Mary Jepkosgei Keitany

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Mary Jepkosgei Keitany
Mary Keitany nyc.jpg
Personal information
Born (1982-01-18) January 18, 1982 (age 33)
Weight 42 kg (93 lb)
Country  Kenya
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Marathon

Mary Jepkosgei Keitany (born January 18, 1982 in Kisok, Baringo District) is a runner from Kenya who specialises in long distance running up to the marathon distance. She won silver at the 2007 IAAF World Road Running Championships and became the World Half Marathon champion two years later. She won the 2012 London Marathon with a personal best of 2:18:37 hours – making her the third fastest woman ever in the event.

Her personal best of 1:05:50 in the half marathon is the former women's world record and second fastest of all-time. She also holds the world record in the women's 10 miles (50:05 minutes), 20 km (62:36), and the 25 km (1:19:53).


She started running while at primary school. In 2002, she joined the Hidden Talent Academy. In January 2006 she placed 21st in her first senior race at the Shoe4Africa 5km.[1] After some success in local races, she competed abroad for the first time, winning some road races in Europe.

She won a silver medal at the 2007 IAAF World Road Running Championships, finishing second only to Lornah Kiplagat who broke the world record. She married fellow Kenyan athlete Charles Koech in late 2007 and the couple had a son, Jared Kipchumba, in mid-2008. After her year out, she returned to competition at the World 10K Bangalore in May 2009.[2] She finished one second behind the winner Aselefech Mergia, but set a new personal best of 32:09 in the 10 km.[3] In September that year, she finished the 2009 Lille Half Marathon with 1:07:00, which was a winning mark and the seventh fastest run of all-time over the distance.[4]

Her run in Lille meant she had qualified for the 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham. She outpaced Aberu Kebede to win her first World Championship, setting a new personal best of 1:06:36 and breaking the Championship record. She also took a second gold as part of the winning Kenyan squad in the team competition. Reflecting on the win she noted "it's my best ever time, so I'm so happy...I had a baby just 1 year and 3 months ago." Her 15 km interval time, 46:51 minutes, is better than the world record 46:55 held by Kayoko Fukushi of Japan, but will not be ratified as a world record due to low elevation of the interval related to the race start.[5] Her time was the second fastest ever in the half marathon (after Lornah Kiplagat) and the director of the New York City Marathon, Mary Wittenberg, suggested that she could become a world-beater over the full marathon distance in the coming years.[2] The half marathon time was a new African record, the previous record, 1:06:44 hours, was set by Elana Meyer of South Africa in 1999. She also beat the previous Kenyan record 1:06:48 she had set in Udine two years earlier.[6]

World records and marathon running[edit]

She won the 2010 Abu Dhabi Half Marathon.[7] She also won the 2010 Berlin 25K race, setting a new world record 1:19:53 hours. The previous record was held by Mizuki Noguchi of Japan since 2005. Her quick time left her almost five minutes ahead of the runner-up Alice Timbilili.[8] She used the Portugal Half Marathon in September as preparation for the New York City Marathon and led from the front to win the race largely uncontested in a time of 1:08:46.[9] In her debut run at the 2010 NYC Marathon she was among the leading three for much of the race but faded in the latter stages to complete the distance in 2:29:01 hours for third place.[10]

Keitany began 2011 in record-breaking form as she won the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon with a world record time of 1:05:50. This marked the first time a woman had run the distance in under 66 minutes on a non-aided course and she set a number of other records along the way, including a world record of 1:02:36 for 20 km and world best times for the 8 km and 10-mile markers.[11] She then won the 2011 London Marathon in a time of 2:19:17, pulling away from the field at the 14-mile mark and becoming the fourth fastest woman ever over the marathon distance.[12] She won for a second time at the Portugal Half Marathon and improved upon her own course record with a winning time of 1:07:54 hours.[13] She was the pre-race favourite for the 2011 New York City Marathon and had gained a significant lead by the halfway point (running at over four minutes faster than the course record). However, she slowed dramatically in the second half of the race and was eventually overtaken by Firehiwot Dado and Buzunesh Deba, leaving her in third place with a finishing time of 2:23:38 hours.[14]

She intended to improve her world record mark at the 2012 RAK Half Marathon, but windy conditions meant her winning time of 1:06:49 hours was slower than the previous year.[15] The 2012 London Marathon saw her beat the African record in the marathon with a winning time of 2:18:37 hours, beating Catherine Ndereba's previous mark to become the third fastest woman ever.[16] Despite such a strong showing in London in April, when it came to the 2012 Summer Olympics hosted in the city she was beaten to the finish line. She set a fast pace among the lead pack until 41 km, at which point she fell behind to finish fourth.[17] She announced her pregnancy at the start of 2013 and skipped that year's competitions.[18]

On November 2, 2014, Keitany battled it out with eventual second place finisher Jemima Jelagat Sumgong to win the New York City Marathon in a time of 2:25:07.[19]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to another runner Charles Koech and gave birth to her first child in 2008.[20] She trains at the Adidas camp in Iten, is managed by Gianni Demadonna and is coached by Gabriele Nicola.

