Tag Archives: Stephen Sambu

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.

Kipsang and Kiplagat focus on New York despite running in Berlin last month

Defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor leads a host of stars to next month’s New York Marathon.

Kamworor, who is the three-time World Half Marathon champion, will face stiff competition from several of his compatriots in the 42km race during the ‘Big Apple’ race.

Kamworor clocked 2:10:53 to win the event last year.

The defending champion will be up against former winner and world record holder Wilson Kipsang, who competed at last month’s Berlin Marathon, finishing third in 2:06:48.

The 2017 London Marathon champion, Daniel Wanjiru, will also be in the mix.

Wanjiru has a personal best of 2:05:21 set at the Amsterdam Marathon two years ago and will fancy his chances of performing well at the event.

Former New York City Marathon champion Stanley Biwott will also be seeking to reclaim the crown he won in 2015 in 2:10:34 while Stephen Sambu, who clinched the New York City Half Marathon in 2016 in 1:01:16, has also been entered.

In the women’s category, two- time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat, who finished fourth at the Berlin three weeks ago in 2:21:18, aims to unseat last year’s champion Sharlene Flanagan of the USA.

London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot will also be seeking to win her second marathon crown after her exploit in the British capital in April.

Mary Keitany will be chasing her fourth New York City Marathon crown after victories in 2014-2016.

Keitany is one the country’s most decorated marathoners with wins in other big city marathons including London, where she has won three times (2011, 2012 and 2016).

US-based Sally Kipyego made her marathon debut in 2016 in New York, finishing second to Keitany in 2:28.01 and will be aiming to go one place better.

Flanagan beats Sambu to win the Falmouth Road Race

It was an entertaining finish when the three men battled for the finish that included several fist pumps.

University of Michigan standout Ben Flanagan took down a stacked field of elite athletes to take the top honors at the Falmouth Road Race that was held on Sunday (19) in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

Northern Arizona Elite’s Scott Fauble and Kenya’s Stephen Sambu battled with Flanagan with a little more than a mile remaining in the race, but Fauble made his way to the front and led the pack that was narrowed down to six men—Sambu, Olympian Leonard Korir, Haron Lagat, Flanagan, Fauble, and Martin Hehir. The final mile of the race ended with a thrilling kick from the 23-year-old who managed to beat a group that included seasoned road racing champions and an Olympic finalist to cut the tape in 32:21.

“It’s unbelievable, honestly. It’s been a season with a lot of new experiences for me. I’ve found myself at these events that I could only really have dreamed of competing at,” Flanagan told race organizers after the race. “The attitude has been there’s no specific expectation. I know what I’m capable of doing, but there’s nothing to lose coming into these races.”

Fauble crossed the line in second place in 32:23,with Korir closing the podium three in 32:28.

Defending champion Stephen Sambu crossed the line a distant fourth in 32:32.

After crossing the three-mile split in 13:58, Sambu attempted to drop the rest of the field with a surge, but the top pack remained close behind. By the five mile mark, Sambu led a large group of 10 competitors.

Flanagan earned $15,000 in prize money, which he said would be used to pay for his final semester of college at Michigan.

Kirui, Karoki relish Chicago marathon challenge in battle against Farah

Kenyan runners Geoffrey Kirui and Bedan Karoki may not be the top names at the Chicago marathon, but the duo are holding their cards close to their chest as they plot a surprise show on Oct 7.

Kirui, the 2017 Boston marathon champion, was pushed to second position in defense of his title in April while Karoki, who had finished third in last year’s London race, was fifth in the English capital clocking 2:08:34.

Now the two are relishing challenging the status quo in Chicago, albeit from an obscure position.

“The pressure is no longer on me like was the case in London. I can relax and focus on running my own race and leave the top names to choke each other out,” Wanjiru said on Tuesday from his training base in Eldoret.

Organizers have assembled together at least 11 men who have run two hours and seven minutes or faster, including past champions Abel Kirui and Dickson Chumba.

They will face off against Britain’s Mo Farah, Kenneth Kipkemoi, Paul Lonyangata, Kirui, Karoki, Stephen Sambu and Augustine Choge.

“We have put together an exciting elite field, and it should be a fast race to the top of the podium,” said Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski.

“This year’s elite field is a collection of some of the best international athletes running on the global stage today. We are confident that they will continue the great tradition of memorable and record setting performances in Chicago,” he added.

Karoki, a two-time Olympian in the 10,000m, is an exciting athlete who made his marathon debut in 2017.

