“Kip”: The Goat Herder Who Didn’t Want To Be Late

Explore the fascinating story of this sport hero through the lens of Kenyan photographer Mohamed 'Mo' Amin.

By Mohamed Amin Foundation

The Goat Herder Who Didn't Want to be Late, Kipchoge Keino (1972) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kip 1
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A Kenyan sports hero

Born Kipchoge Hezekiah “Kip” Keino on 17 January 1940 in Nandi county, this long-distance runner was the first-ever recipient of the Olympic Laurel, a distinction created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This award recognises individuals for their achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport.

Naftali Temu by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kip 2
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Winning gold

1965 was the year that brought Kip into the athletics limelight. He took centre stage as he broke the standing 3,000 metre world record by over six seconds in his first attempt at the distance. Additionally, he won two gold medals in the 1,500 and 5,000 metre events at the inaugural All-Africa Games. 

The Goat Herder Who Didn't Want to be Late, Kipchoge Keino by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kip 3
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Winning more gold

Later that year he shattered the 5,000 metre world record held by Ron Clarke. During the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, Kip won both the 1 mile run and 3 mile run. He went on to dominate at the following Commonwealth Games as well, by winning gold in the 1,500 metres and bronze in the 5,000 metres.

Naftali Temu by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kip 4
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1968 Olympics

The 1968 Olympics in Mexico City was very interesting for Kip and for Kenya. He was suffering from gallstones and, before running the 10,000 metre race, was advised not to run by the Doctor, who said he risked causing himself serious harm and even death. He defied the Doctor’s orders and ran - and collapsed while he was leading the race with only three laps remaining. 

Alice Adala (1974) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kip 5
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Caught up in traffic

He finished the race but was disqualified as he had stepped off the track while running. During the same Olympics, on the bus to the stadium for his 1,500 metre race, they got caught up in traffic.

The Goat Herder Who Didn't Want to be Late, Kipchoge Keino (1972) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kip 6
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Just in time...

Kip alighted from the bus and ran the remaining 2 miles to the Olympic stadium while carrying his equipment. He made it in time to register with 20 minutes to get ready and make it to the starting lineup for the race. 

Naftali Temu by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kip 7
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Winning gold

He went ahead to win gold in the race, defeating American favourite and world record holder Jim Ryun by 20 metres. This was the largest winning margin in the history of the 1,500 metres. During the same Olympics, he won a silver medal in the 5,000 metres.

The Goat Herder Who Didn't Want to be Late, Kipchoge Keino (1972) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kip 8
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1972 Summer Olympics

Four years later, in Munich during the 1972 Summer Olympics, he won gold in the 3,000 metres steeplechase and silver in the 1,500 metres.

Naftali Temu by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kip 9
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New adventures

After retiring from competitive athletics in 1973, Kipchoge Keino opened a home for orphaned children.  In 1999 he started the Kip Keino School, in an isolated region that lacked schools, offering more than 300 children between the ages of 6 to 13 the chance to get an education. In 2002, he opened the Kip Keino High Performance Training Centre, welcoming the most promising athletes in Kenya. 

The Goat Herder Who Didn't Want to be Late, Kipchoge Keino by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kip 10
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Forever a Kenyan hero

Kip's achievements are extraordinary and his legacy is a testament to all children that they too can become world champions. 

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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