The Kenyan road racing legend still holds many major event records.
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Joseph Kimani, one of the most successful Kenyan road racers of the 1990’s who still holds the event records at marquis races like the Vancouver Sun Run and Peachtree Road Race, has died. According to his management company, Kimbia Athletics, Kimani died on Nov. 1 of pneumonia. He was 40, and was buried in Eldoret last week.
While a solid performer on the track, with personal bests of 13:12.05 for 5000m and 27:28.07 for 10,000m, Kimani found his true calling on the roads. In his legendary 1996 season, Kimani won the Vancouver Sun Run 10K (27:31 CR), Sallie Mae 10K (28:01), Revco-Cleveland 10K (27:20 WR), Peachtree Road Race 10K (27:04 CR), Utica Boilermaker 15K (42:40 CR), George Sheehan Classic 10K (28:10 CR), and Falmouth Road Race 7-Mile (31:36 CR). Six of those course records were never broken.
“[Joseph] has to be considered one of the best road racers of all time,” commented his long-time agent Tom Ratcliffe in a statement.
While Kimani’s 10K world record set in Cleveland was broken by Sammy Kipketer in 2001, his 33:31 world best at 12K in Evansville, Ind., in 1997 is still tied as the fastest ever at the distance (point-to-point course). He would also win Peachtree in 1997; the Azalea Trail Run 10K in 1995 (27:41 CR), ’97 and ’99; Cooper River Bridge Run 10K in 1995 (27:49 CR); Bay to Breakers 12K in 1997; Bolder Boulder 10K in 2000; Beach to Beacon 10K in 2000; and Bellin Run 10K in 1997 (27:46 CR), ’98, ’99, and ’00.
Kimani last competed in 2003, one day before his 31st birthday. Although he ran several half marathons (best of 60:04 in Lisboa in 1998), he never ran a marathon.