Greatest African Distance Runner Ever!


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Greatest African Distance Runner Ever!

Postby Guest » Mon Sep 01, 2003 3:00 pm

I have always narrowed this category down to 2: Bikila and Geb but with the outstanding consistency and 5K times of El Guerrouj, I'm throwing him in the middle. Without alot of research, here's my top 10 greatest African distance runners ever:
1. Haile Gebresilasie
2. Hicham El Guerrouj
3. Abebe Bikila
4. Kip Keino
5. Said Aouita
6. Nourredine Morceli
7. Henry Rono
8. Moses Kiptanui
9. Paul Tergat
10. Mike Boit
(note: I did not include Kipketer due to his Denmark affiliation)
Your thoughts??
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Re: Greatest African Distance Runner Ever!

Postby tafnut » Mon Sep 01, 2003 3:52 pm

certainly Yifter the Shifter belongs above some of those.
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Re: Greatest African Distance Runner Ever!

Postby jhc68 » Mon Sep 01, 2003 4:39 pm

Greatest in what sense? As ground breakers, Bikila, Keino, Rono and maybe Boit rate ahead of the others. They are legendary and will be remembered longer than most of the others. But the marks of the more recent guys are far better than the pioneers.
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Re: Greatest African Distance Runner Ever!

Postby Guest » Fri Sep 05, 2003 6:44 pm

Geb made a strong statement in Brussels!
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Re: Greatest African Distance Runner Ever!

Postby Guest » Tue Sep 16, 2003 7:48 pm

Yes, he did!
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Re: Greatest African Distance Runner Ever!

Postby Guest » Wed Sep 17, 2003 9:39 am

No Mamo Wolde? No Filbert Bayi? No Ben Jipcho?
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Re: Greatest African Distance Runner Ever!

Postby Guest » Thu Sep 18, 2003 12:38 pm

>No Mamo Wolde? No Filbert Bayi? No Ben Jipcho?

Bayi never ranked #1 in the world. I'd have to guess he's on the short list for greatest athlete who never got that top spot. Besides, this is a really tough group to crack.

My ranking for greatest African distance runners:

1)Bikila -- greatest marathoner ever, hands down

2)Gebrselassie -- might be best ever 10k man (but Zatopek gives him a run for it)

3)Aouita -- probably the best 5k man ever, not to mention 1500, 800, 10k

4)Morceli -- my pick for best miler ever, as he's superior to El G in win streak, # of WRs set, and record in championship races

5)Keino -- never dominant but consistently at the top for 8 years straight

6)El Guerrouj

7)Moses Kiptanui -- probably the best steeplechaser ever

8)Miruts Yifter -- undefeated at 10k

9)Derartu Tulu -- best African woman yet

10)Henry Rono -- possiby the best year ever in distance running, but not much else

Special Mention -- Alain Mimoun, who was born in Algeria but retired before independence (1962). He was runner-up to Zatopek in 5 championship races and finally won when he moved up to the marathon in 1956.

As far as social implications go, Bikila and Keino made running wildly popular in their nations, while Hassiba Boulmerka is credited with stopping (or at least slowing down) an Islamist revolution.
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Re: Greatest African Distance Runner Ever!

Postby Guest » Fri Sep 19, 2003 11:24 am

J Squire - great list.
I have some minor quibbles. Morceli had a greater win list at major championships? Yes at Olys, since he won in 1996, but ran a very poor race (nowhere near a medal) in 1992, when he was favored. El G's WC wins must count for something, plus his overall won-loss record.
As for Aouita greatest 5 K man ever - my vote goes to Haag, and he (along with Andersson)
were untouchable in the 1500 m/mile. Haag's 1942 season (82 days, I believe) was as good as Rono's 1978 season in many ways.

Finally, I fully agree with you, Bikila for number one (barefoot in Rome and about three minutes ahead in Tokyo, seven weeks after an appendectomy). By 1964, Wilson Kiprugut was the only other (black) African to medal at the Olys (3rd in 1964 800 m). As you say, Bikila and Keino did more to put "Africa on the map" and inspire other African runners.
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