2019 Kenya Marathon Dinner

The 2019 Edition of The Kenya Marathon Dinner will held on Friday Oct 11th at the Boulevard Room inside the Hilton Hotel, Downtown Chicago.

This annual event gives us a chance to honor and cheer the Elite Athletes from Kenya participating in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.


Abel Kirui & Florence Kiplagat emerge winners @ The 2016 Chicago Marathon.



abel-florenceWith 5k splits of 16:03, 15:59, 15:48, and finally 15:14, the race was one of, to use a Will Farrell term, ‘Strategery’. It seemed like some did not know how to run without someone controlling the race. The pace resembled a 50k race walk early on, but, as the race developed, the surges and return to the lead pack reminded me of an accordian player, in a polka.

Abel Kirui, listening to his coach, Renato Canova, and his training mate, Florence Kiplagat, played his cards close to his chest. Taking on the defending champion over the final six miles, and using a final herculean sprint over the last 200 meters, Abel Kirui won his first race in North America!

After the race, Abel Kirui was embraced by 1968 Olympic gold medalist at 1,500 meters, Kipchoge Keino and 1988 champion Peter Rono, who were in Chicago to see the race and enjoy the Kenyan Marathon dinner, in its 18th year.

One final note on Abel Kirui. He wants to race in somewhere in the Spring to challenge Mr. Bekele and Mr. Kipchoge.

Abel Kirui, the two time World champion, and 2012 Olympic silver medalist won the 2016 Chicago marathon today in an exciting finish over 2015 Chicago champ Dickson Chumba, by three seconds!

” I wanted to run well in America” is how a very talkative Kirui commented to TV. The pace was strange on the men’s side, with halfway reached in 1:06:28, and a pack of 13. There were some fast miles, such as a 4:33 at mile 15, then, like an accordian, the pack came back. Luke Puskedra and Diego Estrada fell off, and clawed their way back. At 22 miles, the racing got real serious as Gideon Kipketer, Dickson Chumba and Abel Kirui took off with a 4:44 mile. That was followed by a 4:39 mile and Kipketer was off the back. Dickson Chumba looked so relaxed and Abel Kirui was gritting his teeth, as the duo ran 4:41 and then, 4:43. In the final mile, Abel Kirui, wanting to run well in America, did just than, charging to the finish in 2:11:23.

Dickson Chumba, the defending champion, was with Abel Kirui until mile 25, as they dueled over the last six miles. 4:44, then, 4:39, then, 4:41, then, 4:43, then, 4:47! The battle between the two was monumental, especially after Gideon Kipketer fell off with four miles to go!

Dickson told the media that Abel had a wonderful race. To this keen observer, Abel Kirui was barely holding on in miles 22-25, and then, that one final, all out charge to the front did it. Abel Kirui made daylight between himself and the defending champion. After that, Abel Kirui put three seconds on Chumba between mile 26 and the finish.

Abel Kirui also noted after the race that he had listened to his coach, something he had not done in the past marathons. “I told my mind that I needed to be number one today, not number two” noted the animated Abel Kirui.

And that is how Abel Kirui won his first marathon in the U.S. The Windy city will be a place for good memories for the two time World Champion.

Abel did this wonderful dance after his win, reminiscent of Ezekial Kemboi, after his many steeplechase wins, and was hugged by 1968 Olympic gold medalist Kipchoge Keino, the first of the great Kenyan middle distance runners. Kenya went 1-6 at the 2016 Bank of America Chicago marathon. Diego Estrada was the first American in 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2:13:56 in eighth place! 41,350 official starters today in the 39th Bank of America Chicago Marathon!

2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Men, 1. Abel Kirui, KEN, 2:11:23, 2. Dickson Chumba, KEN, 2:11:26, 3. Gideon Kipketer, KEN, 2:12:20, 4. Paul Lonyangata, KEN, 2:13:17, 5. Stephen Sambu, KEN, 2:13:35, 6. Abanyeh Ayale, ETH, 2:13:52, 7. Takuya Fukatsu, JPN, 2:13:53, 8. Diego Estrada, USA, 2:13:56, 9. Koji Gokaya, JPN, 2:14:34, 10. Elkana Kibet, USA, 2:14:34,


Dr. Kipchoge Keino Arrives In Chicago For The Kenya Marathon Dinner

Dr. Kipchoge Keino, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, the current Chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee, and a recent winner of the first Olympic Laurel Award, has landed safely in Chicago.

