Jemima Sumgong

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Sumgong (left) and Sharon Cherop on the last turn of the 2012 Boston Marathon.

Jemima Jelagat Sumgong (born 21 December 1984) is a Kenyan long-distance runner who competes in marathon races. She has won the Rotterdam and Las Vegas Marathons, and has finished runner-up at the Boston, Chicago and New York City Marathons. She has a personal best of 2:20:48 hours for the distance.

Early Career[edit]

Hailing from the Nandi District in Kenya, Sumgong began to compete abroad in 2004. In one of her first elite races, she came second at the Gothenburg Half Marathon.[1] She started to establish herself as a runner on the American road circuit in 2005. She won the Ogden Newspapers Classic Half Marathon and Maggie Valley Moonlight Run that year.[2][3] Further victories followed in 2006, as she won the Get In Gear 10K in Minneapolis, the Cleveland 10K and the Wharf to Wharf 6-Miler.[4][5][6] She ran a 15K personal best of 49:39 minutes at the Utica Boilermaker in July and, that November, she ran the fastest ever half marathon in Trinidad and Tobago, winning a race in Saint Augustine in 1:12:08 hours.[7][8]

Sumgong's first marathon came at the Las Vegas Marathon in 2006 and she won on her first attempt, taking the women's title in a time of 2:35:22 hours.[9] She came third at the Azalea Trail Run the following year.[7] She made her European debut at the 2007 Frankfurt Marathon and she came fourth in an improved time of 2:29:41 hours.[10] Her next outing over the distance came at the San Diego Marathon and she was runner-up in 2:30:18 hours behind Yulia Gromova.[11] She signed up to work for the Kenyan Armed Forces in 2009. Taking a break from running, she married Noah Talam (another Kenyan marathon runner) and the couple later had a daughter in 2011. Having missed the 2009 season, she returned in 2010 and was runner-up at the San Blas Half Marathon, fifth at the Berlin Half Marathon and fifth at the San Diego Marathon.[7]

After the birth of her daughter, Sumgong made a successful return in December 2011 at the Castellón Marathon, which she won in a personal best of 2:28:32 hours.[12]


Sumgong was seventh at the highly competitive Kenyan Cross Country Championships at the start of 2012.[13]

At the 2012 Boston Marathon, high profile withdrawals and hot running conditions worked in her favour as the race came down to a sprint finish against Sharon Cherop, with Sumgong taking the runner-up spot two seconds behind.[14] Sumgong tested positive for the banned substance prednisolone in her post-race anti-doping test and was given a two-year ban from competition by Athletics Kenya. However, she was cleared on appeal by the IAAF in September 2012, as the local injection which Sumgong had received was permitted under the governing body's rules.[15] Cleared to race, Sumgong again finished behind Cherop at that year's Philadelphia Half Marathon, taking third place.[16]


Sumgong was much improved at the 2013 Rotterdam Marathon, as she won the race in a time of 2:23:27 – bettering her previous mark by over six minutes.[17] She lowered her personal best for a second time in 2013 - to 2:20:48 hours - in finishing second to her training partner Rita Jeptoo at the Chicago Marathon.[18]


Sumgong finished in fourth place at the Boston Marathon in her fastest ever time of 2:20:41 hours (the downhill and point-to-point nature of the Boston course means that her time is not considered as a personal best).[19] Later in the year, she finished second at the New York City Marathon, losing a close battle with compatriot Mary Keitany, whose winning margin of three seconds equalled the narrowest in race history.[20]


  1. ^ Mohamed beats Munich medallists, as 36,000 runners take part in Gothenburg Half Marathon. IAAF (2004-05-17). Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  2. ^ Monti, Dave (2011-06-01). Ogden Newspapers Classic Half Marathon. Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  3. ^ Post, Marty (2008-06-02). Maggie Valley Moonlight 8 km. ARRS. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  4. ^ Get in Gear 10 km. ARRS (2011-05-03). Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  5. ^ Cleveland 10 km. ARRS (2009-05-18). Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  6. ^ Leydig, Jack (2011-07-25). Wharf to Wharf 6 mile. ARRS. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  7. ^ a b c Jemima Jelagat Sumgong. Boston Athletic Association. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  8. ^ All-Comers Records- Half Marathon ARRS (2011-12-10). Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  9. ^ Kahugu, Jelagat Win New Las Vegas Marathon . Running USA/Cal Track (2006-12-15). Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  10. ^ Butcher, Pat (2007-10-28). Kigen defends with sub-2:08, Kraus surprises - Frankfurt Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  11. ^ Cruz, Dan (2008-06-01). Wangai, Gromova win 2008 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  12. ^ Maratón Ciudad de Castellón Results, New For Both Men And Women. Run Infinity (2012-12-13). Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  13. ^ Mutuota, Mutwiri (2012-02-18). Karoki and Chepkirui steal the headlines in Nairobi. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  14. ^ Morse, Parker (2012-04-16). Korir and Cherop the best as warm weather slows Boston. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  15. ^ Ndanyi, Mathews (2012-09-10). Ban rescinded. The Star. Retrieved on 2014-11-04.
  16. ^ Biwott and Cherop dominate at Philadelphia Half Marathon. IAAF (2012-09-16). Retrieved on 2013-01-22.
  17. ^ van Hemert, Wim (2013-04-14). Regassa and Jelagat triumph in Rotterdam. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-04-18.
  18. ^ Monti, David (2013-10-13). Kimetto smashes course record, Jeptoo cracks 2:20 in Chicago. IAAF. Retrieved on 2014-11-18.
  19. ^ Morse, Parker (2014-04-21). Jeptoo breaks course record with third Boston victory while Keflezighi ends US drought. IAAF. Retrieved on 2014-11-20.
  20. ^ Morse, Parker (2014-11-02). Kipsang and Keitany win at the New York Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2014-11-20.

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