Abel Kirui

Abel Kirui (born 6 April 1982) is a long-distance runner from Kenya who competes in marathons. He had back-to-back wins in the World Championships Marathon in 2009 and 2011. He won in 2009 with a time of 2:06:54, then defended his title with a winning margin of two minutes and 28 seconds – the largest ever margin at the World Championship event. He won a silver medal in the 2012 Olympic marathon.

Abel Kirui
Podium Men Marathon Daegu 2011 cropped.jpg
Abel Kirui on the podium after winning gold in the 2011 World Championships in Athletics
Personal information
Born (1982-04-06) 6 April 1982 (age 39)
Country Kenya
TeamNN Running Team

He has also won the 2008 Vienna City Marathon, the 2016 Chicago Marathon and was runner-up at the 2007 Berlin Marathon and 2017 Chicago Marathon.


Kirui tops the podium after setting a course record at the Vienna City Marathon

Kirui started running while in Samitui Primary School. After high school, the jobless Kirui entered a recruitment race by Administration Police (AP) the winner of such race would be recruited by AP. Kirui won the race and subsequently joined AP, starting serious training only after then. He entered the 2006 Berlin Marathon as a pacemaker, but finished the race 9th.[1]

At the 2007 Berlin Marathon, Kirui finished second with a time of 2:06:51, after the winner Haile Gebrselassie, who set a new marathon world record. The time made Kirui the sixth fastest marathoner in 2007.[1] He also won the Paderborn Half-marathon in 2007.[citation needed] At the 2008 Vienna City Marathon, he won with a new course record of 2:07:38.[citation needed]

He finished third in the 2009 Rotterdam Marathon with a time of 2:05:04 after fellow Kenyans Duncan Kibet and James Kwambai,[2] making him the sixth fastest marathoner ever. On 22 August 2009 he took gold over his teammate Emmanuel Mutai who took silver at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin at a record time of 2:06:54.[3]

After the 2009 World Championships, Kirui had many unsuccessful attempts to show the dominance he had shown in his Berlin race: he finished in fifth place at the 2010 London Marathon,[citation needed] then failed to finish at the 2011 London Marathon.

Immediately after that failure, he started training with the Italian Coach Renato Canova, moving from Kapsabet to Iten, together with Jonathan Maiyo. Training with Canova's group, he was able to recruit the best shape, winning in Daegu his second title in World Championships.[citation needed] Kirui ran at the Prefontaine Classic track 25K/30K mixed race, hoping to set a new 25k track record. Although he just managed to dip under the previous world record time for the track 25K, he was well beaten by fellow Kenyan and teammate Moses Mosop, who broke both 25K and 30K world records.[4]

He was given the wildcard spot on the Kenyan marathon team as the defending champion at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics. Kirui ran a time of 2:07:38 beating out fellow countryman Vincent Kipruto and Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa. This made Kirui the third man to defend the marathon world title, following in the steps of Abel Antón and Jaouad Gharib.[5] He ran over 10 miles at the Great South Run in October and finished as runner-up to Leonard Komon.[6]

Kirui finished in second at the 2012 Summer Olympics, with a time of 2:08:27. Barely losing to the winner Stephen Kiprotich by 26 seconds.[7]

At the 2016 Chicago Marathon, Kirui won with the time of 2:11:23, barely beating Dickson Chumba by 3 seconds.[8] Kirui finished in second place at the 2017 Chicago Marathon with a time of 2:8:48. Barely losing to the winner Galen Rupp by 28 seconds.[9]

Kirui finished the 2017 London Marathon, in 4th place with a time of 2:07:45.[citation needed] The following year, at the 2018 London Marathon Kirui once again finished in 4th place with a time of 2:07:07.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Kirui lives at Nabkoi, east of Kapsabet. He is married to Stella Jemeli and has a son Tevin Kipchumba.[11] Kirui is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[12][13] Kirui along with fellow Seventh-day Adventists Priscah Jeptoo and Amos Tirop Matui founded Better Living Marathon.[14] Marathon runner Michael Kosgei Rotich is his uncle.[1] Kirui is coached by Renato Canova.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c "Kirui following Gebrselassie's Berlin example". IAAF. 22 August 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Kibet edges Kwambai as both clock 2:04:27 – Rotterdam Marathon report". IAAF. 5 April 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Kirui leads home Kenyan 1–2 in men's marathon". Reuters. 22 August 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2009.
  4. ^ Martin, David (4 June 2011). "Mosop rips apart World records for 25,000 and 30,000m in Eugene – Samsung Diamond League". IAAF. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  5. ^ Martin, David (4 September 2011). "Men's Marathon - Final - With runaway victory, Kirui becomes third man to defend title". IAAF. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  6. ^ Martin, David (30 October 2011). "Komon and Mergia take convincing victories in Portsmouth". IAAF. Archived from the original on 31 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich wins Olympic marathon, beating defending champ Abel Kirui of Kenya by 26 seconds". Daily News. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  8. ^ "Abel Kirui edges Chumba to win Chicago Marathon". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  9. ^ "Galen Rupp is first American to win Chicago Marathon since 2002". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  10. ^ "Virgin Money London Marathon 2018". results-2018.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  11. ^ "Kirui takes medal home, met by jubilant admirers". Standard Digital. 27 August 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Champion Marathoner Talks About Running". Spectrum Magazine. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  13. ^ "Adventist Olympian says post-marathon celebration is testament to faith in God". Adventist News Network. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  14. ^ "Adventist church launches Better Living Marathon". Kenya Current. Retrieved 2019-04-26.

External linksEdit