A contingent of Chicago based Kenyans and well wishers was on hand to welcome Dr. Keino at Chicago’s O’hare International Airport.



Dr. Keino will be on hand to to grace various marquee events associated with the Chicago Marathon, highlighted by his presence at the 2016 edition of the Kenya Marathon Dinner, which takes place this Friday, Oct 7th @ The Hilton Hotel.

Tickets to the Marathon Dinner are still available @ https://kenyamarathondinner.eventbrite.com

In addition to delivering the keynote address at the Marathon Dinner, Dr. Keino will also be the guest of honor at a “Mini-Marathon” taking place at Chicago’s Jungman Elementary School on Thursday, October 6, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

On Sunday, which is the actual race day for the Chicago Marathon, Dr. Keino will hold the ceremonial tape at the finish line as the elite runners complete the race.

The Kenya Marathon Dinner (NFP) has facilitated Dr. Keino’s visit and will be overseeing his entire schedule of events.

For a more details on the Kenya Marathon Dinner please https://www.kenyamarathondinner.com

Media inquiries can be sent to Don Owino @ topdonn1@gmail.com

Kipchoge Keino delivers keynote at 2016 Kenya Marathon Dinner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           sheila.wesonga@commandattention.net September 8, 2016                                                                                  312.857.3726


Kipchoge Keino delivers keynote at 2016 Kenya Marathon Dinner

Kipchoge Keino, gold medalist in track and field, Chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee and winner of the first Laurel Award, a distinction from the International Olympic Committee will be honored at the Kenya Marathon Dinner as he delivers the keynote address. Keino, as an athlete representing his native Kenya, received his first gold medal in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico and throughout his career continued to win additional gold and silver medals in track and field events. However, it is his contribution to education, culture, development and peace through sport that catapulted him to fame beyond his athletic abilities.

Chemutai Chepkwony, Founder and President of the Kenyan Marathon Dinner explains it best, “The Kenya Marathon Dinner began nearly two decades ago as a way to honor the elite marathon runners from Kenya that run in the Chicago Marathon. These runners have been our ambassadors, making us proud and we wanted to show our appreciation of their athletic efforts. A similar honor is due to Kip Keino, who has given so much of himself to the people of my homeland and his, the great nation of Kenya. I’m so elated to have him along with the other Olympians attending the dinner this year.” The Kenya Marathon Dinner is a Not for Profit organization whose focus is to honor the Kenyan marathon runners, provide an avenue for them to share the benefits of exercise and healthy diet, give marathon enthusiasts an opportunity to interact with some of the world’s best athletes as well as enjoy Kenyan cuisine and culture. The 2016 Kenya Marathon Dinner will occur Friday, October 7, 2016, 6:30 PM, in the Boulevard Room at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, 720 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago Illinois, 60605.

Additional guests include, Olympians Peter Rono, Edwin Koech, Peter Koech and Joseph Sainah. Music and spoken word will be delivered by Anna Mwalagho. For more information, visit www.kenyamarathondinner.com.

Tickets are available at kenyamarathondinner.eventbrite.com


Dickson Chumba and Florence Kiplagat Claim Victory in Chicago

Dickson Chumba and Florence Kiplagat Claim Victory in Chicago
Dickson Chumba leads a 1-2-3 Kenyan sweep. Florence Kiplagat captures her 3rd World Marathon Majors title.

CHICAGO — In today’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon, more than 37,000 runners crossed the finish line in Grant Park on a sun kissed day with strong winds out of the southwest. For the first time in more than two decades, pacesetters were not at the helm of the race, and in a strategic competition up front, the men’s race saw a Kenyan sweep with Dickson Chumba running away from the field in 2:09:25, Sammy Kitwara finishing as the runner-up for the second time in 2:09:50, and newcomer to the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM), Sammy Ndungu, sprinting down the homestretch for third in 2:10:06.

Florence Kiplagat (KEN), the reigning half marathon world record holder, captured her third Abbott World Marathon Majors win after picking up a pair of wins at the 2011 and 2013 BMW BERLIN Marathon, breaking the tape first in 2:23:33. Yebrgual Melese (ETH) held on for second in 2:23:43, and Birhane Dibaba (ETH), secured a podium finish in 2:24:24, moving her into second place on the AWMM leader board.

