Real estate attracts Kenyan athletes’ millions

KENYA: While a few athletes have wasted their millions of shillings on cars, alcohol and women, a good number have put their income to good use.

In Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County, especially, several athletes have invested in high-rise buildings and posh estates.

A majority of the town’s modern buildings bear the names of big cities and famous races around the world that remind their owners of victory. For instance, you will see Rotterdam Centre, as well as GrandPri Hotel and Johannesburg Plaza.

In the town’s central business district, there are at least 20 commercial buildings owned by athletes who either come from the area or have migrated to it. Is real estate the best available investment option for these sports stars? Only time will tell.

This is a list of some of Kenya’s most prolific athletes and what they have invested in.


He was among Kenya's earliest winners of Olympic gold and broke the 3,000m steeplechase world record. He owns Kip Keino Sports House in Eldoret.


He won the 1999 Amsterdam Marathon, and owns Kirem Arcade, which houses K-Rep Bank, in Eldoret.


He is three-time world 3,000m steeplechase champion, and a former world record holder in the race. He was the first man to run the steeplechase in under eight minutes.

He owns Komora Centre and Utamaduni House in the heart of Eldoret town, and Komora Estate along Nairobi Road. He also owns Komora Estate in London.


He is a two-time Boston Marathon winner and was the first man in the world to run the half marathon in under one hour. Mr Tanui was also among the first to win IAAF Grand Prix races, which is where he derived the name for his investment, GrandPri Hotel, in Eldoret.


Besides holding a marathon record, Mr Makau has won several other long-distance races. He confesses to having handled “a lot of cash” over his career, most of which he believes he has used well.

He has invested in real estate and owns a number of flats in Nairobi. He also has acres of land under his name. He has two homes — one in Ngong, Kajiado County, and the other in Lavington, Nairobi. He has also put some money in a fixed deposit account, but would not reveal how much.


The Eldoret-based athlete is a dairy farmer and describes himself as one of the main suppliers of milk in the area. He adds that he rarely buys vegetables as he grows most of what he needs on his farm, in addition to selling maize.

Like other athletes, he has also built rental homes in Eldoret town, from which he earns not less than Sh300,000 a month.


The 34-year-old athlete has won the half marathon in Bogota, Colombia, a record five times. He has also won the half marathon in Nagano, Japan, several times.

He says he started by buying “cheap shambas” in his rural home. When he won his first race in Nagano, he bought a plot that was worth Sh2 million then. Today, the plot is valued at Sh18 million.

He also imports cars, and values his firm at Sh50 million. He imports the vehicles from Japan, and says it is this line of business that gives him a regular supply of cash to meet his daily expenses. He has also invested in stocks.


She is a long-distance runner who has won several medals for Kenya, but from 2003, began running for the Netherlands. She owns the High Altitude Training Centre (HATC), Iten’s premier facility for athletes, where stars like Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe train, and the British Athletics holds winter training camps.

Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang (2014 London Marathon winner), David Rudisha (800m world record holder) and Florence Kiplagat (2013 Berlin Marathon winner) are also regulars.

Iten is considered to have the best running altitudes, excellent recuperation facilities and some of the best training partners in the world for distance runners.


Mr Rotich won the prestigious IAAF World Cup 1,500m final in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1998. This stood out as the biggest win in his athletics career, which is why his Eldoret building bears the name Johannesburg Plaza.


The 2008 Chicago Marathon winner owns Kamariny Centre in Iten.


He holds world indoor records and has made a name for himself in 3,000m races. He owns the private school, Potters House Academy, in Eldoret town.


Ms Kabuu, 31, has participated in the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Dubai Marathon and London Marathon. In Dubai, she won bronze and silver, and in the Commonwealth Games, gold and silver.

Kabuu says that in Dubai, she won about Sh10 million, Sh5 million in the Chicago Marathon and about Sh3 million in the London race. She has bought land and invested in housing. She also keeps cows for milk and grows maize and potatoes commercially.

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