Two time world marathon Abel Kirui’s journeys to stardom was not easy but hard work and dedicating his time perfecting running skills.
The former Olympic marathon silver medalist is one runner who has maintained his running status for the last 16 years in marathon and other road running championships across the world.
The athlete, who started running while in primary school, was a coward runner especially competing against his seniors but managed to reach Distract level. The same continued in secondary school.
“But my talent started growing in 2004 when I joined training camp that shaped my running skills. In 2005, I ran well in many road races, winning almost all. In 2006, I joined marathon and paced for Haile Gebreslasie but I decided to finish the race because my mind was reading far and finished in 9th,” said Kirui.
In 2009, he won his first world marathon title and defended in 2011 and in 2012 he won silver at the Olympic Games in London in a marathon won by Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich. With such results, Kirui says he was so happy considering how far he had come from.
“From 2012, I did not run after picking an injury and came back in 2016 winning Chicago marathon after winning Vienna marathon with a course record. That is a good history and I have medals but the most valuable are world champion and Olympic silver medals but once you come to my home, I have a sack full of medals from cities across the world,” said Kirui.
In high school, Kirui served as games captain as well as school head boy due to self-discipline that has been his driving force.
However he said that Athletics Kenya should have athletes’ cover so that when they get an injury, they can be treated.
“Upcoming athletes suffer most when they are injured because they lack funds to treat themselves. Those are additional things AK should to do. They should have medical cover and insurance so that when some of us retire, we don’t become the topic of the day of running poor in their lives,” added Kirui.
He added that if one is disciplined, concerned, training and focused, they can run for many years.
“My first outing in Europe was in 2005 and now it’s about 15 years and I still have energy to and aim to run in the Olympics. Am telling young athletes to use their time well. They should start from track, move slowly to small road races before heading into the marathon,” advised Kirui.
But young athletes are now rushing to marathon running in search of big money but that is not good at all. That means they lack history in running. They should do it gradually to grow.
He said that his greatest moment was when he won the Chicago marathon.
“I hope you saw how I danced. I wanted to do something on the American soil. That was the greatest point in my career,” concluded Kirui.