After a whirlwind tour halfway around the world, Kenya’s world marathon record holder and newly crowned London Marathon champion and course record holder Wilson Kipsang is finally back home.
Well, the 32-year-old policeman did touch down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport a couple of days after his blistering course record run of 2.04.29 in London.
But that was a brief stop-over as he was required in South Africa on a promotional tour for his kit sponsors, Adidas.
After events in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Kipsang was off again to Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, to attend the wedding of Hannah van de Veen, a member of his Volare Sports management team who wedded Kenyan athlete Emmanuel Biwott last weekend.
Such is the attention the fastest marathon runner on earth has to get accustomed to.
After clocking the miles, Kipsang finally arrived in his hometown of Iten yesterday to a hero's welcome and immediately, he visited his Mindililwo AIC Church for prayers and thanksgiving as has been his tradition after conquering each race abroad.
Kipsang, who shattered compatriot Patrick Makau’s world record, running a new record time of 2:03.23 last September at the Berlin Marathon, said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s presence at the finish line in London was the most memorable moment of his stellar career.
“Our president was at the finish line volunteering as a soldier of protocol to protect winners from fans’ pressure and that mattered to me in a special way,” said Kipsang.
“As a police officer and my big boss (the president) waiting for me at the finish line, there was simply no way the Head of State could have received a non-Kenyan winner!” he retorted.
The Olympic bronze medallist and father of three added that First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s run for charity on the same course needed the crowning of Kenyan winner in the elite races.
“The presence of the President and his wife both appearing for the welfare of the country unceasingly kept on coming into my mind while I ran,” Kipsang said.
“We had chats during dinner on the marathon eve and Mrs Kenyatta had spoken largely about the pride Kenyans will feel if she would finish the race and six medals won by the country’s athletes,” he said.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS STOLEN
Before the race, Kipsang’s travel plans were interfered with after thieves broke into his car and made away with his vital travel documents.
Nonetheless, Kipsang says he managed to acquire another passport and a United Kingdom visa and landed in London three days before the race.
The devout Christian attributes the fast way through which the documents were processed to God, “who has never let me down.”
“We prayed hard our trust in the Lord eclipsed the possible thug’s intentions of holding me off from participation in London. It was God that made it possible for the process that usually takes not less than eight days come down to two,” said the overjoyed Kipsang.
“There are more great runs to come and the world should expect more. The epitome of it will be when my prayerful career leads me to breaking the record, again” he said.