Kenya’s Olympic marathon gold medallists Eliud Kipchoge and Jemima Sumgong have been named best marathon runners for 2016 by world road running organisation AIMS.
AIMS, an acronym for The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races said the pair were selected by an expert panel on behalf of AIMS’s member races that include 410 of the world’s leading and most prestigious distance races from over 110 countries and territories.
“Their outstanding achievements over the past year will be recognised by AIMS, their sponsors and members at the fourth annual AIMS Best Marathon Runner’ Awards dinner reception to be held in the birth place of the Marathon in Athens, Greece, on November 11, 2016,” a statement from AIMS said on Thursday.
It is the second year in a row for Kipchoge, also the World Marathon Majors champion, to win the prestigious award.
“Eliud, 31, has continued his excellent form from 2015 into 2016, winning two of the biggest marathon events in the last 12 months,” the AIMS statement added.
“In April, 2016, he won the London Marathon for the second consecutive year, setting a new course record of 2:03:05. He then followed that up by winning his first - and Kenya’s second - ever Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janiero, winning the marathon in a time of 2:08:44.”
On the other hand, AIMS feted Sumgong, 31, for also winning the London and Olympic marathon races.
“Jemima Sumgong has also enjoyed a very impressive year. Despite falling, she recovered to win the London Marathon in April this year in a time of 2:22:58,” the statement said.
“She then travelled to Rio for the Olympic Games and again was the outstanding athlete of the event, winning Kenya’s first gold medal in the women’s marathon, setting a time of 2:24:04.”
Kipchoge has also been shortlisted for the IAAF Athlete of the Year award that will be handed out at the Monte Carlo Sporting Club in Monaco on December 3.
A three-way voting process will determine the finalists with the Council of the International Association of Athletics federations (IAAF) and the IAAF family casting their votes by email.
Online voting has also been opened for fans via the IAAF’s social media platforms.
Other nominees include 800 metres Olympic champions David Rudisha and Conseslus Kipruto.
Other are: Usain Bolt (Jamaica), Thiago Braz da Silva (Brazil), Ashton Eaton (USA), Mo Farah (Britain), Omar McLeod (Jamaica), Christian Taylor (USA) and Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa).
“I’m delighted to receive this award for the second year in a row. I really enjoyed receiving the Best Marathon Runner Award last year in Athens and I am very pleased to have been recognised by AIMS and their members from around the world again. It is a great honour to receive this award,” Kipchoge, who trains in Kaptagat, said.
Sumgong was also delighted with the award.
“It is so special for me to be recognised in this way by AIMS, their members and sponsors. I would like to thank them for awarding me in recognition of my achievements this year,” she said.
“I have been delighted with my form this year and this is a wonderful way to have my efforts recognised by the people at the top of organising my sport at the highest level.
“It is extra special the fact that I will receive this in the birth place of the marathon, Athens, Greece, at a special year, the 120th year after the first ever Marathon race and during the special weekend of the annual Athens Marathon, the Authentic Marathon.”AIMS President Paco Borao described the two stars as “history makers.”
“ Jemima and Eliud are clearly the outstanding performers of our sport in 2016,” he said.
“It will be our great pleasure to recognise them here in such a special location for all marathon runners, where their own rightful place of history making in the modern day is recorded for all time alongside over 2,500 years of marathon history in the home of the marathon Athens, Greece. “