John Kimondo Thuo

Athlete Profile

    Kenya Kenya
    27 NOV 1985
John Thuo leads Charles Munyeki in the men's 12km senior race in Nyahururu, which was won by Munyeki (Peter Njenga)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
1500 Metres 3:45.27 Radés 30 JUN 2007
3000 Metres 7:46.01 Tajimi 10 OCT 2011
5000 Metres 13:15.53 Abashiri 22 JUN 2011
10,000 Metres 27:11.88 Fukuroi 17 OCT 2009
15 Kilometres 43:28 Nice 26 APR 2015
Half Marathon 1:02:35 Nice 26 APR 2015

Progression - Outdoor

1500 Metres

Performance Place Date
2007 3:45.27 Radés 30 JUN

3000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2011 7:46.01 Tajimi 10 OCT
2007 7:46.65 Torino 08 JUN

5000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2012 13:23.41 Fukuroi 03 MAY
2011 13:15.53 Abashiri 22 JUN
2010 13:21.02 Fukuroi 03 MAY
2009 13:23.57 Nobeoka 30 MAY
2008 13:21.24 Yokohama 28 SEP
2006 13:22.99 Rovereto (Stadio Quercia) 30 AUG

10,000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2012 27:32.72 Fukagawa 27 JUN
2011 27:23.99 Kobe 24 APR
2010 27:15.73 Kobe 25 APR
2009 27:11.88 Fukuroi 17 OCT
2008 27:31.61 Fukuroi 18 OCT

15 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2015 43:28 Nice 26 APR

Half Marathon

Performance Place Date
2015 1:02:35 Nice 26 APR

Honours - Senior Race

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 18 36:00 Edinburgh (Holyrood Park) 30 MAR 2008

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Updated 22 March 2008

John Kimondo THUO, Kenya (5000m, cross country)

Born 27 November, 1985, Mailo Inya, Nyahururu
Height: 168 cm (5'6”); weight: 53kg
Coach: Jimmy Beauttah/ John Ngure
Camp: IOC High Performance Training Centre, Eldoret

The IAAF/IOC Kipchoge Keino High Performance Training Centre, in Eldoret, is fast gaining a reputation as the conveyor belt of young talent, with John Kimondo Thuo the latest. In the last few years, the HPTC has churned out 2007 world junior cross country champion, Asbel Kiprop, world 800m women's champion, Janeth Jepkosgei, and Athens Olympic steeplechase champion, Ezekiel Kemboi.

It is in the steps of those world beaters that Thuo will be trying to follow in his first World Cross Country Championships appearance, in Edinburgh. The 22-year-old's several attempts to make the World Cross team finally came good after he finished sixth in Kenya's National Trials on 1 March.

That earned the Nyahururu-born athlete, who went to Ngai Ndeithia (means God Help Me in his native Kikuyu language) Primary School a place in the provisional team. With only the top five finisher in the Kenyan Trials (Gideon Ngatuny, Mark Kiptoo, Hosea Macharinyang, Joseph Ebuya and 2007 bronze medal winner Bernard Kiprop) guaranteed slots in the final squad, Thuo had all to fight for in the team's training camp in Kigari, Embu.

After eight days of rigorous training in the Ilangi Forest, at the foot of Africa's second largest mountain, Mt Kenya, Thuo caused an upset when he edged out 2006 men's short course silver medal winner, Isaac Songok and 2005 men's junior bronze medallist, Barnabas Kosgei for the Edinburgh ticket. "He impressed during training for his effort, discipline and good form," national team coach Julius Kirwa said on why he picked the man who narrowly missed out on Mombasa 2007.

After finishing ninth at the 2007 National trials, Thuo was overlooked by Athletics Kenya in favour of Richard Mateelong, who had won the National Cross Country Championship two weeks earlier. "It was close and I knew that my chance would eventually come," said the athlete who attended Pondo Secondary School (2001-2004).

Thuo was born to subsistence farming parents in the same region that produced five times World Cross Country champion John Ngugi, 2003 world 10,000m champion Charles Kamathi and World Half Marathon record holder Samuel Wanjiru. He started running as a hobby but took the sport seriously in 2003 as a Form 3 (third year) student at the insistence of his Games Master, George Ndungu.

"Ndungu was very supportive in nurturing sporting talent and he encouraged me to focus on running," Thuo said. That year, Thuo qualified for the district schools cross country championships before reaching the same level in track over 10,000m.

In 2004, Thuo sailed into the National Schools Cross Country Championships in Mumias, Western Kenya, where he finished 11th and took fourth place over 10,000m in the provincial schools track championships in the Central Province town of Murang'a. He joined the HPTC upon completion of his education and trained for the 2005 season.

Thuo's first attempt to book a place in Kenya's World Cross team failed after he finished ninth in the junior men's race at the 2005 National Championships. The following year, he took a departure from common practice among Kenyan athletes when he enrolled for a one-year a Diploma in Human Resources at Eldoret's Africa Institute.

That did not quell his desire to embark upon a second attempt at making Kenya's team, this time for the 2006 World Cross Country in Fukuoka, Japan. Thuo ran in the 4km senior men's race at the trials to finish 17th to end his interest in travelling to Japan.

Thuo travelled for his first European track meet in Rovereto, Italy, where he clinched sixth place in the 5000m (13:22.99) He then launched a spirited bid to make the 2007 Mombasa World Cross Country team. But heat adversely affected him at the National Cross Country Championships, in Mombasa, and he finished 21st before placing ninth at the National Trials two weeks later.

On the track, Thuo clocked 14:06.0 to finish sixth in the 5000m in an Athletics Kenya meet, in Kakamega, and he then ran 13:56.0 to register eighth place at the National Championships, in Nairobi, before graduating from college.

The athlete who hails from a family of 11 embarked on preparing himself for Edinburgh by finishing second in a domestic series cross country meeting in Kisii in December. The post-election violence that followed the disputed polls on 27 December saw the cancellation of the remaining cross country meets and the athletes converged at the National Cross Country Trials cum Championships on 1 March to contest places in Kenya's team.

"I want to better my best ever performance in Edinburgh.” Thuo said. “At the moment, I am not thinking of Beijing, since I want to take one thing at a time."

On who inspires him in the sport, he said: "I want to be the best. That way, I will draw on my own performances to improve and become a role model to others." Thuo, though, reserves a special mention for Wanjiru, saying: "I would like to achieve what he has done in his career so far."

His journey to greatness could be launched in Edinburgh.

Personal Best
5000m: 13:22.29 (2006)

Yearly Progression
5000m: 2006 - 13.22.29, 2007 - 13:56.0.

Career Highlights
2007 9th, Kenya World Cross Country Trials
2007 8th, Kenya National Championships, 5000m
2008 6th, Kenya World Cross Country Trials

Prepared by James Wokabi and Mutwiri Mutuota for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008

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