Isaac Kiprono SONGOK

Athlete Profile

    Kenya Kenya
    25 APR 1984
Isaak Songok wins the Rome Golden League 5000 metres (Getty Images)


Discipline Performance Wind Venue Date Records Results Score
800 Metres 1:51.52 Namur (BEL) 31 AUG 2002 983
800 Metres 1:50.5h * Keiyo (KEN) 28 JUN 2003 1012
1500 Metres 3:30.99 Zürich (SUI) 06 AUG 2004 1231
One Mile 3:54.56 Linz (AUT) 20 AUG 2001 1142
2000 Metres 4:56.86 Olympiastadion, Berlin (GER) 31 AUG 2001 1165
3000 Metres 7:28.72 Rieti (ITA) 27 AUG 2006 1247
5000 Metres 12:48.66 Zürich (SUI) 18 AUG 2006 1252
10 Kilometres 28:46 Rennes (FRA) 14 OCT 2012 1071


* Not legal.


Discipline Performance Wind Venue Date Records Results Score
1500 Metres 3:39.05 Stockholm (SWE) 20 FEB 2007 1170
3000 Metres 7:39.32 Karlsruhe (GER) 11 FEB 2007 1206


* Not legal.

Latest Active Season: 2013


Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records Results Score
5000 Metres 14:18.6h Nairobi (KEN) 25 MAY 2013 939


800 Metres

Performance Place Date
2002 1:51.52 Namur (BEL) 31 AUG 2002


1500 Metres

Performance Place Date
2011 3:53.69 Sydney (AUS) 19 MAR 2011
2009 3:36.41 Shanghai (CHN) 20 SEP 2009
2006 3:31.85 Paris (FRA) 08 JUL 2006
2005 3:31.72 Olympiastadion, Berlin (GER) 04 SEP 2005
2004 3:30.99 Zürich (SUI) 06 AUG 2004
2003 3:31.54 Heusden-Zolder (BEL) 02 AUG 2003
2002 3:34.20 Zürich (SUI) 16 AUG 2002
2001 3:35.55 Leverkusen (GER) 26 AUG 2001


One Mile

Performance Place Date
2008 3:57.69 Bislett Stadion, Oslo (NOR) 06 JUN 2008
2007 3:56.17 Oslo (NOR) 15 JUN 2007
2002 3:57.16 Liège (BEL) 27 AUG 2002
2001 3:54.56 Linz (AUT) 20 AUG 2001


2000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2011 5:06.37 Reims (FRA) 05 JUL 2011
2003 4:58.22 Naimette-Xhovémont (BEL) 02 SEP 2003
2001 4:56.86 Olympiastadion, Berlin (GER) 31 AUG 2001


3000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2011 7:45.38 Metz (FRA) 27 JUN 2011
2010 7:45.12 Olympiastadion, Berlin (GER) 22 AUG 2010
2009 7:32.57 Rieti (ITA) 06 SEP 2009
2008 7:35.06 Stade Louis II, Monaco (MON) 29 JUL 2008
2007 7:38.10 Doha (QAT) 11 MAY 2007
2006 7:28.72 Rieti (ITA) 27 AUG 2006
2005 7:30.14 Blankers-Koen Stadion, Hengelo (NED) 29 MAY 2005


5000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2013 14:18.6h Nairobi (KEN) 25 MAY 2013
2012 14:07.2h Nairobi (KEN) 18 MAY 2012
2011 13:38.43 Olympic Park, Melbourne (AUS) 03 MAR 2011
2008 13:06.25 Ostrava (CZE) 12 JUN 2008
2007 13:15.70 Ostrava (CZE) 27 JUN 2007
2006 12:48.66 Zürich (SUI) 18 AUG 2006
2005 12:52.29 Stadio Olimpico, Roma (ITA) 08 JUL 2005
2000 13:37.3h Nairobi (KEN) 22 SEP 2000


10 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2012 28:46 Rennes (FRA) 14 OCT 2012


1500 Metres

Performance Place Date
2006/07 3:39.05 Stockholm (SWE) 20 FEB 2007


3000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2006/07 7:39.32 Karlsruhe (GER) 11 FEB 2007

