Updated 10 October 2007
Evans Kiprop CHERUIYOT, Kenya (Half Marathon)
Born 10 May 1982, Kapkoi village, Keiyo District
Manager: Federico Rosa
Training base: Kimumu, Eldoret
A trained mechanic, Evans Cheruiyot made the news in December 2005 when he and 14 other athletes were left stranded in France courtesy of an allegedly unscrupulous agent. The group had been taken to France, where they had competed in several races, only for their manager to reportedly declare that there was no money. Cheruiyot made it home only after the intervention of the Kenyan embassy.
The seventh born in a family of nine, Cheruiyot attended Kapkoi Primary School, in the Keiyo District of the Rift Valley. Upon finishing primary school, he joined the National Youth Service (NYS) to take a mechanical engineering and driving course. It was here that he started running, especially during inter departmental sports days at the institute. “Something kept telling me to run,” he said.
In October 2004 just a few weeks after completing his course at NYS, Cheruiyot entered a 10K race in Eldoret, finishing third, and four weeks later, he made his debut at half marathon, winning the Standard Chartered Nairobi race in 64:24.
“My body responds well to half marathon. I had never run a half marathon and Stanchart was my first ever attempt,” Cheruiyot recalled. “Since I won the race, it made me feel like this was my race. I was inspired by Paul Tergat, I had seen him run and wanted to one day run like him.”
That same year, in December, Cheruiyot travelled to France where he took part in the three cross-country meets, finishing fifth, fourth and sixth. He ran his second half marathon in April 2005, winning the Humarathon event in 61:01.The following month, he was third in the Metz Half Marathon and he finished second in a 10K race in Strasbourg in 28:13.
In September, Cheruiyot triumphed in the Paris 20k and came second in the Reims Half Marathon (62:42). He finished seventh in a10k race in Fontenay les Briis in November and, a week later, finished fifth in another 10k race in Leffrinckroucke.
Then, in December, Cheruiyot and his 14 fellow athletes claimed they had been stranded in France. Reportedly without money, food and shelter, the athletes were rescued by the Kenyan embassy and Cheruiyot found his way home in January 2006.
The experience took its toll on Cheruiyot and he almost quit the sport, “To be stuck in a foreign country without food or money was frightening,” he said. “We slept on the floor, went days without food, had our passports confiscated at one point, and were told that we would stay like refugees.”
Although shaken by the experience, he did not want to waste his talent and, back in the groove in February 2006, Cheruiyot won the Eldoret Half Marathon and met the manager, Federica Rosa, who took him under his wing.
The following month he finished second at the Rome-Ostia Half Marathon (1:00.14) and in April was runner-up in the Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon (59.29) behind Paul Kosgei.
Cheruiyot then clinched the International Half Marathon of Coban in Guatemala in May, leading a procession of Kenyans over the challenging course featuring hills, heat and humidity, in 63:39. In September he ran in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, finishing runner-up behind James Kwambai in 1:03:30. That same month he won the Udine Half Marathon in 60:18 after a last-gasp battle with countryman Paul Kirui.
The following month, Cheruiyot finished sixth in Delhi Half Marathon and started 2007 with a win in the Discovery Cross Country championships in Eldoret, beating a classy field that included Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Robert Cheruiyot.
In April, he finished third in the Real Berlin Half marathon (59.48) won by compatriot and Udine teammate Patrick Musyoki, and last month he won the Fortis Rotterdam Half Marathon, setting the fourth fastest time of the year (59:12). Cheruiyot beat the course record held by his compatriot and world record holder Samuel Wanjiru by four seconds, a time equalled by Eritrean Zersenay Tadesse last year.
After winning in Udine last year, Cheruiyot is looking forward to running there again. “I fell in love with the course last year and I hope to win there again,” he said.
Half Marathon: 2004 - 64:24; 2005 – 61:01; 2006 - 59:29; 2007- 59:12
Half Marathon: 59:12 (2007)
October 2004 1st, Standard Chartered Nairobi Half Marathon
April 2005 1st, Humarathon Half-Marathon
September 2005 1st, 20 de Paris 20K
February 2006 1st, Eldoret Half Marathon
March 2006 2nd, Rome Ostia Half Marathon
April 2006 2nd, Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon
May 2006 1st, International Half Marathon, Coban, Guatemala
September 2006 2nd, Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon
September 2006 1st, Udine Half Marathon
April 2007 3rd, Real Berlin Half Marathon
September 2007 1st, Fortis Rotterdam Half Marathon
Prepared by James Wokabi and Mutwiri Mutuota for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2007