|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|
|2006||13:22.99||Rovereto (Stadio Quercia)||30 AUG|
|36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships||18||36:00||Edinburgh (Holyrood Park)||30 MAR 2008|
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 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.
5000m: 13:22.29 (2006)
5000m: 2006 - 13.22.29, 2007 - 13:56.0.
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