Dennis Kimetto: From Farm to Fame

Wondering how a cattle farmer found himself breaking the tape at the Berlin Marathon? So are we. The answer comes as the inspiring (and sometimes surprising) journey of Dennis Kipruto Kimetto; from his humble beginnings in Kenya to his international fame as the world’s fastest marathoner, we guarantee this one has a happy ending. Through both chance and perseverance in his training, Kimetto has shattered world records and won a staggering four marathons since his recent introduction to the sport just four years ago.

Humble Beginnings

Growing up in the town of Eldoret, the capital of eastern Kenya’s Uasin Gishu County, Dennis Kimetto was already a hard worker; even as a youth, he had made a name for himself winning school races. Like so many of us, running started out as a simple hobby. While watching his cows and growing maize as a farmer in his rural community, he began to run casually up to four miles a day. Finding something that gets you to the finish line is important, right? Today, this humble upbringing causes Kimetto to work hard so he can support and assist his family back home.

Running with a Team

In 2008, a chance encounter started Kimetto on the crazy path to stardom. On his routine running journey into town, Kimetto passed New York City and Boston Marathoner Geoffrey Mutai – you may have heard of him. Mutai, impressed by what he saw, asked Dennis to join his training group – a group that included top elite Kenyan runners like Wilson Kipsang (London 2012 bronze medalist) and Mutai himself. Kimetto agreed, and instantly found himself surrounded by a tribe of crazy dedicated individuals working together on their speed, endurance and performance. Ask yourself: how much would you give up to reach your goals? Kimetto had to leave farming completely so he could pursue his passion for running full-time, a choice that was initially hard on his family and their finances.

Athletic Achievements

Wondering if Dennis Kipruto Kimetto’s dedication paid off? He placed first in his initial half marathons (Nairobi 2011 and RAK 2011, in Dubai), and went on to make a name for himself in Berlin in 2012, placing first in the Berlin Half and the BIG 25 – and breaking the world record of the latter, at 71:18 minutes. Not a bad way to start a career, right? His first foray into the Berlin Marathon in 2012 won him 2nd place, just a second behind his mentor, Geoffrey Mutai – the fastest record-eligible marathon debut in history. Two years later, Berlin would be the high point of Kimetto’s career.

Shattering Records

After placing first in both the Tokyo and Chicago Marathons in 2013, and winning the course record for each, Kimetto set his sights on Berlin 2014. That year, he broke the marathon world record that his fellow trainee, Wilson Kipsang, had set just one year earlier. At an impressive 2:02:57, Kimetto crossed the finish line and into the world of celebrity – yeah, we were impressed, too.

Giving Back

What would you do with hundreds of thousands of dollars (other than buy lots of great new gear)? Kimetto’s fame after winning the Berlin Marathon has had a great impact on his family’s quality of life. Not only that, Dennis Kimetto has also used his winnings to help his community – what a stand-up guy! He has funded the building of schools and churches in his native Kenya, and set up financial aid for young athletes like the boy he once was.

“I know how important it is to be helped at the start,” he told the Boston Marathon media. Hopefully, with a little extra help – or maybe through passing Kimetto on the street – these young athletes can find their footing on the marathon track as well. And that, friends, is how a magnificent story comes full-circle.