Olympic Stories

Catherine Ndereba

Catherine Ndereba

Catherine Ndereba is a renowned professional female long distance runner who was born in Kenya on 31st July 1972. As a child, when she collected water for the family, she often returned with the water in double quick time compared with her brothers and sisters. The fact that she had a fantastic talent for speed was apparent very early on.

Catherine Ndereba is married to her husband, Anthony, who she met while studying at college and their daughter Jane is now 4 years old.

As she grew older Ndereba was training to be a runner which was something she enjoyed, and it was very obvious that she was going to be pretty famous for abilities. The runners that she trained with had difficulty completing certain running courses that she could finish with ease. In 1995 Catherine ran for Kenya for the first time in Seoul, South Korea.

She also set her personal best time for 10 kilometres completing it in 31:35 in Pittsburg. The following year she entered ran 18 times competitively, and came in 2nd place in the USA Track and Field’s World Road Running. At the Pittburg race she came in at 3rd place. In 1997 Catherine had her daughter Jane, so she did not run for some time. In 1998 at the age of 26 it was noticed how much passion Ndereba had for running when she left her home for three months, leaving her husband and daughter behind too so that she was able to run in competitions in the States.

In 2001 Ndereba ran in Chicago and achieved one of the greatest feats in the history of athletic running. In less than a week after Naoko Takahashi, a Japanese marathon runner, Ndereba smashed the world record with an astounding time of 2:18:47 hours. Nobody could believe what they had seen. Ndereba was turning into a true athletic running hero and they had been there to watch her as she made history.

In 1998 she was named Road Runner of the Year by Running times for two years running.  In 1999 she won bronze for her individual performance, and won gold for her team performance in two major half marathon races. She also broke four world records for the 5 kilometre, 15 kilometre, 12 kilometre and 10 mile distances. As if all that wasn’t enough for one year, she also won the Pittsburg Great Race in 32:11.

The following year Ndereba won both the Boston Marathon and the Chicago Marathon and was the fastest ever to run that particular marathon, setting a world record for the by finishing in 2:18:47. Then she won eleven other races in 2000 astonishing spectators with her consistency. In 2001 she was named Athlete of the Year by the IAAF.

She also won her second Boston Marathon, and won eleven more races in the America. In 2002 we saw her come 2nd in the Boston Marathon, and in 2003 she entered into the World Championships and won gold. In 2004 she ran at the Athens Olympics and won a silver medal. Ndereba will not be heading to the 2012 London Olympics, but she remains confident that the Olympic-Marathon-bound Kenyans Mary Keitany, Edna Kiplagat, and Priscah Jeptoo have an excellent chance of bringing home the gold.

Career Highlights

  • 2008 Beijing Olympics – Silver
  • 2007 World Championships – Gold
  • 2005 World Championships - Gold
  • 2004 Athens Olympics – Silver
  • 2003 World Championships - Gold

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