Prior to jumping to the marathon, he spent nearly a decade polishing his speed on the track, representing Kenya three times in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships.

“I still need to learn more in marathon. But I have high hopes of doing well in Chicago. Training is going on well with no injury concerns,” said Karoki.

Kipkemoi boasts the 25th fastest time in history over the half marathon distance, 59:01, and he started 2018 with a successful marathon debut, running 2:05:44 to win the Rotterdam Marathon.

On the other hand, Lonyangata missed a spot in the top three in Chicago in 2016, coming home in fourth after enduring uneven pace swings.

He set his personal best, 2:06:10, while winning the 2017 Paris Marathon, and he welcomed 2018 by becoming the first back-to-back winner of the Paris Marathon in nearly two decades.

However, Kirui experienced a significant career breakthrough when he won the laurel wreath at the 2017 Boston Marathon, shaking off American Galen Rupp to victory.

That win set him up for the 2017 IAAF World Marathon Championships, where he was eighth.

Kirui returned to Boston in to defend his title in April, but he failed to match the strides of a hard charging Yuki Kawauchi and he was forced to settle for second.

October marks Kirui’s second attempt in Chicago, where he had made his marathon debut in 2014, but he dropped out of the race.

Source: xinhuanet.com

Abel Kirui,Dickson Chumba and Brigid Kosgei Headline Bank of America Chicago Marathon

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that several international running stars are joining the 41st annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon elite athlete competition.

Past champions Abel Kirui (KEN) and Dickson Chumba (KEN) lead the charge on the men’s side, and 2017 runner-up Brigid Kosgei (KEN) and two-time podium finisher Birhane Dibaba (ETH) stand out among the women. They will join previously announced global sensations Mo Farah (GBR), Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) and Suguru Osako (JPN).

This year’s elite field includes 11 men who have run 2:07 or faster and nine women (including three Americans) who have run 2:25 or faster. Moreover, it features five of the top eight men who placed on top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) Series XI leaderboard and two of the top seven women.

“We have put together an exciting elite field, and it should be a fast race to the top of the podium,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. ‘This year’s elite field is a collection of some of the best international and American athletes running on the global stage today. We are confident that they will continue the great tradition of memorable and record setting performances in Chicago.”

Men’s International Field

Dickson Chumba set his personal best, 2:04:32, in Chicago in 2014 when he finished third on a historic day that witnessed three of the top five times ever run in Chicago (Chumba is the fifth fastest runner in Chicago’s history). He came back to win in 2015 and while he tried to defend his title in 2016, he came up three seconds short, finishing second to Abel Kirui. Since he embarked on his marathon career in 2010, he has finished 17 marathons and he boasts an impressive record: five wins, five runner-ups and four third place finishes. He lines up this fall after opening his 2018 season with his second win at the Tokyo Marathon. His time, 2:05:30, was the second fastest winning time in Tokyo’s history. Chumba finished in fifth place on the AbbottWMM Series XI leaderboard.

Abel Kirui literally danced across the finish line when he won his first AbbottWMM in Chicago in 2016, defeating a strong field in a tactical race that saw erratic pace swings from 4:33 per mile to 5:24. He returned in 2017 to defend his title, but he failed to match Galen Rupp’s kick at the end. Kirui consistently performs well in both tactical and paced races; he finished fourth in London to commence his 2018 season, and he owns a personal best of 2:05:04. Kirui also stands out as one of the most decorated athletes in the field – he took home a silver medal in the marathon at the 2012 London Olympics and he won both the 2009 and 2011 IAAF World Marathon Championships.

Mosinet Geremew (ETH) and Birhanu Legese (ETH) bring both youth and speed to a competitive international field. Geremew started 2018 with a bang, breaking the course record in Dubai and posting a fresh personal best, 2:04:00. He has run south of the hour mark four times in the half marathon, and he is a four-time winner of the Yangzhou Jianzhen International Half Marathon. Chicago marks his second shot at competing in an AbbottWMM (and just his fourth go at 42K). He lined up last fall in Berlin and ran away with an impressive third place finish.

Legese, the youngest athlete in this year’s elite field, opened the year by making his marathon debut in Dubai, finishing sixth in a swift 2:04:15. Prior to moving up in distance, he specialized in the half marathon, winning titles in New Delhi (twice), Berlin and the United Arab Emirates. He holds a personal best in the half of 59:20.

