Burial date set for former steeplechase record holder Henry Rono

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ATHLETICS Burial date set for former steeplechase record holder Henry Rono

Festus Chuma 05:30 - 28.02.2024

Kenyans mourn the loss of legendary runner Henry Rono, celebrating his unmatched achievements and enduring legacy in athletics.

Legendary distance runner Henry Rono will be laid to rest on Wednesday at his Kirobon farm in Kuresoi North, Molo, Nakuru County marking the end of an era for the athlete. 

The final resting place of the celebrated athlete was confirmed by family spokesman and 2008 Beijing Olympics 800 meters champion, Wilfred Bungei. 

Rono, who had celebrated his 72nd birthday on February 12, passed away on Thursday morning at a Nairobi hospital after a ten-day battle with his health.

The story of Henry Rono is a tale of meteoric rise, unparalleled success, and a poignant fall. 

Rono's record-breaking achievements in the late 1970s have remained unmatched, securing him a place in the annals of sporting history. 

His performance in 1978, particularly, stands as a testament to his extraordinary talent and determination. 

Within a span of just 81 days, Rono shattered four world records: the 10,000m (27:22.5), the 5,000m (13:08.4), the 3,000m steeplechase (8:05.4), and the 3,000m (7:32.1), a feat that remains unparalleled to this day.

"Rono's legacy is not just in the records he set but in the inspiration he continues to offer to athletes around the world. His dedication, hard work, and achievements are a beacon for many young runners," Wilfred Bungei reflected on his uncle's monumental impact on the sport. 

Born in Kiptargon village, Kapasbet, Nandi County, Henry Rono's journey from a small Kenyan village to the global athletics stage is a story of determination against the odds. 

His peak in 1978, highlighted by gold medals at the Edmonton Commonwealth Games and the Algiers All Africa Games.

Following his remarkable achievements, then President Jomo Kenyatta honored Rono with the Order of the Burning Spear (OBS) Second Class and promised him gifts that, due to the president's sudden passing, were never fulfilled.

Despite these setbacks, Rono's legacy has endured, celebrated by his return to Kenya in 2019 after 33 years abroad, and remembered for his incredible contributions to the sport.

Yet, Rono's later years were marked by challenges, including struggles with alcoholism, that saw him drift away from the sport he once dominated.

Rono's demise came just days after Kenya lost another of its athletic heroes marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum in a tragic accident.

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