Honours - World Cross Country Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. Short Race 10:55 Fukuoka (JPN) 01 APR 2006
3. Short Race 11:39 St-Etienne (FRA) 19 MAR 2005
7. Short Race 11:45 Bruxelles (BEL) 20 MAR 2004

Honours - World U20 Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
7. 1500 Metres 3:44.93 National Stadium, Kingston (JAM) 21 JUL 2002

Honours - World U18 Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 1500 Metres 3:36.78 Debrecen (HUN) 15 JUL 2001

Honours - African Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 5000 Metres 13:49.91 Addis Abeba (ETH) 04 MAY 2008

Honours - World Athletics Final

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
3. 3000 Metres 7:39.50 Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion, Stuttgart (GER) 09 SEP 2006
3. 5000 Metres 13:40.24 Stade Louis II, Monaco (MON) 10 SEP 2005

Honours - Golden League

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 5000 Metres 12:55.79 Oslo (NOR) 02 JUN 2006
1. 5000 Metres 12:52.29 Stadio Olimpico, Roma (ITA) 08 JUL 2005

Honours - National Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 1500 Metres 3:38.6h Nairobi (KEN) 12 JUL 2003
Results in:

5000 Metres

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
25 MAY 2013 Nairobi Kenyan Police Ch., Nairobi KENKEN F F 4. 14:18.6h

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Updated 23 August 2007

Isaac Kiprono SONGOK, Kenya (1500m/5000m)

Born 5 April 1984, Kaptel, near Kapsabet, Nandi District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya.

Former student at St. Patrick's High School, Iten, Keiyo District.

Lives mainly in Iten. Based in Tubingen, Germany during track season.

Manager: James Templeton.  Coach: Bro. Colm O'Connell

Native language: Nandi (Kalenjin). Second of seven children. Father small-scale farmer.

Isaac Songok began running in primary school and was National primary school champion at 5000m in 1999 and 2000 (also 2nd in Steeplechase in 1999). He finished 3rd in Kenya's 2000 World Junior trials 5000m (13:37, running barefoot) and was spotted by Bro. Colm O’Connell, who urged him to switch to 1500.

The next year Songok won the primary schools 1500, then Kenya's trials for the World Youth Championships 1500.  At the World Youths, in Debrecen, Hungary, he took the title in a championship record 3:36.78.

With help of fellow villager Bernard Lagat and manager James Templeton, Songok ran in four late-season European meetings in 2001, improving his PB to 3:35.55 in Leverkusen, breaking Jim Ryun's 37-year-old under-18 mile record in Linz (3:54.56) and setting a World Junior record at 2000m in Berlin (4:56.86).

In 2002 he won the 1500 in Kenya's national junior championships (3:39.2, faster than the winning time in the senior nationals, held simultaneously). Later in 2002 he lowered his PB to 3:34.20 in Zurich, but finished a disappointing 7th in the World Junior Championships in Kingston, where, according to Bro. Colm, "he was a bit of a marked man" and was badly jostled in the final.

In 2003 Songok won Kenya's senior National Championships (3:38.6), finished 2nd in the World Championships trials (edging Lagat), and a week later in Heusden lowered his PB to 3:31.54. He showed his inexperience in the Paris World Championships, however, mistiming his kick and barely qualifying in his semi-final, then finding himself unable to follow Hicham El Guerrouj's sustained drive in the final (finished 10th in 3:34.39).

Songok claimed a couple of major scalps during Kenya's 2004 cross country season, beating both current and former World 5000m Champions Eliud Kipchoge and Richard Limo in the North Rift provincial competition. He took 5th at 4km in the Kenya World Cross Country trials and withstood the Ethiopian/Qatari (ex-Kenyan) onslaught at the Brussels World Cross Country to finish 7th (2nd among Kenyans) in the 4 km race.

Up to the Olympics, Songok’s 2004 outdoor season included six Grand Prox races and two brutal rounds of the Kenyan Olympic trials, in all of which he finished lower than 3rd only once (4th in 3:31.94 in the speedy Rome GL, behind Rachid Ramzi, Lagat and Mehdi Baala). He won the Kenya trials over a formidable field and finished 3rd in the dramatic Zurich 1500 (PB 3:30.99) as Lagat edged El Guerrouj in the year’s best time (3:27.40).