Kenneth Kipkemoi (KEN), Paul Lonyangata (KEN), Geoffrey Kirui (KEN), Bedan Karoki (KEN), Stephen Sambu (KEN) and Augustine Choge (KEN) continue the marathon’s tradition of welcoming strong athletes from Kenya to the windy city. Kipkemoi boasts the 25th fastest time in history over the half marathon distance, 59:01, and he started 2018 with a successful marathon debut, running 2:05:44 to win the Rotterdam Marathon. He has represented Kenya in both the half marathon and the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships.

Lonyangata just missed a spot in the top three in Chicago in 2016, coming home in fourth after enduring uneven pace swings. He set his personal best, 2:06:10, while winning the 2017 Paris Marathon, and he welcomed 2018 by becoming the first back-to-back winner of the Paris Marathon in nearly two decades.

Geoffrey Kirui experienced a significant career breakthrough when he won the laurel wreath at the 2017 Boston Marathon, shaking off American Galen Rupp in the 24th mile to cruise home to victory. That win set him up for what happened next: he took the crown at the 2017 IAAF World Marathon Championships.

Kirui returned to Boston this spring to defend his title, but he failed to match the strides of a hard charging Yuki Kawauchi and he was forced to settle for second. October marks Kirui’s second attempt in Chicago – he made his marathon debut here in 2014, but he dropped out of the race.

Karoki, a two-time Olympian in the 10,000m, is an exciting athlete who made his marathon debut in 2017. Prior to jumping to the marathon, he spent nearly a decade polishing his speed on the track, representing Kenya three times in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships. He made a splash this winter when he won the Ras Al Khaimah International Half Marathon in a blistering 58:42, making him the fourth fastest man in history in the half (with the fifth fastest time). He finished second at the 2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, and he has finished third and fifth at the London Marathon in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

As a four-time winner of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K (with three of the 14 fastest times in course history), Sambu returns to Chicago as a fan favorite. He made his marathon debut here in 2016 with a fifth place finish, and he returned in 2017 to accrue another fifth place. Sambu’s speed over shorter distances predicts a faster marathon PR. With the reintroduction of pacers into this year’s field, Sambu could finally land in the top three.

Choge, a 2008 Olympian in the 1500m, has been a factor on the global stage for nearly half his life. He competed as a junior and, as a senior competitor, he has amassed an impressive resume: a world record as part of the 4x1500m Kenyan relay team, a Commonwealth Games 5000m win, a silver and bronze at the indoor IAAF World Championships, five Diamond League titles and eight Gold League wins. Choge started his transition to the roads in 2013 and he holds a personal best of 59:26 in the half. He will be making his marathon debut on October 7.

Ryo Kiname (JPN) joins previously announced Kawauchi as strong contender from Japan. Kiname, racing in North America for the first time, enters Chicago with a fresh personal best and a seventh place finish from the 2018 Tokyo Marathon, 2:08:08. He has one marathon career win to his name – the Sapporo Hokkaido Marathon in 2016.

International men’s elite field

Name

Mosinet Geremew

Birhanu Legese

Dickson Chumba

Abel Kirui

Kenneth Kipkemoi

Paul Lonyangata

Mo Farah

Geoffrey Kirui

Suguru Osako

Bedan Karoki

Ryo Kiname

Yuki Kawauchi

Mohamed Reda

Stephen Sambu

Tsukasa Koyama

Yohei Suzuki

Taku Fujimoto

Pardon Ndhlovu

Daniel Wallis

Augustine Choge

Hugh Williams

Country

ETH

ETH

KEN

KEN

KEN

KEN

GBR

KEN

JPN

KEN

JPN

JPN

MAR

KEN

JPN

JPN

JPN

ZIM

NZL

KEN

AUS

Personal best

2:04:00

2:04:15

2:04:32

2:05:04

2:05:44

2:06:10

2:06:21

2:06:27

2:07:19

2:07:41

2:08:08

2:08:14

2:09:18

2:11:07

2:11:20

2:14:53

2:15:30

2:16:22

2:19:24

Debut

Debut

Women’s International Field

Brigid Kosgei (KEN) ran spectacularly in Chicago last fall, finishing second to Tirunesh Dibaba, arguably one of the greatest runners in history. En route to her second place finish in Chicago, she smashed her personal best, running 2:20:22. Nine weeks later, she won the Honolulu Marathon in 2:22:15, a course record by over five minutes. Kosgei recorded her first marathon finish in 2015, and she has been making waves ever since. Most recently, she finished second in London in a new PR, 2:20:13. She finished in third place on the AbbottWMM leaderboard.