The Men’s Race

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 11: Chumba Dickson of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Mens 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 11, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Without the use of pacesetters (“rabbits”), the men’s race moved out at a pedestrian pace with 11 men bunched into a tight pack through the first five kilometers. American Elkanah Kibet bravely surged ahead and opened a 15 second gap on the chase pack, but the eight men behind him reeled him in before 15K. All nine contenders hit the half in 1:05:13, and the group remained huddled together through 30K.

As the group neared the 20-mile mark, the field seemed content to wait for someone to make the first move. Dickson Chumba, Sammy Kitwara and Abera Kuma (ETH) answered the call, hitting the gas pedal at mile 20, and breaking the pack with a 4:35 mile.

With Kuma fading to seventh place, Chumba, the third place finisher in 2014, continued to push ahead, and by mile 24, he had opened a 20 second gap on Kitwara. Chumba hit the tape first, earning his second AWMM career victory with a 2:09:25 finish. Kitwara finished as the runner-up for the second time in 2:09:50, and Sammy Ndungu edged Girmay Birhanu Gebru at the line to claim third in 2:10:06.

In an exclusive interview with Chicago based Afrodisiac TV, Chumba indicated that the lack of pacesetters and the stiff breeze played a significant role in the relatively slow times that were posted in this years race. Having trained well he felt that he would have posted a faster time but was nonetheless very pleased to come out with the win after placing 3rd last year.
The Women’s Race

Florence Kiplagat
Unlike the men’s race, the women’s race started aggressively. Kayoko Fukushi (JPN), the 2011 Chicago Marathon runner-up, led a pack of six through the 5K on sub 2:20 pace. The women accelerated through seven miles, but slowed before the 15K as they turned into a strong headwind.

The same group of six hit the half way mark in 1:10:28 and remained together until two-time Berlin Marathon winner, Florence Kiplagat, and Yebrgual Melese, put some strides on the field at mile 22. Kiplagat finally pulled away from Melese around 40K. Kiplagat held on strong to finish first in 2:23:33, moving her to fourth place on the AWMM leaderboard with 26 points. Melese finished ten seconds back in 2:23:43, and Dibaba held off Fukushi by one second to claim third place in 2:24:24.

In an interview with Afrodisiac TV, Kiplagat gave an inspiring account of how an early morning conversation with her children motivated her to capture the crown. She communicated with them an hour before the race and they assured that she would take the crown. After she crossed the finish she was overwhelmed with joy both for herself and for her children who were watching back home in Eldoret, Kenya.


Florence Kiplagat Inteview

Eliud Kipchoge Wins Berlin Marathon

By the time he reached the finish, blistered and bloodied, there was little doubt that Eliud Kipchoge had established himself as the world’s best marathoner.

As was the 2:19:25 that Gladys Cherono ran to win the women’s race, Kipchoge’s time was the fastest in the world this year. But it was the circumstances under which Kipchoge dispatched the field that established him as the most formidable marathoner in the world.

Kipchoge ran the vast majority of the race with his insoles hanging loose from his shoes, a footwear malfunction that caused considerable pain and distraction through the latter part of the race.

“It was not easy,” he said. “There are blisters on the left foot and my big toe is cut, with lots of blood.”

When the field set off in cool and sunny conditions in the city’s Tiergarten, hopes were high that Dennis Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57—set last year in Berlin—would be threatened, with Kipchoge, the London winner in April, seen as the one most likely to do it.

But in the first mile, Kipchoge’s left insole began to come loose and slide out of his shoe. By the time he reached 10K mark with the leaders in 29:19, five seconds ahead of world record schedule, his right insole was doing the same.

At the pace they were moving at, Kipchoge didn’t dare risk stopping, not only to avoid losing ground but also out of fear of making the situation worse. “I had pain in my foot, but what could I do?” he said. “I had to finish the race.”

When the lead group reached halfway in 61:53, Kipchoge ran directly behind the pacemakers, but he had others for company: fellow Kenyans Emmanuel Mutai, Geoffrey Mutai, and Eliud Kiptanui along with Ethiopians Feyisa Lilesa and Tamirat Tola.

By 30K, Boston and New York City course record holder Geoffrey Mutai and Tola had been dropped, with Emmanuel Mutai and Kipchoge pushing the pace at the front. Right around the 20-mile mark, Kipchoge made the first significant move of the race.

