbassa fighting for their breath as he surged ahead and erased the old course course record of 46:32 that had been set in 2018 by Kipchirchir with a new course time of 46:06.
Chelanga managed to hold off Simbassa as he crossed the finish with a personal best eight seconds later with the latter closing the podium three finishes in 46:29.
The former course record holder came home in fourth in 46:40 with Reed Fischer finishing in fifth place in 46:40.
The women’s race was won by Fiona O’Keeffe who won the $10,000 equalizer bonus for crossing the finish line first ahead of Bor.
Fiona broke the old course record of 51:42 that had been set by Molly Huddle in 2015 with a new course record of 51:42.
The 24 year-old was followed a distant later by Annie Frisbie in 52:10 with Emily Durgin finishing in third spot in 52:16.
Nell Rojas and Aliphine Tuliamuk came home in fourth and fifth place in a time of 52:20 and 52:35 respectively.
Siblings Norah Tanui Jeruto, the former Commonwealth Youth Games 2,000m bronze medalist and Daisy Jepkemei, the former world junior 3,000m steeplechase champion are some of the huge athletes’ talents exported to other nations.
The duo will simply be Kenyans versus former Kenyans affair at this year’s World Athletics championships that will be held in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States of America.
With most exports lining up on track and road running where over 1900 athletes from 192 World Athletics (WA) member federations will be battling out for 43 gold medals at the Eugene Hayward Field between July 15th to July 24th.
According to the list released by WA, Jeruto. Who won the World Youth 2,000m steeplechase in 2011 and succeeded by Jepkemei who won the title in 2013 as the race became a family affair will be representing Kazakhstan.
They will fly the Kazakhstan at the world championships and are expected to give a competitive race against fellow Kenyans running for Kenya.
Jeruto is also the 2016 Africa Senior Athletics 3,000m steeplechase champion while Jepkemei is the former Africa Youth 2,000m steeplechase champion.
Another Kenyan born Winfred Mutile Yavi will be running for Bahrain in the same race against Kenyans led by world 3,000m record holder Beatrice Chepkoech, Jackline Chepkoech, Celliphine Chespol Chepteek and Purity Kirui.
In the recent past, Kenyan athletes’ have switched their allegiance has seen their new nations claim a big share of Kenyan glory as they are spread across the world.
Just like in 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Ruth Jebet won gold in the 3,000m steeplechase and Eunice Kirwa won silver in the marathon behind Jemimah Sumgong.
Despite Kenyans switching nationalities, their love is not lost since they can communicate in Swahili and still train in their country of origin.
Eunice Chebichii Chumba will be representing her new found lover Bahrain where she will be competing in a marathon. Just Chebichii, Lonah Chemtai Salpeter will be representing Israel in the marathon.
The two former Kenyans will be chasing the marathon title against reigning champion Ruth Chepngetich, Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, Paris marathon champion Judith Jeptum Korir and Vienna City marathon champion Angela Tanui.
In men, Jonah Koech will be representing the hosts in the 800m competing against Kenyans led by reigning world under 20 800m bronze medalist Noah Kibet, reigning Commonwealth Games 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal, Olympic 800m champion Emmanuel Korir and world under 20 800m champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi.
In a crowded 10,000m, Belgium’s Isaac Kimeli will be up in arms for his new nation, competing against Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze medalist Rodgers Kwemoi Chumo, Daniel Mateiko and Stanley Waithaka Mburu.
Two former Kenyan athletes will be flying the American flag in the 3,000m steeplechase. Hillary Bor and Bernard Keter will face former country mates Leonard Bett, Abraham Kibiwot, Benjamin Kigen and reigning champion Conseslas Kipruto.
Others who have switched allegiance include, Bahraini Benson Kiplagat Seurei, the son of 1987 All Africa Games 1,500m champion James Seurei who competes in 1,500m, Mike Ozbilen Kigen in marathon representing Turkey, Abraham Rotich (800m) and Albert Rop (5,000m), Rose Chelimo, Isaac Korir and Abraham Cheroben (10,000m).