Roza Dereje (ETH) impressed fans in Dubai to start her 2018 season, taking down the course record and setting a three-minute PR, 2:19:17, to become the eighth fastest woman in history. She followed Dubai with another personal best, 1:07:00, and a second place finish in April at the Istanbul Half Marathon. Prior to gaining global recognition this winter, she started making a name for herself after she won the Shanghai Marathon twice in 2016 and 2017; in 2017, she posted the second fastest time, 2:22:43, in the history of the Shanghai Marathon. Dereje made her global debut in 2015 with a 2:34:02 marathon. Since then, she has run nine marathons. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon marks her first time running in an AbbottWMM.

Birhane Dibaba (ETH) took home a pair of third place finishes in Chicago in 2014 and 2015, and she arrives this fall with something only 27 women have accomplished in history: a sub 2:20 PR. Dibaba joined this exclusive club after winning the Tokyo Marathon this winter in 2:19:51. She primarily races the marathon distance, and she has finished in the top five of 13 of the 14 marathons she has run. Her compatriot, Shure Demise (ETH), is running her first Bank of America Chicago Marathon, but she has fared well on the global stage since she picked up back-to-back wins in Toronto in 2015 and 2016. She set her personal best, 2:20:59, at the 2015 Dubai Marathon. She performed well at the 2017 IAAF World Marathon Championships, finishing fifth. She opened her 2018 season with a fourth place at the Tokyo Marathon.

Yuka Ando (JPN) made headlines in 2017 (just shy of her 23rd birthday) when she clocked the fastest ever debut marathon by a Japanese woman, 2:21:36, at the Nagoya Marathon. Her debut performance also made her the fourth fastest woman in Japan’s history, and it was the fastest time by a Japanese woman since 2005. As a result, she punched her ticket to the 2017 IAAF World Marathon Championships where she finished 17th. She kicked off her 2018 season with a third place finish at the Osaka Marathon, but most of her energy this summer has been focused on the track sharpening her speed over 5000m and 10,000m.

Madai Perez (MEX) is back after a successful run in 2017. A two-time Olympian in the marathon, announced her comeback last fall with a 2:24:44 fourth place finish in Chicago. She logged this time fourteen years after she made her marathon debut in Chicago, and 11 years after she ran her still-standing personal best in Chicago, 2:22:59. She is a national champion in the 10,000m (2003, 2010) and a silver medalist in the Pan American Games Marathon, (2011); she has also represented Mexico at the IAAF World Championships in both the marathon and half marathon.

Alexi Pappas (GRE) announced her debut on Instagram, writing “I’ve broken tape in Chicago * paced the 26.2 ‘ I’m coming back this October ‘ to chase what I dream to do: my MARATHON DEBUT!” Pappas, a 2016 Olympian (she holds dual Greek and American citizenship), is familiar with the energy and enthusiasm of Chicago’s running community.

She won the 2015 and 2016 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, but her first experience in Chicago was the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon where she led a group of U.S. Olympic Trials hopefuls as a pacer. Pappas experienced an impressive Olympic debut performance in the 10,000m. She set the Greek national record and a new PR to finish 17th in 31:36.16.

Other notable athletes include Jessica Draskau Petersson (DEN) with a personal best of 2:30:07; Vianey De la Rosa (MEX) with a personal best of 2:32:01; Dayna Pidhoresky (CAN) with a personal best of 2:36:08; and Hiruni Wijayaratne (SRI) with a personal best of 2:36:35.

International women’s elite field

 

Name

Roza Dereje

Birhane Dibaba

Brigid Kosgei

Shure Demise

Yuka Ando

Madai Perez

Jessica Draskau Petersson

Vianey De la Rosa

Dayna Pidhoresky

Hiruni Wijayaratne

Melanie Myrand

Chirine Njeim

Alexi Pappas

Country

ETH

ETH

KEN

ETH

JPN

MEX

DEN

MEX

CAN

SRI

CAN

LBN

GRE

Personal best

2:19:17

2:19:51

2:20:13

2:20:59

2:21:36

2:22:59

2:30:07

2:32:01

2:36:08

2:36:35

2:39:07

2:39:21

Debut

Journalists interested in covering the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon can apply for media credentials now at ChicagoMarathon.com.

Source: Runnersweb.com

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.”