In Athens, however, after cruising in his heat (3:38.89), he ran tentatively in the semi-final, much as he had in Paris, barely reaching the final on time (3:37.10). And once again, he seemed unprepared for the erratic pace of the unpaced final and was left well back at the bell, ultimately coming in 12th in 3:41.72. Ten days later, in Brussels, he ran a creditable 3:32.02 for 6th behind four of the top five men from Athens. But in the more tactical Berlin race he was well off the pace in 11th (3:36.23). The 20-year-old’s long season ended with another 11th place (3:48.32) in the jog-and-kick World Athletics Final.

Songok spent the winter training in Kenya and was well-prepared for the 2005 cross country season. He dominated strong 4 km fields in both the North Rift provincial and the National Championships/World Cross Country trials. At the World Cross Country itself he couldn’t match Kenenisa Bekele’s sustained drive and was outkicked on the run in by team-mate Abraham Chebii, but he collected the bronze, his first global senior medal.

On the track he began experimenting with his former event, the 5000, after warming up with a 7:30.14 PB at 3000 in Hengelo in late May. At Kenya’s World Championships trials a month later, he pulled away from a brilliant 5000 field that included reigning world champion Kipchoge, to win in the superb altitude time of 13:11.1.

Two weeks after that he topped Kipchoge again with a formidable 12:52.29 PB in Rome, but in the final at the World Championships in Helsinki (after winning his qualifying heat in 13:20.36), Songok once again allowed himself to be caught in the crowd when the sprinting started at the end of an 11-lap jog, finishing 10th in 13:37.10. He fared a little better off a similar slow pace in the unpaced World Athletics Final (3rd in 13:40).

It began to seem that the wide open spaces of cross country suited Songok better than the track. In early 2006 he had no trouble handling the always daunting mob of talented youngsters in Kenya’s two-stage World Cross Country trials, trading wins in the 4k with training partner Augustine Choge (the new Commonwealth 5000 champion). Then at the World Cross Country Championships,  in Fukuoka, Songok put up the toughest cross country challenge Bekele had faced in five years, losing to the five-time double champion by a single second in the 4k.

On the track, too, Songok began to seem more confident and comfortable. In nine races in 2006, in some of the most competitive meets on the GP circuit, he missed the podium only once and notched two superb PBs (7:28.32 to win in Rieti and 12:48.66 for 2nd behind Bekele’s 12:48.25 world leader in Zurich).

Songok tried indoor racing for the first time in 2007, winning two out of three, and then cruised through just three races on the outdoor Grand Prix circuit, recording what would seem discouraging times and places if it were not for his masterful win in the Kenyan World Championships trials 5000 (13:20.0 at 1700m altitude).

That performance, in an unpaced contest, may indicate that Songok has at last learned how to run championship races. If so, he is the most likely candidate to sustain Kenya’s long string of 5000m  World Championships victories. (Kenyans have won the last three and seven of the eight since 1991).

Yearly progression

1500/3000/5000:  2001 - 3:35.55; 2002 - 3:34.20; 2003 - 3:31.54; 2004 – 3:30.99; 2005 – 3:31.72 / 7:30.14 / 12:52.29; 2006 – 3:31.85 / 7:28.32 / 12:48.66;  2007 – 3:39.05i / 7:38.10 / 13:15.70.

Personal Bests

1500m: 3:30.99 (2004)
3000m: 7:28.32 (2006)
5000m: 12:48.66 (2006)

Career Highlights

2001:  1st  World Youth Championships, (1500m)
2002:  7th  World Junior Championships, (1500m)
2003:  9th  World Championships (1500m)
2004:  7th  World Cross Country Championships (4k)
2004: 12th  Olympic Games (1500m)
2005:  3rd  World Cross Country Championships (4k)
2005: 10th  World Championships (5000m)
2006:  10th  World Cross Country Championships 2nd (4k)


Prepared by John Manners for the IAAF ’Focus on Athletes’ project. ©  IAAF 2007

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