Lucy Kimani, Yasemin Can, Tarik Langat Akdag run in 3,000m steeplechase, Ali Kaya, Ilham Tanui, Ozbilen, Meryem Akda, Bernard Lagat, Paul Chelimo, Leonard Korir and Shadrack Kipchirchir, Evans Kiplagat.
Kenyan-born American long-distance runner, Leonard Korir will be the star to watch at the USATF Half Marathon that will be held on Saturday (7) in Indianapolis.
The 35 year-old who is a two-time USATF Half Marathon champion started his season on a high note as he was a runner-up at the USATF 15 km Championships and a fourth-place finisher at the USATF Cross Country Championships, which places him at the top of the USATF Running Circuit overall standings with 19 points, four points ahead of Shadrack Kipchirchir, whom they will battle for honors with on Saturday.
Korir will also face off with the Eritrean-born American, Futsum Zienasellassie who finished in position six at the USATF 15 km Championships and ninth at the USATF Cross Country Championships.
The 29 year-old, whose father is a priest in the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, beat Korir at the 2021 USATF Half Marathon Championships, placing fifth to Korir’s seventh.
The 2019 Pan American Games 10,000m champion Lawi Lalang and Reid Buchanan who is also the silver medallist at the same games have also been incorporated to fight for the top prize money of $7,000.
Other contenders include, Jacob Thomson, who placed tenth at the USATF 15 km Championships, Noah Droddy, Sid Vaughn and Caleb Kerr.
Shadrack Kipchirchir took the top honors at the USATF Cross Country Championships that was held on Sunday (9) at Mission Bay Park in San Diego.
The race took off with 13 men forming the lead back through the first two kilometer loop. As expected, the pace would soon pick up, as Sam Chelanga started to push the pace, with training mates Benard Keter and Leonard Korir on his shoulder. The shift in pace caused the men’s lead pack to quickly fall to seven runners.
Chelanga would throw in surges throughout the next five kilometers of the race; with 2019 champion Kipchirchir running off his shoulder throughout.
Little changed until there was one kilometer to go, as Keter was dropped off the pace, and it was a battle to the finish. Maggard and Chelanga took turns pushing the pace, with Kipchirchir and Korir just behind. The foursome kept rolling along, pushing the small undulations on the course.
With 100 meters to go, Kipchirchir and Dillon Maggard separated themselves just enough from Chelanga and Korir to make it a two-man race to the finish. Kipchirchir gave a kick of his lifetime to dash past Maggard and claim his second USATF Cross Country Championship title, with a time of 30:32.
“You know I’m glad to finally be at the start line,” Kipchirchir said in his USATF.tv interview. “I got injured right before the Olympic Trials. I was frustrated, but I held on to a lot of hopes that I was going to come back.” He also announced that he and his wife, Elvin Kibet, were expecting a child later this year.
Maggard, who placed fourth at the 2020 Championships, crossed the line in second in 30:34, with Chelanga closing the first three podium finishes in 30:34.
Korir and Keter came home in fourth and fifth place in 30:37 and 30:49 respectively.
Reigning world U20 3000m steeplechase champion Jackline Chepkoech won the Athletics Kenya Central Rift Region Cross Country Championships that were today (Saturday 8) at the Lobo Village in Uasin Gishu County.
The race was to be held by Nandi County in the three County competitions of Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Baringo but was moved to Uasin Gishu, the venue for both National Cross Country championships as well as the Agnes Tirop Memorial World Cross Country Tour.
The 18 year-old led a podium sweep for Uasin Gishu runners when she cut the tape in 34:39.20 and was followed by Jescah Chelagat who crossed the line in second in 35:18.50 with Agnes Keino sealing the first three podium positions in 35:59.40.
In the senior category Vincent Kiprotich took the honors in 30:16.50 ahead of Shadrack Kipchirchir came home in 30:20.60 while Josphat Kipchirchir settled for third position in 30:29.25.
When Sam Chelanga was growing up in the village of Kabarsel, just north of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, Paul Tergat would stop by the house as Chelanga tended to the animals on his family’s farm.
