Meet An Elite: Micah Kogo

Now that it's cool to care about the Boston Marathon again, Fittish would like to familiarize you with the runners at the front of the pack. This morning's elite: Micah Kogo.

Name: Micah Kogo

Country: Kenya


Age: 27

PR: 2:06:56 (4:51/mile)

Marathon Record:

  • 2013 Boston: Second Place (2:10)
  • 2013 Chicago: Fourth Place (2:06)

This Guy Doesn't Seem So Elite: It's time to let you in on a little secret: not every elite runner is the Joe Flacco of marathons. (Is Joe Flacco elite?)

At the major marathons — and I probably should have told you this earlier, but the major marathons are London, Boston and (as of this year) Tokyo in the spring, and New York, Chicago and Berlin in the fall — the front of the pack consists of a few former major champions, a few aging stars, a few hometown favorites, and a bunch of guys in…the "field". Kogo is definitely in the field.

What's The Field?: These days, its a pool of youngish East Africans who have broken one hour in the half marathon and/or 2:06 in the marathon without a major victory to their name. They all have the resume to win, but experience tells us that most of them will just fade away after a brief run of top ten finishes. Here's a sampling of this year's field — see if you can guess which ones will eventually win a major:

  • Micah Kogo: Age 27/2:06 marathon PR/59:07 half PR
  • Markos Geneti (ETH): 29/2:04:54/62:01
  • Wilson Chebet (KEN) 28/2:05:27/59:15
  • Tilahun Regassa (ETH): 24/2:05:27/59:19
  • Joel Kimurer (KEN): 26/2:07:48/59:36

Good luck picking out the future star from that group. With each of these guys, there's a fifty percent chance that he wins by two minutes and makes me look like an idiot, and a fifty percent chance that he DNFs and we never see him again. It's a fickle sport.

So Why Single Out Kogo?: The best things about Kogo are (1) he's only run two marathons to date, (2) he improved significantly in his second one, and (3) he's run well at Boston before. Especially that third point. Most of the elites show success either on the flat fast courses (London, Chicago, Berlin, Rotterdam) or the more challenging courses (New York, Boston, Olympics, World Champs, Disney, okay maybe not Disney but it was tough for me goddamnit). Runners who succeed at Boston once tend to succeed again.

Likelihood of Victory: Fair. The knock on Kogo is that he's never really won anything, even on the track (he's the 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist, and holder of many other second and third place ribbons). Some guys just don't win. Plus, Regassa and Chebet look slightly better on paper, even if you discount their fast times for being on really fast courses.

Predicted Finish: Second through Fourth.

Fun Fact: In Swahili, Kogo means "keep one wife, get a second one free."

Photo Credit: Getty Images