Cheruiyot, Robert Kipkoech


Cheruiyot, Robert Kipkoech
▪ 2007
 Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya surged to the forefront of marathon running in 2006, winning the 110th Boston Marathon in April with a course record of 2 hr 7 min 14 sec and the Chicago Marathon in October in 2 hr 7 min 35 sec. Although Cheruiyot made history as the first man to win these two races in one year, he was unable, immediately afterward, to remember his Chicago win. Just before crossing the finish line, as he raised his arms to celebrate a five-second victory over fellow Kenyan Daniel Njenga, Cheruiyot slipped on plastic sheeting laid over the pavement and fell. His momentum carried him across the finish line, but he struck the back of his head with such force that he had to be hospitalized for two days with internal and external cranial bleeding. Nonetheless, Cheruiyot vowed to defend his Chicago title in 2007. The accident made the $140,000 in prize and bonus money that he received a hard-earned paycheck, but the victory positioned him as the leader at the halfway point of the new World Marathon Majors (WMM) series' first two-year cycle. Should Cheruiyot retain his WMM lead through 2007, he would collect an additional $500,000 prize.

      Cheruiyot, a Nandi tribesman, was born in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, Kenya, on Sept. 26, 1978. He enjoyed success as a high-school runner but struggled for two years after graduation when his parents separated. He lived with his mother and then with his father, and he eventually endured a hand-to-mouth existence on his own before joining the training camps of past Boston Marathon winners Cosmas N'Deti and Moses Tanui.

      In February 2002 Cheruiyot won the Discovery Kenya Half-Marathon, a race organized in Eldoret by Italian coach Gabriele Rosa. The victory earned him an invitation that month to the Rome-Ostia Half-Marathon, where he won in a personal record time of 1 hr 6 sec. In December of that year, Cheruiyot won a spectacular sprint finish over Kenyan Michael Rotich and Italian Daniele Caimmi to triumph in his first marathon, the Milan City Marathon. All three runners were credited with the same time: 2 hr 8 min 59 sec.

      Cheruiyot won the 2003 Boston Marathon, saying afterward that the course's fabled hills suited his aptitude for hill climbing. This was a somewhat surprising assertion by a runner who stood 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) tall; conventional wisdom holds that shorter runners generally make better hill climbers. With his Boston winnings, he bought a tea plantation and started his own training camp. After the plantation business failed, Cheruiyot in 2004 joined the training camp of marathon world-record holder Paul Tergat in the Ngong Hills near Nairobi. When asked, Cheruiyot credited Tergat and Tanui with having taught him the patience to handle—and win—major international races.

Sieg Lindstrom

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▪ Kenyan runner
born Sept. 26, 1978, Eldoret, Kenya
 
 Kenyan runner who became the first man to win the Chicago Marathon and the Boston Marathon in the same year (2006).

      Cheruiyot, a Nandi tribesman, enjoyed success as a high-school runner but struggled for two years after graduation when his parents separated. He lived with his mother and then with his father, and he eventually endured a hand-to-mouth existence on his own before joining the training camps of past Boston Marathon winners Cosmas N'Deti and Moses Tanui.

      In February 2002 Cheruiyot won the Discovery Kenya Half-Marathon, a race organized in Eldoret by Italian coach Gabriele Rosa. The victory earned him an invitation that month to the Rome-Ostia Half-Marathon, where he won in a personal record time of 1 hr 6 sec. In December of that year Cheruiyot won a spectacular sprint finish over Kenyan Michael Rotich and Italian Daniele Caimmi to triumph in his first marathon, the Milan City Marathon. All three runners were credited with the same time: 2 hr 8 min 59 sec. Cheruiyot won the 2003 Boston Marathon, saying afterward that the course's fabled hills suited his aptitude for hill climbing. This was a somewhat surprising assertion by a runner who stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 metres) tall; conventional wisdom holds that shorter runners generally make better hill climbers. With his Boston winnings he bought a tea plantation and started his own training camp. After the plantation business failed, Cheruiyot in 2004 joined the training camp of marathon world-record holder Paul Tergat in the Ngong Hills near Nairobi. When asked, Cheruiyot credited Tergat and Tanui with having taught him the patience to handle—and win—major international races.

      Cheruiyot surged to the forefront of marathon running in 2006, winning the 110th Boston Marathon in April with a course record of 2 hr 7 min 14 sec and the Chicago Marathon in October in 2 hr 7 min 35 sec. Just before crossing the finish line, as he raised his arms to celebrate a five-second victory over fellow Kenyan Daniel Njenga, Cheruiyot slipped on plastic sheeting laid over the pavement and fell. His momentum carried him across the finish line, but he struck the back of his head with such force that he had to be hospitalized for two days with internal and external cranial bleeding. The following year Cheruiyot again won the Boston Marathon, a victory that helped him capture the men's title in the first two-year cycle (2006–07) of the World Marathon Majors. In April 2008 he became the first Kenyan man to win the Boston Marathon four times.

Sieg Lindstrom
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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