29 OCT 2007 General News 29 October 2007 – Frankfurt, Germany

A little “Patience brought me luck” - Kigen

Wifred Kigen en route to his third Frankfurt victory (Victah Sailer)Wifred Kigen en route to his third Frankfurt victory (Victah Sailer) © Copyright

Frankfurt, GermanyWilfred Kigen became the first to clock a sub 2:08 time and the first man to achieve a hattrick in the history of Germany’s oldest city marathon: At the 26th edition of the Dresdner Kleinwort Frankfurt Marathon the 32 year-old Kenyan clocked 2:07:58 on Sunday (28).

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A marathon runner like Kigen needs to have patience to be successful – especially in a race like this one on Sunday, where the latter second placed Hosea Rotich (Kenya / 2:08:11) broke away after the 30k mark. Kigen had brought a special lucky charm to Frankfurt: his eight year-old daughter Patience.

“Patience brought me luck. It was the first time that I brought one of my children to a big race to Europe,” said Kigen, who has not only a daughter but also three sons. His wife is a teacher and even speaks German. But she could not come to Frankfurt because she is expecting her fifth child in these days. The family lives in Ngong, about 30 kilometres away from Nairobi. ”I am able to train there very well although it is only about 1,800 metres high – lower than Eldoret or Iten.“

Originally Wilfred Kigen, who is managed by the Dutch agent Gerard van de Veen, comes from Eldoret. When he was young he had to run to school every day – one way was a distance of 10 kilometres, so he was running 20 kilometres a day. By doing so Kigen probably established a basis for his career.

“Maybe I would never have become a runner without this kind of training,” said Kigen, who only started racing in his final eighth year of school.”I wasn’t bad, but I didn’t always win either,“ said Wilfred Kigen, whose mother was a successful runner back in the 60s on the track. “She ran at competitions in Uganda – I don’t really know which distances she used to run but I have seen her trophies.“

It was another Kenyan world class runner who had a decisive influence on Kigen’s career: Wilson Boit Kipketer, the 3000m Steeplechase World Champion from 1997 who broke the World record with 7:59.08 in that year as well. He is a good friend. Kipketer, who ran 2:13:08 in the Dresdner Kleinwort Frankfurt Marathon this year for 16th place, persuaded Kigen to move to Ngong. Both are employed by the police.

“Wilson Kigen is my cousin“, was Kigen’s response to the question if there is a relationship between him and other strong Kenyan runners named Kigen. When Wilfred Kigen had won in Frankfurt in 2005, Wilson was only five seconds behind finishing third in 2:08:34. Next year another Kigen could appear on the European road race circuit: “I have three sisters and brothers. One of my brothers, Robert, is 21-years-old and he runs well. He is already on the junior team in Kenya. He might come for races in 2008.”

Wilfred Kigen takes special care of Robert Kigen – the brother lives with him in Ngong. Wilfred Kigen is also supporting the rest of his family with the money he earns from his running. His father was a farmer, but he died in a car accident in 1995. Being a successful runner helps the family a lot.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF