Tribute to a Legendary Runner: Samuel Kipruto 1986 - 2011

We were deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden and tragic passing of renowned marathon champion Samuel Kipruto at his home on 16 May, aged 24. Samuel was regarded by his peers as one of the most gifted long-distance runners of his generation and is best remembered for his triumphant victory at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. There, he made history as the first athlete from his country to win an Olympic gold medal in the marathon. Despite the scorching heat, Samuel set an Olympic record with a time of 2:06:32, breaking the previous record by nearly three minutes. At only 21 years old, he became the youngest Olympic marathon champion since 1932.

Samuel’s rise to international fame began in February 2007 when he shattered the Half Marathon World Record, clocking 58:53 at the inaugural RAK Half Marathon and surpassing this feat the following month with a time of 58:33 at The Hague. He quickly transitioned to the marathon, where he made a significant impact. In December 2007, he won the Fukuoka Marathon in 2:06:39. Just four months before the Olympics, he broke his personal best by finishing second in the 2008 London Marathon with a time of 2:05:24.

In 2009, Samuel continued to improve, winning the London Marathon with a time of 2:05:10, setting a course record at the time. He ended a remarkable year by winning the Chicago Marathon in 2:05:41, another course record that still stands. He successfully defended his title the following October with a time of 2:06:24, which would be his final performance.

In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Samuel received both the AIMS/Citizen World’s Fastest Time Award for his world record performance at The Hague and was named AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year by his peers in 2009. These awards are exhibited in the AIMS Marathon Museum of Running in Berlin, Germany, serving as a lasting legacy of his illustrious career.

Paco Lopez, President of AIMS (Association of International Marathons & Distance Races), commented: “It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of an extraordinary athlete. The thoughts of the entire running community are with his family. Samuel will be remembered as one of the greatest marathon runners of all time, and his legacy will endure.”

This tribute honors the memory of Samuel Kipruto and his remarkable contributions to the world of long-distance running.

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