|3000 Metres||7:48.06||Liège||25 JUL 2007|
|5000 Metres||13:23.70||Hengelo (Blankers-Koen Stadion)||24 MAY 2008|
|10,000 Metres||27:58.03||Birmingham, GBR||25 JUN 2010|
|10 Kilometres||28:19||Manchester||20 MAY 2012|
|20 Kilometres||58:21||Granollers||03 FEB 2013|
|Half Marathon||1:01:15||Granollers||03 FEB 2013|
|25 Kilometres||1:14:45||Tokyo||22 FEB 2015|
|30 Kilometres||1:29:24||London||21 APR 2013|
|Marathon||2:06:33||Tokyo||22 FEB 2015|
|3000 Metres Steeplechase||8:26.66||Rabat||06 JUN 2010|
|2009||13:42.20||Hengelo (Blankers-Koen Stadion)||01 JUN|
|2008||13:23.70||Hengelo (Blankers-Koen Stadion)||24 MAY|
|2010||27:58.03||Birmingham, GBR||25 JUN|
|11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||16h2||14:04.22||Osaka (Nagai Stadium)||30 AUG 2007|
|12th IAAF World Junior Championships||5||28:10.71||Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak)||09 JUL 2008|
|15th IAAF World Championships||6||2:14:43||Beijing (National Stadium)||22 AUG 2015|
|14th IAAF World Championships||1||2:09:51||Moskva (Luzhniki)||17 AUG 2013|
|The XXX Olympic Games||1||2:08:01||London (The Mall)||12 AUG 2012|
|13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||8||2:12:57||Daegu (DS)||04 SEP 2011|
|39th IAAF World Cross Country Championships||6||34:07||Punta Umbría||20 MAR 2011|
|37th IAAF World Cross Country Championships||23||36:23||Amman (Golf Club Al Bisharat)||28 MAR 2009|
Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.
Updated 29 July 2013
Stephen KIPROTICH (3,000m Steeplechase, 5000m, 10,000m, Cross Country and Marathon)
Born: 27 February 1989 in Cheptiyal village, Kapchorwa District, Uganda
Manager: Jos Hermens
Stephen Kiprotich is now the most popular athlete and number one celebrity in Uganda. The runner ended the country’s 40-year wait for an Olympic gold medal when he stunned Kenyans Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang to win the Marathon in London last year. Kiprotich became only the second Ugandan to win an Olympic gold medal after John Akii-Bua in Munich 1972.
His journey to stardom has, however, been troublesome. Born to James Kiptui and Cheptum Kokop of Cheptiyal village, Kapchorwa District, Kiprotich was inspired by other senior runners, in particular Francis Musani, a national marathoner, to join athletics.
“I used to see Musani and other boys jogging near our home in the morning. I also picked interest,” Kiprotich said. He joined Kaminy Primary School, where he met a teacher that inspired him even more. “There was a teacher called Patrick Chemonges. He was in charge of sports. He always encouraged me to run,” added Kiprotich.
Alongside his growing interest in athletics came a terrible sickness that almost ended his career prematurely. “I was in form six when a strange sickness attacked me. They took me to all hospitals around but we failed to get the right medication,” he recalled. Seemingly resigned about the situation, Kiprotich’s parents took him home and waited for fate to dictate. “I was out of school for almost three or more years. I rejoined and sat my form seven examinations in 2001,” Kiprotich noted.
In 2002, Kiprotich joined Kapchorwa Secondary School. His health had, by now, fairly stabilised and he managed to represent his school at the district competitions. “I think my body was still weak because I was lapped in the 10,000m. I eventually finished ninth but being lapped haunted me a lot. I felt like not running anymore,” he stated.
Kiprotich switched schools in 2003, joining Sebei College for his senior two. He had fallen out of love with athletics and never wanted anything to do with the sport. “I decided to concentrate on my books,” Kiprotich stressed. Until 2005 when he completed his ordinary level education, Kiprotich never stepped on the track. “People were always castigating me for sitting on my talent but I felt I could gain a lot more from education.”
