Paul Tergat

Paul Tergat

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Paul Tergat
Event marathon
Height 6'0" (182 cm)
Weight 137 lbs (62 kg)
Nationality Kenya
Born June 17, 1969 at Kabarnet, Baringo, Rift Valley, Kenya
Club Tugen

Paul Kibii Tergat (1969-) is a Kenyan professional runner, who won two Olympic silver medals. He held the world record in the marathon from 2003 to 2007, with a time of 2:04:55, and is regarded as one of the most accomplished long-distance runners of all time.[1][2][3]

After winning many titles and set several world records on the track, in cross country, and on the road, Tergat now concentrates exclusively on the marathon. He lives and trains in Ngong, near Nairobi.


Running career

Tergat achieved his most recent victory on November 6, 2005, when he won the New York City Marathon in a thrilling sprint finish through New York's Central Park, prevailing over defending champion Hendrick Ramaala 2:09:29.90 to 2:09:30.22.

He set the marathon world record of 2:04:55, on September 28, 2003 at the Berlin Marathon. That is an average pace of 0:02:57 per kilometer (20.3 km/h) or 0:04:46 per mile (12.6 MPH). In his world record race, Tergat badly abraded his foot. He later said it felt like the sole of his shoe fell off. He also took a momentary wrong turn near the finish. Tergat's countryman Sammy Korir, who was a pacesetter for the race, nearly caught up to him. Korir took second place in 2:04:56, then the second-fastest marathon performance in history. [4] [5] [6] Tergat's world record was broken in 2007 by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia.

Tergat won five straight IAAF World Cross Country Championships titles, 1995 to 1999, which was a record.

Tergat's achievements also include 5 victories in the traditional Saint Silvester Road Race, the most important event in Latin American street racing. He holds the record for the present 15 km distance, which he established in 1995. His performances in the Saint Silvester race have earned him celebrity status in Brazil.

He has had an intense rivalry with his friend Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia. In the Olympic Games 10,000m finals of both 1996 Atlanta Olympics and 2000 Sydney Olympics, he was defeated by Gebrselassie by slim margins. In 2000, the margin of victory was only nine hundredths of a second. [7] [8] [9]

Tergat finished second to Gebrselassie in the 1997 and 1999 World Championships in Athletics at 10,000 m, and finished third in the 1995 version of that race, behind Gebrselassie and Moroccan Khalid Skah.

On the track, Tergat broke Gebrselassie's 10,000 meter world record on August 22, 1997 in Brussels with a time 26:27.85 minutes. On the road, Tergat broke the half marathon world record on April 4, 1998 in Milan by running in 59:17 minutes. (Tergat had run 58:51 minutes at the Stramilano half marathon in 1996, but a misplaced cone made the course slightly too short and no record was allowed.) The previous record, 59:47 minutes was set by Moses Tanui in 1993. Tergat's world record was broken in 2005 by Samuel Kamau Wanjiru, another Kenyan.

When Tergat raced Gebrselassie in the London Marathon in 2002, it was Tergat who beat Gebrselassie; Tergat was in second place behind then world record holder Khalid Khannouchi. The three runners raced again in the 2007 version with Tergat being the only one of them to finish.

In the 2004 Athens Olympic marathon, Tergat missed his water point and drank water supplied by organizers. He is accustomed to drinking water at room temperature; the organizers supplied cold water, which gave Tergat cramps. Tergat finished 10th .

Marílson Gomes dos Santos won the 2006 New York City Marathon; Tergat finished third. Gomes made a move at mile 19 and Tergat did not respond, saying "I'll be honest, I didn't know exactly who he was." Tergat steadily closed the gap over the final five miles. [10]

Tergat finished sixth (2:08:06) at the 2007 London Marathon in April 2007. The entry list was competitive, including Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie, who dropped out just past the 30-K mark. Kenya's Martin Lel won the race in a time of 2:07.42, after a dramatic, gutsy finish.

He expressed a desire to compete in 2008 Olympics, but was not selected to represent Kenya.

On September 30, 2007, Ethiopian long distance runner Haile Gebrselassie broke Tergat's record marathon time of 2:04.55, finishing the Berlin Marathon in 2:04:26. Moments after finishing the race, Gebrselassie apologized to his friend Tergat for breaking the record, during a congratulatory phone call. Gebrselassie later explained "I am sorry -- this record belonged to Paul Tergat," Gebrselassie told a news conference when asked about the phone call. "Paul is my friend."


  • 1995
  • 1996
    • Silver medal, 1996 Summer Olympics 10,000 m
    • Gold medal, 1996 IAAF World Cross Country Championships
  • 1997
  • 1998
    • Gold medal, 1998 IAAF World Cross Country Championships
    • Gold medal, IAAF World Half Marathon Championships
  • 1999
  • 2000
    • Bronze medal, 2000 IAAF World Cross Country Championships
    • Silver medal, 2000 Summer Olympics 10,000 m
    • Gold medal, IAAF World Half Marathon Championships

Personal bests

"+" indicates mark set en route during a longer race
"a" indicates course slightly downhill

Distance Mark Date Location
3,000 m 7:28.70 1996-08-10 Monaco
5,000 m 12:49.87 1997-08-13 Zürich
10,000 m 26:27.85 1997-08-22 Brussels
10 km (road) 27:45+ 2006-03-26 Lisbon
15 km (road) 42:04+ 1998-04-04 Milan
Ten miles (road) 45:12+ 1998-04-04 Milan
20 km (road) 56:18+ 1998-04-04 Milan
Half marathon 59:06a 2000-03-26 Lisbon
30 km (road) 1:29:00+ 2002-04-14 London
Marathon 2:04:55 2003-09-28 Berlin

Other activities

Tergat founded the Paul Tergat Foundation in 2005 to help disadvantaged Kenyan sportspeople [1]. He runs a Sports Marketing and PR company known as Fine Touch Communications (which organizes the annual Sportsman Of the Year Awards in Kenya in conjunction with Safaricom, a Kenyan mobile phone provider.

External links


  1. Paul Tergat Breaks World Record at 2003 Real Berlin Marathon (September 28, 2003). Retrieved on 2009-01-01.
  2. Paul Tergat to run the Anniversary Marathon in Berlin. Retrieved on 2009-01-01.
  3. Tergat one of the greatest Kenyan distance runners. CNN Sports Illustrated (August 11, 2000). Retrieved on 2009-01-01.
  4. Marathon world best progression
  5. Tergat goes under 2:05 in Berlin - IAAF
  6. YouTube video Paul Tergat's marathon world record - 2003 Berlin marathon
  7. 2000 Sydney Olympics YouTube video men's 10000m finish
  8. 2000 Sydney Olympics YouTube video men's 10000m last 3k
  9. 2000 Sydney Olympics YouTube video men's 10000m introduction, start, and to the 5 lap
  10. YouTube video 2006 New York City Marathon Highlights