With his insoles still flapping to the side, Kipchoge moved to the front, opening up his powerful stride and moving clear. He covered the five kilometers between 30K and 35K in 14:23, by far the fastest section of the race. When he ran through the Brandenburg Gate with a quarter mile to go, his rivals were out of sight.

When he crossed the finish line, arms outstretched, in 2:04:00, Kipchoge brought to five his number of marathon wins out of six attempts at the distance. His only defeat was in Berlin two years ago, when he was second behind Wilson Kipsang’s then-world record of 2:03:23.

The question on everyone’s mind afterwards was what went wrong with his shoes, and how much faster Kipchoge thought he could have gone without the malfunction.

“The glue on the insole did not stick,” he said. “It is a good shoe and I have tested that same shoe in training, but that is sport. I have to accept it. I think I would have run faster than that but I don’t know the time.”

Kipchoge plans to take three weeks off to recover before targeting a spring marathon, but he is mostly looking ahead to the 2016 Olympic Marathon in Rio de Janeiro. “I’m not going to celebrate as I have been running for a long time,” the 2003 world 5,000-meter champion said. “I will go back and plan for my next marathon, but my mind is in Rio. That’s my main aim.”

Behind Kipchoge, who coasted across the line looking just as fresh as he was two hours earlier, his beaten rivals reached the finish in the manner of punch-drunk boxers. First in was Kiptanui, who had a breakthrough run to finish second in a personal best of 2:05:21.

“I am impressed to be runner-up to Kipchoge,” said Kiptanui, aware that he was up against an unbeatable force today.

Others, such as fourth-placed Emmanuel Mutai, the second fastest man ever, dropped to his knees after the finish, vomiting. Putting a hand on Mutai’s shoulder as he walked past, making sure he was okay, was training partner Kipchoge, who showed few signs of fatigue from his effort.

Race director Mark Milde, meanwhile, was busy talking to Kipchoge’s agent, seeing if he could secure Kipchoge’s infamous insoles for a permanent place in the marathon’s museum.

Mama Sarah Obama’s Interview With NPR Radio


Mama Sarah Obama and her charitable foundation Safeguard Widows & Orphans (S.O.W.O) will be awarded the 1st Annual Kenya Marathon Dinner Leadership Award on Friday, October 9th, 2015.

She was recently also a recipient of the Education Pioneer award at the United Nations on Wednesday as part of its Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and has spent much of her life helping young people — and particularly young women — in her region get an education.

President Obama’s last surviving grandparent, whom he referred to as Granny in his memoir Dreams from My Father, never went to school herself, she tells NPR’s Scott Simon through an interpreter.

“It was very hard for women to get an education,” when she was growing up, the 94-year-old Obama says. “Only young boys or men were allowed to go to school.”

But things are different in Kenya now, she says. United Nations data actually shows a higher percentage of Kenyan girls going to school than Kenyan boys.

“I encourage them — even the ones who have had families at a young age — I encourage them to go to school so that the cycle of poverty can end,” Obama says. She sometimes uses her grandson as an example of the doors an education can open.

“I help the orphans and widows, especially the young girls who have been orphaned by their parents dying of HIV,” she says. “I am their sole parent right now, so I help them pay school fees and also get them the things that they need, like sanitary towels, books, necessities like a pencil, school uniforms. That’s what I do.”

Listen to the entire interview below.

2015 Bank Of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field Announced

2012 Chicago Champion and Current Half Marathon World Record-holder Headline 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field
International Elites Attempt to Qualify for National Olympic Teams
CHICAGO – Today, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced 2012 champion Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia and current half marathon world record-holder Florence Kiplagat of Kenya will return to compete for the crown at the 38th annual event.

Kebede and Kiplagat accent an international elite field that represents the global road to Rio de Janeiro. Many athletes hope to use the 2015 Chicago Marathon as a springboard (via qualifying times and notable performances) to representing their countries at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.

Chicago marks the site of Kebede’s 2012 marathon personal best (2:04:38) and his sole victory in three attempts down the homestretch on Columbus Drive. His 2010 epic, head-to-head battle against the late Sammy Wanjiru is considered by many to be one of the most courageous marathon duels of all time.

On the women’s side, Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat comes back to Chicago after finishing in 2:25:57 last year. Kiplagat has something no other woman in the field has: the half marathon world record. The 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon champion and the 2011 and 2013 Berlin Marathon champion broke her own half marathon world record in February, clocking a remarkable 1:05:09 in Barcelona (she also set the 15K and 20K world records en route). Kiplagat ran her personal best in 2011, 2:19:44.

