World Marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang returns to Kenya to hero’s welcome

Wilson Kipsang and wife Doreen bask in the limelight on arrival from Berlin, on Tuesday.  [PHOTO: MARTIN MUKANGU / STANDARD]


Newly-crowned world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport to a red carpet reception.

Kipsang, who carried a brilliant 2:03.42 mark posted at the BMW Frankfurt Marathon in 2011, was among athletes who competed in Berlin last Sunday.

They included women’s winner Florence Kiplagat and men’s podium finishers Eliud Kipchoge and Geoffrey Kipsang. The squad landed at JKIA where Kipsang’s wife Doreen, mother Grace Kiprotich, father Joseph Kiprotich and other family members and colleagues at Police welcomed him back home.

Father hugged his son and garlanded him with roses as the small but hearty crowd broke into religious songs.

There was no traditional fanfare where such stars are adorned with Sinendet (Kalenjin ornamental plant) and served from a gourd of Mursik (specially treated sour milk).

In 2011, Doreen stunned the German city of Frankfurt when she offered Mursik she carried from home to Kipsang in a surprise move.

Kipsang, a police officer, said: “I did not take Mursik to Berlin, but I had used other stuff. I was well-prepared for victory. I tried to maintain an even race and constant pace despite the strong winds mid-stream that resulted in the negative sprints in the race.”

Kipsang, who was born and bred in Muskut Village in Kerio Valley, went on: “We fell outside world record schedule and had to struggle to save the seconds. I feel I have the potential to lower the record again, but to be at the top and break the world record is not easy.”

The alumnus of Tambach High said it took him time planning and preparing for the world record.

“I was a first timer in Berlin. From 36km to 42km was not easy as I tried to break away from the group and control the pace. It was disturbing as I fell outside world record and, at 40km, I hit the world record pace pushing the 2.2km to wind down seconds. Towards the finish concentration was just to cross the finish line,” said Kipsang.

Kipchoge, who ran his second marathon, admitted he is “a kid in marathon running.”

The runner, who trains under Patrick Sang of Global Sports Communications in Kaptagat, said he was grateful to have entered the elite club of track and marathon greats. “I now belong to the three-man club of Haille Gebressellasie (Ethiopia) and Paul Tergat.  I have joined these men who have run a sub 12:50 (5,000m), 26:50 (10,000m) and 2:06 (marathon) in the world,” said Kipchoge.

 Even with such a feat, Kipchoge maintains that he is still learning the marathon ropes.