International competitions[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2007 World Road Running Championships Udine, Italy 2nd Half marathon
2009 World Half Marathon Championships Birmingham, England 1st Half marathon
2012 Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 4th Marathon 2:23:56

Road races[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2006 Sevilla Half Marathon Seville, Spain 1st Half marathon
San Silvestre Olivais 10K Barcelona, Spain 1st 10 km
2007 Almeria Half Marathon Almeria, Spain 1st Half marathon
Vitry-sur-Seine Humarathon Paris, France 1st Half marathon
Puy-en-Velay 15k Puy-en-Velay, France 1st 15 km
Lille Half Marathon Lille, France 1st Half marathon
2009 Delhi Half Marathon New Delhi, India 1st Half marathon
2011 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon Ras Al Khaimah, UAE 1st Half marathon WR
London Marathon London, United Kingdom 1st Marathon
2012 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 1st Marathon
2014 New York City Marathon New York City, United States 1st Marathon

Personal bests[edit]

Distance Time Date City
5000 m 16:29.4 June 29, 2006 Nairobi, Kenya
10,000 m 32:18.07 May 17, 2007 Utrecht, Netherlands
10 km 30:45+ February 18, 2011 Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
15 km 46:50+ February 18, 2011 Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
20 km 1:02:36+ February 18, 2011 Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
Half marathon 1:05:50 February 18, 2011 Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
25 km 1:19:53 May 9, 2010 Berlin, Germany
Marathon 2:18:37 April 22, 2012 London, UK


  1. ^ Edwards, Myles (2011-10-13). A Brief Chat With Mary Keitany. Runners World. Retrieved on 2012-05-16.
  2. ^ a b Powell, David (2009-10-11). Marathon beckons for Keitany – World Half Marathon, Birmingham. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-11.
  3. ^ Krishnan, Ram. Murali (2009-05-31). Merga and Mergia take thrilling 10km victories in Bangalore. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-11.
  4. ^ Turner, Chris (2009-09-07). Keitany powers to 67mins clocking in Lille Half Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-11.
  5. ^ Turner, Chris (2009-10-11). Frustration turns to delight for Keitany - WOMEN's RACE REPORT - World Half Marathon, Birmingham. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-11.
  6. ^ IAAF: Top List (as of October 11, 2009)
  7. ^ IAAF, January 8, 2010: Fast wins for Keitany and Regassa in Abu Dhabi Half
  8. ^ Wenig, Jorg (2010-05-09). Kosgei, Keitany shatter 25Km World records in Berlin - Updated. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-06-02.
  9. ^ Fernandes, António Manuel (2010-09-26). Tola and Keitany romp to Half Marathon victories in Lisbon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-09-27.
  10. ^ Dunaway, James (2010-11-07). Gebremariam and Kiplagat cruise to New York victories. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-11-07.
  11. ^ Hutchings, Tim (2011-02-18). Keitany smashes Half Marathon World record in Ras Al Khaimah - UPDATED. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-02-18.
  12. ^ Brown, Matthew (2011-04-17). Mutai and Keitany dominate and dazzle in London. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-04-24.
  13. ^ Fernandes, Antonio Manuel (2011-09-25). Keitany smashes race record in Lisbon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-30.
  14. ^ Morse, Parker (2011-11-06). G. Mutai smashes course record, Dado the surprise women's winner in New York. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-11-08.
  15. ^ Hutchings, Tim (2012-02-17). Keitany wins but records blown off course in windy RAK Half Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-02-19.
  16. ^ Brown, Matthew (2012-04-22). Kipsang and Keitany claim London titles for Kenya. IAAF. Retrieved on 2014-02-22.
  17. ^ Turner, Chris (2012-08-05). London 2012 - Event Report - Women's Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2014-02-22.
  18. ^ Athletics-Kenyan runner Mary Keitany expecting second child. Reuters. Retrieved on 2014-02-22.
  19. ^ TCS NYC Marathon Overall Women Results. TCS NYC Marathon official page. Retrieved on 2014-11-02.
  20. ^ IAAF, October 11, 2009: Marathon beckons for Keitany – World Half Marathon, Birmingham

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Vivian Cheruiyot
Kenyan Sportswoman of the Year
Succeeded by
Edna Kiplagat