Never at a Kenyan race has there been such a galaxy of International stars from past, present & future.
It was a day of joyous celebration on Saturday in Iten, Kenya at the Shoe4Africa Peace run. Over 560 school girls came out to run a 4km peace run powered by Leppin.
The story of the day was the amazing turnout of Kenya’s international stars who, led by Douglas Wakiihuri and Luke Kibet, World champions in the marathon, walked through Iten town on an athlete’s parade of peace with all the children singing and dancing behind, walking behind shouting Amani Kenya (Peace in Kenya) Shoe4Africa Run for Peace.
All were dressed in yellow T-shirts. There was hugging, crying and dancing not only from the children, but also from the athletes, many of which had not seen each other in decades.
Priscah Jepteling was the winner of the girls’ race, flagged off by Nyandika Maiyoro and Wilson Kiprugut, the first Kenyan to run in the Olympics and the first Kenyan to win an Olympic medal.
Chris Cheboiboch & Timothy Cherigat, a Boston runner-up and a Boston winner, were rabbits to lead the girls on pace. Holding the finishers tape were the flag bearers Wakiihuri, a Kikuyu, and Kibet from the Kalenjin.
As the runners passed the finish line, all the stars handed a pair of running shoes to all of the runners, exercise books and pencils too.
At the awards ceremony Amos Biwott, the man who won the first steeplechase Olympic Gold handed out a new windows vista laptop computer to Kiptingo Primary school, money for books went to the second prize school, awarded by Moses Kiptanui, and Moses Tanui gave out a similar prize for Kamariny Primary.
Another legend of the sport, Olympic steeplechase champion Matthew Birir was on hand to give out the sports watches to the top three individual finishers.
All the international athletes introduced themselves, the crowds sang, and the day ended on a fitting note as Douglas Wakiihuri was embraced by the crowds as he came up and taught the school children a song he had written in the local Kalenjin tongue.
The area MP Mr. Cheptwony, and the acting District Commissioner, were also in attendance.
Toby Tanser for the IAAF
Athletes in attendance:
Daniel Komen World Champion 1997
Matthew Birir Olympic Steeplechase Champion 1992
Moses Tanui World Champion 10,000 & Half Marathon
Moses Kiptanui Three time world champion steeplechase Olympic silver
Kimutai Kosgei Amsterdam Marathon champion, Boston runners up
Timothy Cherigat Boston Marathon Champion 2004
Luke Kibet World Marathon Champion 2007
Lornah Kiplagat World champion cross country, double world champion road
Chris Cheboiboch Fastest ever runner up at the New York Marathon
William Koila former world best junior 1500m record
John Yuda World half and world cross country silver medallist
Mike Boit Olympic Bronze 1972, Commonwealth Games Gold 1982
Paul Koech World Half Marathon Champion 1999
Ben Maiyo Second place Boston Marathon
Janeth “Eldoret Express” Jepkosgei World 800m champion 2007
Ezekiel Kemboi Olympic Steeplechase Champion 2004
Japheth Kimutai Commonwealth Games Champion 800m 1998
Douglas Wakiihuri World Marathon Champion 1987, Olympic Silver 1988
Nyandika Maiyoro First Ever Kenyan to run in the Olympics
Wilson Kiprugut First Olympic medalist for Kenya bronze 1964 800 (and 1968 Silver)
John Litei Commonwealth Games bronze 2006 800m
Fred Kiprop, 2:06 Amsterdam Marathon
Katui Kipkemboi, Asian Games Silver 5000
Duncan Cheruiyot ParaOlmpics two gold 22004
Sylvia Kibet African Games & African Championships bronze medallist
James Kosgei Road Racer of the year four times
Luke Kipkosgei Internationalist
Rebbie Koech Internationalist
Peter Tanui Internationalist
Christopher Koskei World Champion 1999 Steeplechase
Paul Cherop Internationalist 1970’s
Sammy Maritim Internationalist 10,000 1970’s
Ben Kogo Olympic Games Silver 1968
Fatwell Kimaiyo Kenyan record holder 110m hurdles
Rose Tata First Kenyan lady to run in the World Championships
Kefah Kerero 2:13 marathon
Jonah Birir 5th Olympic 1500
David Kiptoo 1:43 800m Internationalist
Yobes Ondieki World record 10,000 1993
Hosea Rotich Fastest ever marathon on Kenyan soil
Joyce Chepchumba Olympic Bronze Marathon 2000
Amos Biwott Olympic Gold Steeplechase 1968