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Daniel Komen

Daniel Komen
Personal information
Born (1976-05-17) 17 May 1976 [1]
Height 170 cm (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 55 kg (121 lb)
Updated on 16 February 2014.

Daniel Kipngetich Komen (born 17 May 1976 in Elgelol Marakwet District, Kenya)[2] is a Kenyan middle- and long-distance runner. Remembered for his rivalry with Haile Gebrselassie, Komen's most notable achievements came in a two-year period between 1996 and 1998, during which he broke a string of world records.[2]

He currently holds the world record for the 3000 metres both outdoors (7:20.67 set in 1996) and indoors (7:24.90 set in 1998). In addition, with his 7.58.61 world record in the 2-mile race set in 1997, he remains the only man in history to run back-to-back sub-four-minute miles, splitting circa 3:59.4 on both the first and second half of the race.[2]

Komen was also the second man, after Saïd Aouita, to break both the 13-minute mark for the 5,000 m, the 7½-minute mark for 3,000 m, and the 3½-minute mark for the 1,500 m.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal records 3
  • Achievements 4
  • Notes 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Komen is from the Keiyo sub-tribe of Kalenjin people and grew up in a rural area of Kenya's Rift Valley Province.[2] One of fourteen children,[3] Komen began running at the age of seven as a means of getting to and from school.[2] Komen had an exceptional junior career: at age 17, he placed second at the World Junior Cross Country Championships, and in 1994, he became the World Junior Champion in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters.


Komen first appeared in the senior ranks in 1994 when he won a place on Kenya's 10,000 m team for the 1994 Commonwealth Games, later that same year helping pace Moses Kiptanui to a 5,000 m record.[4]

Two years later, Komen began to dominate the 5,000 m.[5] On 1 September 1996 in Rieti, Italy, Komen ran a spectacular world record time of 7:20.67 in the 3000 metres, breaking Noureddine Morceli's former record by 4.44 seconds.

A year later, Komen made history again. In Hechtel, Belgium, Komen became the first (and so far only) man to run two miles in under eight minutes, clocking a world record 7:58.61.[6] His first mile was faster than Roger Bannister's first-ever sub-four, while his second equalled it.[6] Just seven months later, at an Australian athletics meet in Sydney, Komen ran 7:58.91, missing his world record by 0.30 seconds.

In August 1997 he broke the 5000 m world record and took two seconds off of Haile Gebrselassie's best to bring it to 12:39.74.

Only twelve days after the previous world record of 7:26.15 was set by Haile Gebrselassie, Komen broke the indoor 3,000-metre record with a time of 7:24.90, set in Budapest on 6 February 1998. This mark is still referred to as "Mount Everest"[7] in athletics circles and has been bettered only twice outdoors, one of them being Komen's own world record. Kenenisa Bekele believes that breaking Komen's record is only "possible on a special day if the pace is good and if everything else also is perfect."[8]

Other accolades include being the 1997 World Championships in Athletics and 1998 Commonwealth Games 5,000-meter champion. He won the 5000 metres race at the 1998 IAAF World Cup.[9]

Out of the limelight since the late 1990s, Komen now serves as chairman of the Keiyo North Rift Athletics Association and as co-director of a private school with his wife, Joyce.[2]

Personal records

Daniel Komen's personal records, and their place on the world ranking of all times, unless otherwise noted. All times and placings are taken from Komen's IAAF bio (as of August 2011):
Distance Time All-Time Rank Date Place
1500 Meters 3:29.46 12th 16 August 1997 Monaco
1 Mile 3:46.38 5th 26 August 1997 Berlin
2000 Meters 4:51.30 9th 5 June 1998 Milano
3000 Meters (outdoor) 7:20.67 World Record 1 September 1996 Rieti
3000 Meters (indoor) 7:24.90 World Record 6 February 1998 Budapest
2 Miles 7:58.61 World Record 19 July 1997[10] Hechtel
5000 Meters 12:39.74 3rd 22 August 1997 Brussels
10,000 Meters 27:38.32 53rd* 30 August 2002 Brussels


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  Kenya
1994 World Junior Championships Lisbon, Portugal 1st 5,000 m
1st 10,000 m
Representing  Kenya
1998 1998 Commonwealth Games Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1st 5,000 m


  1. ^ "Komen Daniel".  
  2. ^ a b c d e f Matt Fitzgerald (March 2011). "What Ever Happened To Daniel Komen?". Competitor Magazine.  Komen is rumoured to be three years older than officially recognised.
  3. ^ Tanser (2001), p. 186.
  4. ^ Tanser (2001), p. 185. Komen himself set a world junior record of 12:56.15 as Kiptanui's pace-maker.
  5. ^ Tanser (2001), p. 185.
  6. ^ a b See here for Komen's lap splits: Professor Tom Michalik. "THE EIGHT MINUTE TWO-MILE!!". Personal web page. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Bekele to hit the boards for the first time in Stuttgart".   See paragraph 12 of the article.
  8. ^ "Bekele gunning for 3000 WR, while Swedish stars share the spotlight – Stockholm preview".  
  10. ^ World Records and Best Performances


  • Tanser, Toby (2001) [1997]. Train Hard, Win Easy: The Kenyan Way (2nd ed.).  

External links

  • Daniel Komen profile at IAAF
  • Kimbia Athletics profile (
  • Highlight footage of his 7:58.61 record for 2 miles
  • Video recording of Komen's outdoor 3,000m record
  • A biographical article "What Ever Happened to Daniel Komen?" that includes much race information from Komen's career
Preceded by
Noureddine Morceli
Men's 3000 m World Record Holder
1 September 1996 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Haile Gebrselassie
Men's 5000 m World Record Holder
22 August 1997 – 13 June 1998
Succeeded by
Haile Gebrselassie
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Moses Kiptanui
Men's 3000 m Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Haile Gebrselassie
Preceded by
Haile Gebrselassie
Men's 5000 m Best Year Performance
1996 – 1997
Succeeded by
Haile Gebrselassie

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