Kenyan Tradition Continues With Champions Mutai, Cherop, and Kilel
Many know that Geoffrey Mutai – the 2011 Boston Marathon champion – is the world’s fastest marathoner, having run 2:03:02 here a year ago. But did you know the 30-year-old also has the second fastest 10K ever run on American soil? That performance came at last year’s B.A.A. 10K, when the father of two finished in 27:19, a whopping 52 seconds ahead of the next closest finisher. This year, Mutai again will return to Boston, hoping to lower his personal best and defend his 2011 title.
Hailing from Eldoret, Kenya, Mutai considers Boston his home away from home.
"For me it was like a dream, because I can win the Boston Marathon and then I come to win the B.A.A. 10K. I feel like I am special now in Boston. I feel like I am at home. I enjoy myself in Boston,” he said last year after winning the inaugural edition of the race.
Last year’s B.A.A. 10K was extra special for Mutai, who found out the night prior to the race that his wife had given birth to a baby girl. His newborn daughter inspired Mutai to run quick, blazing the fastest 10K ever in Massachusetts history – by nearly a minute!
Mutai’s time was also recognized as the fastest ever 10K run by a 29-year-old, and the fastest ever run in the month of June. Can he break the 30-year-old age record this year? Only time will tell.
Mutai won’t be the only Boston Marathon champion competing in the second edition of the B.A.A. 10K on June 24, though. On the women’s side, both the 2012 and 2011 Boston Marathon champions are set to return in Sharon Cherop and Caroline Kilel. Cherop, 28, won this year’s marathon after finishing third in 2011.
If Cherop is to win the B.A.A. 10K, though, she will have to defeat Kilel, the reigning champion. Last year the 31-year-old from Kenya won the race in 31:58.
“We are extremely excited to welcome back these great and gracious champions as they return to compete against some of the world’s best runners,” said Tom Grilk, Executive Director of the B.A.A.
These three champions, all from Kenya, continue a long and lasting legacy of East African winners in Boston. Over the years, 29 Kenyan champions have been crowned at the Boston Marathon, nine at the B.A.A. Half Marathon, and one at the B.A.A. 5-K. Of course, last year’s B.A.A. 10K was swept by Mutai and Kilel in impressive fashion.
“Their displays of courage and sheer endurance inspire us all, and we are grateful that they have decided to take part in the newest addition to our calendar of world class road races,” said Grilk.