President Uhuru fetes athletics icon Catherine Ndereba

Catherine Ndereba

Legendary long-distance runner Catherine Ndereba poses after receiving the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) award during the Jamhuri celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium on December 12, 2020.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The duo were awarded for their outstanding performances in athletics that have helped cement Kenya’s sports prowess in the world
  • First, it was the late President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, who conferred Ndereba with Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) in 2002, before President Mwai Kibaki awarded her the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya (OGW) in 2005
  • In 2008, Ndereba was described by Chicago Tribune sportswriter Philip Hersh as the greatest women's marathoner of all time having won two Olympic silver medals.  

Two-time former World marathon champion Catherine 'The Great' Ndereba feels honoured and blessed having received awards now from three Kenyan Presidents.

First, it was the late President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, who conferred Ndereba with Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) in 2002, before President Mwai Kibaki awarded her the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya (OGW) in 2005.

On Saturday, donning the Team Kenya track suit, the 48-year-old was decorated with the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) award by Kenya’s fourth President, Uhuru Kenyatta at the Nyayo National Stadium racing track.

Ndereba, who is also the Assistant Commissioner of Prisons was awarded alongside compatriot, chief inspector Timothy Cheruiyot, who was awarded Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW).

The duo were awarded for their outstanding performances in athletics, which have helped cement Kenya’s prowess in the sporting world map. 

“It’s simply humbling when you are recognised for the services you have rendered to the country whole-heartedly. It feels great and a blessing,” Ndereba said. “I should be among the few or perhaps the only one to have received medals from three sitting Presidents.”

Ndereba also received a book detailing world record performances by Kenyan athletes across the world from the President.

“I am over the moon,” declared the 25-year-old Cheruiyot, who is the reigning world 1,500m champion.

Cheruiyot, who is a chief inspector at Kenya Prison Service said the award is "timely and the inspiration he needs ahead of next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.”

Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei and Athletics Kenya Prisons chairman Benjamin Njoga congratulated Ndereba and Cheruiyot saying that they deserve the awards, having done the country proud in achieving great results in their respective fields.

The 48-year-old Ndereba is the first African to win a marathon title at the World Championships and the first woman to win it twice in 2003 Paris and 2007 Osaka. 

Ndereba won the Boston Marathon a record four times and also broke the women's marathon world record in 2001, running 2:18:47 at the Chicago Marathon, becoming the first woman to run a sub 2:19 in a marathon.

In 2008, Ndereba was described by Chicago Tribune sportswriter Philip Hersh as the greatest women's marathoner of all time having won two Olympic silver medals.

Just recently, Ndereba was among the coaches who handled Team Kenya for the World Half Marathon Championships where Peres Jepchirchir won the women's title in a world record breaking feat of 1:05:16 with KIbiwott Kandie settling for silver in men’s race.

Cheruiyot won both the world 1,500m and Diamond League titles last year.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.