In a country known for its distance runners, Tergat is one of Kenya’s greatest ever — a two-time Olympic medalist, five-time world cross country champion, and former world record holder in the marathon. Tergat was a training partner of Chelanga’s brother, Joshua (a 2:07 marathoner), and treated Chelanga like a younger brother — he’d give him 1,000 shillings in pocket money, and in return Chelanga would ferry around the runners in Tergat’s group and drop off water on training runs in Tergat’s Toyota Land Cruiser.
“He would never let anyone [else] drive but he said, ‘Hey Sam, come drive my truck,’” Chelanga says.
Sometimes Tergat would ask Chelanga what he wanted to become when he grew up. Chelanga’s answer was always the same: a lawyer. Chelanga’s home village was poor and lacked reliable access to safe drinking water and hospitals. Chelanga hoped that a law degree would help him to deliver social justice.
But a law degree requires going to college, and college costs money. Tergat told Chelanga that there was another route to college: running. Reluctantly, Chelanga took up the sport, setting in motion a 13-year journey that included a decorated collegiate career at Liberty University and professional stops in Eugene, Ore., Hanover, N.H., Tucson, Ariz., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
On Thursday, one day after finishing 4th at the USATF 10k Championships at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Chelanga, 33, announced that he has retired from professional running in order to enlist in the U.S. Army. On July 29, he will report to Fort Jackson in South Carolina for basic training; once he completes that, it’s off to Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia, beginning October 15. Chelanga would like to specialize in military intelligence.
Even though Chelanga says he grew to love running, he was never motivated by medals or glory. As he went on to win four NCAA titles at Liberty and five U.S. titles on the roads as a pro (he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2015), many things drove him: a college degree, helping his family and home village back in Kenya, representing the United States, supporting his wife, Marybeth, and their two sons, five-year-old Micah and one-year-old Noah. But he wasn’t the guy who went to bed every night dreaming about Olympic gold. When he and Marybeth started dating, Chelanga never spoke about running. When I ask him what his proudest accomplishment in running was, he tells me that it wasn’t a race, but instead the moment when he realized he was actually going to graduate with a college degree “because that is why I started running.”
Chelanga’s retirement announcement prompts several questions. The most obvious: why now? Chelanga, who has trained with Scott Simmons‘ American Distance Project in Colorado Springs since 2016, was the top American finisher at last year’s World Cross Country Championships, finishing in 11th place. This year, Chelanga ran a half marathon personal best of 60:37 in Houston in January, finished 14th at the World Half Marathon Championships in March (again, he was the top U.S. finisher), and won the U.S. 25K title in May. He has plenty left in the tank.
Which is precisely why Chelanga felt it was important to join the Army now.
“I’ve done everything that I wanted to do in running,” says Chelanga, who achieved personal bests of 13:04 in the 5,000m and 27:08 (still the collegiate record, set in a very famous race where Chris Solinsky ran 26:59 and Galen Rupp 27:10) in the 10,000m. “I’ve got more than I asked for when I came in…I don’t want to wait until I’m old or something. I feel young, I feel fresh, I feel like I have a lot of energy and I want to take this job when I’m going to serve at the best level of my ability.”
There’s also this fact: Chelanga no longer has an endorsement contract, as his Nike deal expired at the end of 2017 (Nike did offer to renew it, but Chelanga turned them down).
Chelanga, who considered joining the Kenyan Air Force as a teenager, has always been inspired by men in uniform. He was also born with a desire to serve, and that desire was not being met as a professional runner.
“I left running because I wanted to do something [where] every morning, I wake up and feel fulfilled,” Chelanga says.
Chelanga’s path to the Army is untraditional, especially when contrasted with the journeys of his training mates in Colorado Springs. Several of them, such as Shadrack Kipchirchir, Leonard Korir, and Paul Chelimo, joined the Army as a way to acquire U.S. citizenship and continue their running careers representing the United States. Chelanga had to wait five years to become a naturalized U.S. citizen and decided to join the Army three years later.
