Paul Tergat is an athletic long distance runner from Kenya. He was born on 17 June 1969 in Kabarnet, Barango, Kenya. Before becoming a professional runner, Tergat was a basketball player, but in 1992 his career as a runner began after he won the Cross Country Championships race.
Tergat was unable to participate in the World Championships because of an injury.
Tergat has been married for 13 years to his wife, Monica, and he has three children with her. In January 2004 Tergat was named a World Food Programme (WFP) "Ambassador against hunger" for the United Nations. He did this because as a child, his parents could not afford to give him food while he was at school, so the World Food Program was how he was fed during the day at that time.
Since then, Tergat has achieved record results for five IAAF World Cross Country races, winning the title five times running from 1995 onwards. Tergat has won two World Championships in 1997 and 1999 and he has also achieved two Olympic silver medals for coming second place in 10,000 metre runs. Both times he was beaten by Haile Gebrselassie, an Ethiopian champion athletic runner.
Tergat is an extremely excellent track, cross country, and road runner, however he is now concentrating on his marathon running. Tergat’s best acheievement was in 2005 when he ran in the New York City Marathon for the first time and won with a glorious sprint at the end of the race. Tergat has also won the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships twice.
Tergat broke the record in 2003 when he ran the Berlin Marathon. In this race, he took a wrong turn near the end of the race, and damaged his foot very badly – yet he still broke a record! Sammy Korir was the pacemaker for the race and took second place. Korir’s time is still the second fastest marathon performance ever. Tergat also competed in the Athens Olympics, where he came tenth.
Tergat also has five wins in the Saint Silvester Marathon under his belt, which is the most popular event in South American street racing. He is the title holder of all times in the Saint Silverster races, as well as world record holder for best time for the current 15 kilometre distance, which began in 1995.
His amazing achievements in the Saint Silvester Marathon races have turned Tergat into a celebrity figure in Brazil, where he is the second biggest African personality, with only Nelson Mandela ahead of him in popularity and familiarity.
Before the Olympics in 2004, he had announced that it would be his last race representing his country, but that he would carry on running alone. In the Athens marathon race, he ran by his water point and so had to drink water given by the event organisers, but as he preferred water at room temperature and the water supplied was cold he got cramp and finished in tenth place. Tergat has confirmed that he will no longer take part in any future world events.
Tergat was one of the Olympic torch bearers in the relay in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, carrying it through Solihull.
- 1996 Atlanta Olympics – Silver
- 2000 Sydney Olympics – Silver
- World Championships – Silver (’97,’99), Bronze (1995)