In 2006, he returned to Sebei College for his advanced level education and resumed training. He made his debut at the National Cross Country Championships, finishing fifth in the 8km junior race. That performance earned him a ticket to the 34th World Cross Country Championships, in Fukuoka, Japan, where he placed 24th. “I wouldn’t say that I performed badly because it was my first appearance in an international race. I returned to school and added more effort in training.”
Kiprotich shocked his parents and the Sebei College headmaster - now politician - Sam Cheptoris, when at the end of 2006, he told them he was quitting school to concentrate on athletics. “It was a very difficult decision because I had one year left to join university or any other higher institution of learning,” Kiprotich said after deep thought. At first the headmaster couldn’t accept it, but has now learnt to live with Kiprotich’s decision. “I begged him to stay and complete the one year but he refused. But it’s good he is making progress in his career,” Cheptoris said a couple years later.
In February 2007, Kiprotich finished second to Geofrey Kusuro in the National Cross Country 8km junior race. He made it to the World Cross, in Mombasa, Kenya, where he finished 19th but was not content with his performance. His local manager, Godfrey Nuwagaba, got him a training camp in Kenya and connected him to Global Sports Communication, a sports management company.
Kiprotich won his first national title when he clocked 28:42:54 for 10,000m at Namboole. Global Sports took him to Belgium where he trained for some time and later hit the World Championships qualifying mark. He clocked 13:27.40 for ninth place over 5000m at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, to land a place on the Ugandan team for the World Championships in Osaka. There he did not reach the final but he admits to an unforgettable experience competing at his maiden World Championships.
In 2008, at the FBK-Games, in Hengelo, Kiprotich wrote a 5000m personal best of 13:23.70 (seventh) but failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. “I didn’t feel bad at all for missing out on Beijing. One day, my chance will come and I will compete at the Olympics,” he said at the time.
He spent some months training in the Netherlands and later stamped a new personal best of 28:00.98 for 10,000m in Neerpelt, Belgium on 31 May. As one of the best up and coming runners in the country, Ugandans had great expectations that Kiprotich could snatch a medal at the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland that year. But the runner revealed he wasn’t in good shape going into the event. “I actually competed just because I had qualified. I wasn’t feeling well but again my performance was fair,” he admitted. Kiprotich clocked 28:10.71 to finish fifth.
Having joined the senior ranks in 2009, Kiprotich made his first attempt on the 12km National Cross Country Championships race and placed third. After one month of residential training ahead of the World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan, Kiprotich declared: “I am ready to beat anyone and I believe it’s possible.” But in Amman, Kiprotich could only finish 23rd in the 12km senior race.
Kiprotich’s bid to earn a place on the Ugandan team for the 2009 World Championships in Berlin fell through, but he never lost hope. He kept on working hard.
He started the 2010 season with a fourth-place finish at the National Cross Country Championships but missed the World Cross in Bydgoszcz, Poland. On 6 June, he recorded an eighth-place finish (8:26.66) in the 3000m Steeplechase at the IAAF Challenge Series meet in Rabat, Morocco. Barely three weeks later (25 June), he dipped under 27 minutes over 10,000m, clocking a new personal best of 27:58.03 in Birmingham. That secured him a ticket to the African Senior Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, where he finished sixth in 28:33.85 with compatriot Moses Kipsiro securing silver.
At the start of the 2011 season, Kiprotich proved to be moving into a higher gear, as he was second only to Moses Kipsiro in the National Cross Country Championships. Kiprotich beat Geofrey Kusuro and was the only runner to give eventual winner Kipsiro a hard time. He then travelled to Punta Umbria, Spain, for the World Cross Country Championships confident of a good showing and never disappointed. Kiprotich emerged Uganda’s best performer, finishing sixth with Kipsiro coming 11th. That earned Uganda a senior team bronze, the second ever podium finish for the country after 2008.
In April, he shocked many by winning the Enschede Marathon, in the Netherlands, coming home in 2:07.20, a national record. It was his first marathon, which he had only entered as a pacesetter, but he came to the tape well over two minutes ahead of his more experienced competitors.
That earned him a ticket to the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, from where he returned as Team Uganda’s second best performer behind junior steeplechaser Jacob Araptany (who was sixth), after finishing ninth in 2:12:57.
His most impressive performance was, however, recorded in February 2012 when he finished third (2:07:50) in the Tokyo Marathon. More impressively, he finished a place ahead of Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie (2:08:17). That was a warning to the biggest marathon runners.