“These athletes have the ability to test themselves and chase their goals on race day,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “The streets of Chicago will see some incredible talent and competition as these men and women show off their Olympic-level talent.”

October 11 will be the first time under Pinkowski’s 26-year leadership that the race will not feature elite pacesetters. This change has the potential to produce more Olympic-like race conditions and a more strategic, tactical competition for runners. But with time bonuses still intact, a record-chasing speed show is not an artifact of the past.

Men’s field:

Kebede, a 2008 Olympic Marathon bronze medalist, is one of the most accomplished and consistent marathon runners of the last decade. He will arrive in Chicago as a major presence on the AWMM race circuit, finishing in the top 10 of 15 AWMM races since 2009, including three victories, three second-place and five third-place finishes. After being left off of the 2012 Ethiopian Olympic team, a win in Chicago could catch the eye of his national federation and help him earn a spot in Rio.

Kenya’s Sammy Kitwara stands out as Kebede’s main contender. As the fifth-fastest man in history over the half marathon distance, Kitwara will toe the line in the windy city for the fourth time after steadily rising in the ranks over the past three years. He finished fourth in 2012, third in 2013 and second in 2014. He set a new personal best last year in Chicago, 2:04:28, making him the fastest man in this year’s elite field.

Kebede and Kitwara will be joined by Kenyan elites Dickson Chumba (2:04:32), Wesley Korir (2:06:13), Lucas Rotich (2:07:17) and Sammy Ndungu (2:07:04).

Chumba was a relative unknown until he burst onto the scene in 2014 with a win and course record at the Tokyo Marathon. He followed that performance with a third-place showing at the 2014 Chicago Marathon in a new personal best, 2:04:32.

Wesley Korir, an elected member of the Kenyan Parliament, will make his seventh appearance in Chicago, the most of any elite athletes in the field. Career highlights include his second-place finish at the 2011 Chicago Marathon, followed by his victory in Boston in 2012 and his fifth-place finish and personal best, 2:06:13, in Chicago in 2012.

Ethiopia’s Endeshaw Negesse (2:04:52) has a lot at stake in his Chicago Marathon debut. As the 2015 winner of the Tokyo Marathon, he is in the running for the AWMM series title. He needs to score in Chicago to have a chance at the $500,000 prize. Also in the hunt from Ethiopia are Tilahun Regassa and Abera Kuma. Regassa, who placed second at the 2015 Xiamen Marathon and fifth at the 2015 London Marathon, made his marathon debut in Chicago in 2012 in a time that remains his personal best, 2:05:27. Kuma won the Rotterdam Marathon in April, and he holds a personal record of 2:05:56.

Yoshii Satoshi leads a strong contingent of Japanese runners. He has a personal best of 2:10:45. Australia’s Liam Adams, Canada’s Rob Watson and Great Britain’s Mitch Goose round out the international field. Adams ran his 2:13:49 personal best in 2014, and Watson clocked a 2:13:29 in 2013. Goose will be making his 26.2-mile debut following a successful collegiate career at Iona College.

Fernando Cabada, of Fresno, Calif., will make his first Chicago appearance as the top American in the field. He set his personal best, 2:11:36, last year in Berlin. Sean Keveren, of Charlottesville, Va., will be making his marathon debut after posting an impressive 1:02:52 half marathon at the 2015 U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Houston.

Women’s field:

Several women in the field boast the potential to make the 38th annual event a thrilling contest of strength, endurance and speed.

Mulu Seboka of Ethiopia enters Chicago, challenging Kiplagat and seeking her first AWMM career win. She launched her professional running career 12 years ago with a modest 2:46:33. Over the past decade, she has run more than thirty-five marathons – unprecedented for an elite marathoner – and she welcomed the new year with a personal record in Dubai, 2:21:56.

In addition to Seboka and Kiplagat, Ethiopia’s Amane Gobena hopes to be among the leaders down the homestretch. She arrives fresh off a personal best and a second-place finish at the 2015 Paris Marathon in 2:23:30.

Hoping to prevent an East African sweep, Kayoko Fukushi of Japan is a three-time Olympian (Athens, Beijing, London) and a former world record-holder in the 15K. She finished second in the 2011 Chicago Marathon, and with a marathon personal best of 2:24:21 and a half marathon personal record of 1:07:26, she has the speed necessary for a podium finish.