Kiprotich memoirs Moscow gold, happy to tip marathoners

Kiprotich crosses the line in Moscow 10 years ago. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

During the race in Moscow, Kiprotich indeed laid back while Kiplimo did the work. In the middle stages, it was Kiprop, a Mumbai Marathon winner earlier that year, who really worked the field.

Stephen Kiprotich is an iconic name in Uganda’s long-distance running book. His marathon gold medal from the London Olympics on August 12, 2012 will forever be treasured.

And Thursday (August 17) marked exactly 10 years since he powered to the marathon title after a smart race during the Moscow World Championships in Russia.

Kiprotich blew kisses to the crowd and spread his arms wide as he crossed the tape to win the 42km race in a time of two hours, nine minutes and 51 seconds inside the Luzhniki Stadium.

This marked Uganda’s only fourth medal in World Championships’ history then. “Now, what should I tell you?” the ever-cheeky Kiprotich reacted on being reminded about the moment.

He emerged as the best from a field of 69 runners including two compatriots Jackson Kiprop and Abraham Kiplimo entered from 39 countries.

“My plan that day…,” Kiprotich narrated, “…was that Kenyans and Ethiopians knew that I was strong. My plan was to go to Kiprop or Kiplimo for them to win because I knew the rest would be looking at me.”

“I knew the eyes would be on me so I thought the other guys would sneak through,” he memoired. Kiprotich had earlier competed at the Daegu 2011 Worlds in South Korea and finished ninth.

During the race in Moscow, Kiprotich indeed laid back while Kiplimo did the work. In the middle stages, it was Kiprop, a Mumbai Marathon winner earlier that year, who really worked the field.

But, the plan changed for Kiprotich. After some time, I told my boys to push but they told me they were tired and asked me to go,” Kiprotich recalls. “I delayed to move ahead because my colleagues were exhausted. I decided to move at 35km.”

Kiprotich would then gain the lead of the field before he held on to beat the strong Ethiopian trio of Lelisa Desisa, Tadese Tola and Tsegay Kebede to the first place.

Two years later, Kiprotich came sixth but Solomon Mutai was braver, countering the heat in Chinese capital Beijing to win the bronze medal.

Uganda has wobbled in the marathon distance but Kiprotich hopes better comes from the trio of Commonwealth champion Victor Kiplangat, national record holder Stephen Kissa and Milan Marathon champion Andrew Kwemoi who will compete at the Budapest Worlds in Hungary on August 27.

“Kwemoi is one I don’t know. But I am going to get time to speak to them and give them some tricks before they travel,” he said, adding: “I haven’t been attending their training but I just want to wish them a good race.”

Kiprotich ended his elite running career two years ago after a difficult 42km race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan.

The 34-year-old is currently a board member of the National Council of Sports (NCS) and also part of the Prisons Athletics Club set-up.

On Wednesday, NCS and Uganda Athletics Federation flagged off the first batch of runners including Joshua Cheptegei to Budapest. 

Cheptegei on Sunday will attempt to retain his world 10000m title inside the National Athletics Centre.


Oregon 2022: Jackson Kiprop (33rd, 2:12:14), Filex Chemongesi (34th, 2:12:16), Fred Musobo (40th, 2:13:58)

Doha 2019: Fred Musobo (13th, 2:13:42), Stephen Kiprotich (18th, 2:15:04), Solomon Mutai (DNF) 

London 2017: Solomon Mutai (11th, 2:13:29), Robert Chemonges (43rd, 2:21:24)

Beijing 2015: Solomon Mutai (3rd, 2:13:29), Stephen Kiprotich (6th, 2:14:42), Abraham Kiplimo (DNF)

Moscow 2013: Stephen Kiprotich (1st, 2:09:51), Jackson Kiprop (10th, 2:12:12), Abraham Kiplimo (19th, 2:16:25)

Daegu 2011: Stephen Kiprotich (9th, 2:12:57), Daniel Chepyegon (DNF), Nicholas Kiprono (DNF)

Berlin 2009: Daniel Chepyegon (31st, 2:17:47), Nicholas Kiprono (DNF), Amos Masai (DNF)

Osaka 2007: Alex Malinga (12th, 2:20:36), Amos Masai (DNF)     

Helsinki 2005: Alex Malinga (12th, 2:12:12), David Sumukwo (DNS)



Women: Halimah Nakaayi (800m), Winnie Nanyondo (1500m), Peruth Chemutai (3000m steeplechase), Sarah Chelangat (5000m & 10000m), Prisca Chesang Chemweno (5000m), Stella Chesang (10000m), Doreen Chesang, Rebecca Cheptegei, Mercyline Chelangat (all marathon)

Men: Tarsis Orogot (200m), Tom Dradriga (800m), Abu Mayanja (1500m), Leonard Chemutai (3000m steeplechase), Oscar Chelimo (5000m), Joshua Cheptegei (5000m & 10000m), Rogers Kibet (10000m), Joel Ayeko (10000m), Stephen Kissa, Victor Kiplangat , Andrew Kwemoi (all marathon)

Officials: Quinto Oding (Physiotherapist), Peter Chelangat (Safeguarding officer), Grace Chesang, Benjamin Njia & Faustino Kiwa (Coaches), Domenic Otucet (Leader of delegation)


Athens 1997: Davis Kamoga (Silver, 400m)  

Helsinki 2005: Dorcus Inzikuru (Gold, 3000m SC) 

Osaka 2007: Moses Kipsiro (Bronze, 5000m)

Moscow 2013: Stephen Kiprotich (Gold, Marathon)

Beijing 2015: Solomon Mutai (Bronze, Marathon)

London 2017: Joshua Cheptegei (Silver, 10000m)

Doha 2019: Halimah Nakaayi (Gold, 800m)

Doha 2019: Joshua Cheptegei (Gold, 10000m)

Eugene 2022: Joshua Cheptegei (Gold, 10000m)

Eugene 2022: Jacob Kiplimo (Bronze, 10000m)

Eugene 2022: Oscar Chelimo (Bronze, 5000m)