Hellen Chepngeno

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Hellen Chepngeno (born August 2, 1967 in Kitopen, Bomet District) is a retired athlete from Kenya best known for winning gold at the 1994 World Cross Country Championships

She started her career while at Kitopen Primary School. She finished 2nd at the Kenyan cross-country championships in 1991 behind Tegla Loroupe. Chepngeno was selected to compete at the 1991 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, but finished only 46th.

In 1992 she won the Kenyan trails for the 1992 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. She finished 15th at the World Cross Country Championships held in Boston, United States and was part of the Kenyan gold-medal winning team.

She did not make the Kenyan team for the 1993 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, but won a bronze medal at the 1993 African Championships

The 1994 World Cross Country Championships were held in Budapest, Hungary where she became the first Kenyan woman to win individual World Cross Country Championships gold medal.

Later she suffered from injuries and was not able to repeat her earlier success.[1] She was still competing in 1999.[2]

During her running career, she was a corporal in the Kenya Prisons, which is famous for recruiting promising Kenyan athletes. Before starting running, she took High jump and javelin throw.[3]

She keeps a 5-acre (20,000 m2) plot in Kitopen bought with her prize money. She is not married, but has two sons,[1] one of them was four years old in 1994.[4]

She remained the only Kenyan national to win the long race at the World Cross Country Championships, until 2009 when Florence Kiplagat won the race.[5]

International competitions[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1992 World Cross Country Championships Boston, United States 15th Long race
1st Team
1993 African Championships Durban, South Africa 3rd 3000 m
1994 World Cross Country Championships Budapest, Hungary 1st Long race
3rd Team


  1. ^ a b IAAF, March 20, 2007: A Kenyan XC legend - Helen Chepngeno
  2. ^ Daily Nation January 31, 1999: Koech wins Armed Forces title again
  3. ^ Daily Nation, February 05, 2007: Chepngeno, Kenya’s unsung athletics heroine [1]
  4. ^ International Herald Tribune, March 28, 1994: Shooting for the Moon, Kenyans Win All but 1 Cross Country Gold
  5. ^ IAAF, March 28, 2009: Senior Women’s Race Report - Amman 2009