By Javier Silas Omagor
Tributes from people from all walks of life have been pouring in honour of the world record holder Jacob Kiplimo, for creating another unchartered feat in his career.
On Sunday 11, September 2022 while running in Newcastle city, England in the UK, Kiplimo became the first Ugandan man to win the Great North Run.
The Great North Run is the world’s biggest half-marathon event in terms of turn up and finishers.
For this year, Kiplimo was among the record high 60,000 athletes who participated, but the Ugandan unfazed starlet stepped up onto the plate with a glorious top draw performance.
The 21-year-old reigning world half-marathon champion left a world-class field in his wake in his first appearance at the event, having built up a 32-second lead by the 12-mile mark.
The freshly crowned Commonwealth Games two-time gold winner, had a 32-second lead as he hit the 12-mile mark on the 13.1-mile course from Newcastle to South Shields.
He crossed the line in 59:33, 66 seconds ahead of Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega, with Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele third in 1:01:01.
Last year’s winner, Marc Scott from Northallerton, finished sixth with a time of 1:02:28.
Now, back home in Uganda, all have hailed Kiplimo’s brilliance and skillful performance on road.
His wife Monesta Kiplimo turned into a cheerleader of sorts.
“I give God back His glory for what He has done towards my husband, (Kiplimo),” the jubilant Monesta said.
The superstar’s wife also saluted the fans for morale-boosting Kiplimo.
“Special thanks also go to the general public here in Uganda and abroad for their everlasting support and prayers. I do thank the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) and Jacob’s beloved coaches; Peter Chelangat, Benjamin Njia and Patrick Aliboto,” Monesta applauded.
Dominic Otuchet , the UAF president, was also thrilled to watch Kiplimo win in England.
He simply said: “Congratulations to Kiplimo. Congratulations to UAF. Congratulations to Uganda.”
Elijah Cheptoek, an ardent athletics fan, wrote: “Congratulations to our home boy, Jacob Kiplimo.”
Fellow runner Janat Chemusto was astonished by Kiplimo’s pace on the streets of Tyneside, Newcastle.
“You could easily see him taking gold from the moment the race started; his power, speed, endurance and finishing were unmatched,” she reminisced.
Former national marathon Record holder, Felix Chemusto Malewa, is among the many who watched Kiplimo power to victory in his first appearance at the event in north-east England.
Malewa said: “It is about time the World gave Kiplimo some more respect, he deserves more.”
His coach Peter Chelangat noticed that Kiplimo “has come of age and he is surely claiming his spot in the books of history.”
The World Athletics Championships bronze medallist 2022 has won three gold medals in as many half-marathon competitions in the last eleven months.
Kiplimo finished in the first position at Ras Al Khaimah Dubai 2022 (57:31), EDB Lisbon 2021 (57:56), and now Great North Run Newcastle, England 2022.
Prior, he clinched the World Athletics Championships Half-Marathon title 2020, in Poland with a clock of 58:49.
During the Valencia Half Marathon 2020, the Rosa Associati Management Agency runner won a silver medal with a time of 57:37.
No Ugandan has come anywhere close to Kiplimo’s impressive records over the 21 kilometre distance.
It is overwhelming to even imagine how much more glory waits for Kiplimo given his age, admirable discipline and overwhelming talent he possesses.
Elsewhere, in the women’s race, the champion Obiri held off Peres Jepchirchir and Almaz Ayana to retain her title.
They broke away from the field early in the race and although they were joined briefly by Hiwot Gebrekidan, it was that trio who contested the race as it entered its final throes.