It will take another generation of athletes to dip under the brand new 800 metres world record of one minute, 41.01 seconds.
That was the strong message from the record’s owner, David Rudisha, as he arrived to a heroic reception in Nairobi at dawn on Wednesday after twice shattering the two-lap lead time.
Rudisha’ also Africa’s champion over the distance, said none of the athletes on the world circuit at present is capable of running faster than the time he set in Rieti, Italy, just over a week and a half ago.
Just like serial pole vault record breaker Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia, Rudisha keeps raising the bar for himself, and despite having twice broken the world record erstwhile held by Kenyan-born Dane Wilson Kipketer, the man from Kilgoris is not yet resting on his laurels.
His next target is to be the first man to run under the 1:41 barrier. “I am at peace with myself and with the performance I have had. It does not bother me that anyone will lower further the record,” he said shortly after touching down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
“I feel no threat. There is nobody in the current crop of athletes I have run with who can challenge it.
“I’m not saying it will never be improved, but for the time being, it is safe.
“The way I felt after running was sensational and it will require a genius and exceptional talent to break it,” said Rudisha.
The champ selflessly handed credit for his record to the pace-making done exceptionally well by compatriot Sammy Tangui, saying it would be hard in middle and long distance records to fall without help from “rabbits” as pace-makers are referred to in athletics.
“Tangui, did a great job. So I think the issue of having rabbits in athletics is good.” Business at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was disrupted when Rudisha was ushered home on a red carpet.
Ordinarily, Rudisha would go through the standard immigration procedures, un-noticed. But on Wednesday, he met by his seniors at the Kenya Police led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Jonathan Kosgei.
And within minutes of his landing, the star was welcomed by his community, family and friends who braved the chilly morning weather at the airport to greet him. Traditional Maasai cultural symbols dotted the airport.
Local brew was aplenty, sour milk in volumes and a warrior’s regalia completed the picture as his motorcade of over 20 vehicles snaked through the heavy morning traffic along Mombasa Road through the central business district and on to Westlands with police outriders clearing the way.
Rudisha rode in a sleek Range Rover to Westlands where an official reception awaited him at Peponi Gardens. For almost a month, he had not seen his wife, Lizzy Naanyu, their six-month-old daughter, Charin, and his parents, family and friends.
The 21-year-old could not hold back his emotions. “I am happy. I don’t know how to say it, but this welcome is good. I am humbled and thank you to all these people,” he said.
His wife will be throwing him a private party later. “We have missed him. He is back and we all feel excited,” she said. “I congratulate him and will treat him to a small party back at home with the neighbours,” said Naanyu, a human resource student at the Moi University in Eldoret.
It was the initial step in his coronation. Rudisha will have to wait until next Friday to be bestowed the title of Maasai elder at his Kilgoris home.