“That performance encouraged me so much. I am now confident I can beat the world’s best,” Kiprotich said before he left for the London Olympics.
True to his word, Kiprotich produced a stunning run in the final 4km of the Olympic Marathon to close in 2:08:01, outlasting the more titled Kenyans Abel Kirui (2:08:27) and Wilson Kipsang (2:09:37) to the top prize.
The marathon, on the last day of the London Olympics, will live long in Kiprotich’s memory and that of athletics lovers in the country. After all the other 14 teammates from all sports had failed to medal at the Games, Kiprotich, delivered the perfect gift to Ugandans ahead of the country’s 50th independence anniversary held on 9 October.
Ugandans across the country jubilated and hailed Kiprotich for his heroic performance. Thousands, including government dignitaries, gathered at Entebbe Airport to welcome the runner while others demanded a public holiday. Shortly after his return, he was taken to State House where he had breakfast with President Museveni. As a token of appreciation, the President gave the runner $80,000 and promised to build a decent house for his parents. “I salute Kiprotich for his achievement,” President Museveni said, admitting that the Ugandan government had done little to help the athletes prepare for the London Games.
Kiprotich revealed he relied on inside knowledge to beat the Kenyans, having trained with them in the build-up to the Games. The runner didn’t rest for several months after the Olympics as he was hosted to different parties across the country. “Even if I die now, I die a champion,” he said of his feat. A local newspaper started a drive to raise $500,000 to reward Kiprotich, although the marathoner insists all the country needs are facilities. “I went to train in Kenya because we don’t have facilities in Uganda. There are many talented boys and girls out there who can win medals for Uganda but they lack support,” he noted.
Kiprotich started the 2013 season with an impressive showing, winning the Granollers Half Marathon in Spain in new PB of 1:01:15. He then entered the Virgin London Marathon, finishing sixth in 2:08:05 in April. “That marathon was so tough, the toughest I have competed in,” Kiprotich said of the event won by Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede (2:06:04).
The Ugandan star revealed the pace in the first half of the race was so fast it left him weary. “My body is all battered. I have never felt like this after running,” he said after returning to Kampala. For more than one month, Kiprotich was unable to do any running because of the fatigue and considered pulling out of the World Championships in Moscow. “If it were possible, I would skip the World Championships. I know I won’t be able to train and be at my best in this little time,” he said in May. But being the country’s prized asset, the athletics federation drafted Kiprotich onto the 12-man team to Moscow.
The second-last born of seven (four boys and three girls), Kiprotich is the only distinguished sportsman in his family. Kiprotich is married to Patricia Cherop, 25. They have two children (a girl and boy), five-year-old Esther Chebet and Eliud Musao, who is two-and-a-half years old. Cherop thinks that her husband should return to school now that he has some money. He still has plans of returning to school but admits it might be very hard with the increasing demands of his current status. “Everyone wants to shake my hands,” he said. Now he can’t move freely on the streets without causing pandemonium. At least he is happy that his brave run in London is finally delivering his family from the gallows of poverty. Very soon, his ageing parents will move from their dilapidated mud and wattle house to a beautiful permanent house constructed for them by the government because of their son’s heroics. Kiprotich is now a millionaire, thanks to two hours, eight minutes and one second.
5000m: 2007: 13:27.40, 2008: 13:23.70
10,000m: 2006: 29:19.4; 2007: 28:42.54; 2008: 28:42.54; 2008: 28:00.98; 2010:27:58.03
Marathon: 2011: 2:07.20; 2012: 2:07.50; 2013: 2:08:05
World Cross Country Championships, Fukuoka (junior)
National Championships (10,000m, combined)
World Cross Country Championships, Mombasa (junior)
World Championships in Athletics, Osaka (5000m)
World Cross Country Championships, Edinburgh (junior)
World Junior Championships, Bydgoszcz (10,000m)
World Cross Country Championships, Amman (senior)
African Championships in Athletics, Nairobi (10,000m)
Obudu Ranch African Mountain Running Championships
World Championships in Athletics, Osaka (Marathon)
Olympic Games, London (Marathon)
Prepared by Sande Bashaija for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright 2009-2013.