Yesterday, November 13, 2012, Kimbia Athletics announced the passing of Joseph Kimani of Kenya, a road racer whose light blazed with unequaled brilliance during his comet-like run atop the American road circuit in the mid-1990s. Kimani, age 40, succumbed to pneumonia November 1st at his home in Eldoret, here he was buried this week.
For racers the road is contested territory upon which the battle of wills is played out against the march of time. In the annals of our sport there have been many whose greatest athletic expression have come on the hard surface of the road rather than across country or atop the laned geometry of the track. None more so than Joseph Kimani.
Where to begin?
Tall, trim and impossibly superior, Kimani notched victories, course and world records like a Top Gun pilot notched enemy aircraft. During the 1996 road season alone Kimani set six course records and two world 10K records. His marks at Atlanta’s Peachtree 10k (27:04), Utica’s Boilermaker 15k (42:40) and Cleveland’s Revco 10k (27:20) still stand as atop a plinth in granite, monuments to excellence. His 33:31 win at the 1997 Evansville, Indiana Arts Fest 12k remains tied as the road world record for the distance.
He won by margins, as if the rest of the field had been lost along the way. At the Bolder Boulder 10k in 2000 he created a gap of 57-seconds to second place. He lanced 52-seconds off the already impressive Peachtree Road Race record in `96. When he made a move it was like a V12 purring amidst of a lineup of growling V8s. Nobody was as dominant as the angular Kenyan.
“He has to be considered one of the best road racers of all time,” his agent, Tom Ratcliffe, said in the news release. (more…)