02 January 2015, 8am
“It is symbolic and fitting that these two runners are honoured here in Athens, where the story of the Olympic Games and the marathon began,” said Kostas Panagopoulos, the President of the Greek Athletics Federation Segas. “We feel privileged that these two great athletes are here in Athens with us.”
30 year-old Dennis Kimetto broke the marathon world record in the recent Berlin Marathon, clocking the first sub 2:03 time in history with 2:02:57. During the scoring period for the BMR award, which began in October 2013 and ended at the end of September 2014, Kimetto also won the Chicago Marathon. He clocked a course record of 2:03:45 in Chicago in October 2013. “I am very happy to be here and proud to be named the Marathon Runner of the Year. I would never have imagined that I could be so successful when I ran my first international race at the beginning of 2012 – it is amazing,” said Dennis Kimetto, who added: “The Olympic marathon in 2016 is my next big goal.”
Florence Kiplagat also established a world record earlier this year. The 27 year-old improved the half marathon mark to 65:12 in Barcelona. The Berlin Marathon winner from 2013 then took second in London this April with a world-class time of 2:20:24. “I feel honoured to receive this award in Athens. It will be a motivation for me to run even better in the future,” said Florence Kiplagat. “I think I can run faster in the marathon, but somehow I am still a bit afraid of the distance,” said the Kenyan, who has a marathon PB of 2:19:44.
“We always try to reward the best runners. That is why we have the two world record holders here,” said AIMS President Paco Borao, who also pointed out that the Berlin Marathon saw a unique tenth world record in its history this year: “I want to thank Race Director Mark Milde and his father, former Race Director Horst Milde, for their tremendous efforts.” After the recent positive doping test of Kenyan Rita Jeptoo he said: “We have to fight cheating. Doping is exactly the opposite of our aims and goals!”
AIMS officials also presented three other awards during the gala, which was shown life on Greek national TV. George Hirsch, the publisher of Runner’s World who is still involved in the New York City Marathon, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jo Schindler, the Race Director of the Frankfurt Marathon, was presented with the Green Award for his event. The German race was honoured as being extraordinary environmentally friendly.
The Social Award was given to the Tokyo Marathon for its charity programme. This year participants in the race collected 1.9 Million Euros for the event’s official charity programme called Tsunagu.
The 32nd edition of the Athens Marathon will take place on Sunday with a record number of 13,000 runners. Adding races at shorter distances on that day the total will reach around 35,000 athletes.