Chelanga says that former Army WCAP coach Dan Browne did try to recruit him to join the Army while he was in college, but Chelanga says he was told by a recruiter that he could only enlist if he was a U.S. citizen or was in possession of a green card. That was not actually the case — the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program under which Chelimo and others gained their citizenship was established in 2009 — but regardless, Chelanga signed a contract with Nike when he exhausted his eligibility in 2011 rather than attempt to enlist in the military.
Chelanga has not forgotten his home village back in Kenya. During his professional career, Chelanga sent water filters back to Kabarsel so that every family had access to clean drinking water. Recently, he heard about the death of a neighbor, who passed away at the same hospital where Chelanga’s father died and hopes that one day he may be able to help upgrade it.
“I’ve always wanted to do something about that hospital,” Chelanga says. “It’s the only hospital in my district and it’s not even good.”
But Chelanga has other priorities, too. He’s a grown man, a family man, and believes he must do right by the country that has given him so much.
“I got into running with the mindset that I was going to help my community back in Kenya,” Chelanga says. “But now I have two kids, and those kids are going to grow up in the United States. This is their new community, this is my new community…Leading young men and women for the United States in the Army, it’s the biggest honor I would have ever asked. Not that I underestimate that what running has done or can do, but I just feel in my heart that this is a calling for me.”
Olympic 10,000 silver medalist Paul Tanui faces a stern test in the two mile race at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on May 26.
Tanui, who is also the world 10,000m bronze medallist faces a quality field in the event including compatriot Ronald Kwemoi, world 5000m champion Muktar Edris of Ethiopia. Kwemoi won the Bowerman Mile last year while Edris ended Mo Farah’s reign last summer at the World Championships.
The Ethiopian beat Farah, always a fast finisher, at his own game with a ferocious 52.4 last lap. For Edris, the gold was his first track major medal of any color – his only other medal being the bronze he earned at the 2015 World Cross Country Championships in China.
Meanwhile, his Ethiopian teammate, Yomif Kejelcha, raced to a second successive world indoor 3000m title in Birmingham last month. Kejelcha, 20, has twice raced to unprecedented feats at Hayward Field. In 2014, he became the youngest ever 5000m winner at the World Junior Championships, in Eugene. In 2015 he made his biggest splash, winning the Pre-Classic and becoming the youngest 5000m winner by four years. A fantastic season saw him winning the Diamond League as well with a 12:53.98 PB. He’s also the fastest in the field at 3000m with 7:28.19, the current world U20 record.
The youth fountain from Ethiopia continues with 18-year-old Selemon Barega, who became the youngest indoor 3000m medallist with his silver medal finish behind Kejelcha in Birmingham. He won the world U20 5000m title in 2016.
The field also includes Paul Chelimo, the only racer in the field with medals from Rio and last summer’s World Championships. Both –Rio silver and London bronze — came with thrilling finishes and are among the best ever by a US athlete.
Newly-crowned double Commonwealth Games champion Joshua Cheptegei is also in the mix. He was second over 10,000m at last year’s World Championships and the world junior champion over the distance in 2014. Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed is also in the field, the double silver Commonwealth medallist after finishing runner-up behind Cheptegei in both track races in Gold Coast.
Others in the field include Bahrain’s Albert Rop, who has a 12:51.96 5000m lifetime best, Ryan Hill, the 2016 world indoor 3000m silver medallist, who has a 7:30.93 personal best over that distance, Eric Jenkins, 26, who won indoor NCAA titles for Oregon over 3000m and 5000m, Hassan Mead, the US 10,000m champion, Shadrack Kipchirchir, the US road 5km champion; and Australian Patrick Tiernan, the 2016 NCAA cross country champion.
The 2-mile distance comes in a year with no major international championship 5000m races outside of the annual IAAF Diamond League, which incorporates the two mile and 3000m into its point standings for the 5000m. The-Pre Classic two mile record of 8:03.50, set in 2007 by Australian Craig Mottram, remains the fastest run on US soil.