2011 has become a banner year for Kenyan marathoners. In 2011, Kenya is dominating the marathon in a manner that no country has ever dominated any sporting event. Not only did Patrick Makau break the world record, but the top twenty five marathoners in the world are Kenyan. Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich became the second fastest marathoner in history when he missed the world record by only four seconds.
As can be seen in the list below, Kenya thoroughly and utterly dominated the top lists. So dominant are Kenyan runners that they occupy all the top 25 positions and 29 of the top 30 position.
Not only that, but at the 2011 World championships, Kenya won all the medals in both the men and womens marathon.
For further perspective, there have been 16 Americans who have run a marathon in less than 2 hrs 10 minutes. Yet in the month of October 2011 only, 38 Kenyans achieved that feat.
Never in the history of the world in any sport has one country so dominated an event !
Kenyan athletes have won all six of the World Marathon Majors in a calendar year – Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York, and this year the World Championships Marathon in Daegu. This is unprecedented. In fact Kenya took the top twp positions in all the major marathons in 2011. Kenyans have in 2011 won 83 out of about 100 marathon races. Women have won almost 30 races this year.
How does one explain this unprecedented dominance ? To begin with, the 10,000m race is rarely contested. As such every good 10K runner has opted for the marathon or half marathon as it is far more lucrative. The late Samuel Wanjiru started out as a 10,000m runner and by age 18 had already run the race in 26:41.75. Its fair to sya that he would have been an excellent 10K runner and possily broke the record. He switched to the marathon by age 19.
Secondly, the financial success of runners like Wanjiru has sprurred on dozens of other runners who more than ever see running as their best way out of poverty. They are thus highly motivated.