Now after retaining his title, the first Kenyan male two-time world marathon titleholder who completed a crushing victory with the biggest margin ever witnessed between gold and silver at this event (2 minutes, 38 seconds), he is looking forward to go up another rank.
“When I won in Berlin, my good force made me a Sergeant and now, I would not mind being promoted to Chief Inspector. I feel like flying back home immediately since I’m so happy with this,” Kirui who stopped at the finish at 2:07:38 to retain his title said.
“Winning the title last time gave me the chance to shake the hands of our President and doing it again means I will do it again. For an officer, being acknowledged by your Commander-in-Chief due to your achievement is a huge honour,” he gushed.
Kirui laid the hammer down at the 25km when he surged to the lead before covering the next five kilometres in 14:18, the fastest 5k split at a men’s Worlds race, to kill off the opposition before sauntering to the finish unopposed in a remarkable performance that will linger long in memory.
Compatriot Vincent Kipruto, edged the battle for silver with Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa in 2:10:06 against 2:10:32 to complete the second successive Kenyan 1-2 at the worlds.
Teammates David Barmasai Tumo (2:11:35) and Eliud Kiptanui (2:11:50) romped home in fifth and sixth to hand Kenya the marathon World Cup in the team competition running concurrent with the individual race.
Benjamin Kiptoo Kolum, the Paris winner who was the fifth Team Kenya runner earned the dubious distinction of registering his second successive Did Not Finish after dropping out after 30km.
Having been selected to Daegu as an afterthought by Athletics Kenya after most stars of the spring marathon races including London champion, Emmanuel Mutai, Boston winner, Geoffrey Mutai and runner-up, Moses Mosop declined their call-ups, Kirui who arrived here on the back of a colourless 2010 noted his awesome performance was proof he was not a spent force.
“Many people sympathised with me when I arrived from London and New York last year but I was sure I would be back and win again. Today, I felt so strong and confident,” the runner who placed fifth in London and ninth in New York explained.
And wasn’t his midway breakaway suicidal? “The Ethiopians were here, someone like Gebremariam was a threat to us so I decided to take off when I could and when I looked back, there was no one and I could now focus on my running.”
Inevitably, Kirui was quizzed on his thoughts about the departed Olympics marathon champion, Samuel Wanjiru and in a sign that his untimely death was still raw on his fellow athletes, the new world champion stated;
“I do not want even to go there since it brings a lot of pain in my heart. When I went down on my knees, I remembered him, he was a great man. I recalled when we travelled to London last year in a special jet, eating together, it was very sad.
“We should think of starting a race named in his honour back at home and we shall all be there. We need to keep his name alive.”
He attributed his successful defence to a change in training venue as he shifted from his home in Kapsabet to Iten where he had Italian Renato Canova as coach.
“I had a construction project going on and together with family commitments, I noticed I was missing training time since the small things you do at home appear little but in the end, they consume a lot. I left all the construction to the fundis (builder) and for one month, I focused on training for the world championships when I was selected.”
He is also a keen Manchester United fan and the 8-2 beating they handed to Arsenal did much to inspire his top medal run.
“That was a good sign for me since my team made me so happy.”
– Mutwiri Mutuota is reporting for Capital FM from Daegu, South Korea