Association of International Marathons and Distance Races names athletes as best marathon runners of the year at Athens gala

Dennis Kimetto and Florence Kiplagat have received their Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) best marathon runner of the year awards at a gala in Athens, Greece.

Kimetto became the first to run a sub-2:03 marathon with his 2:02:57 world record at the BMW Berlin Marathon in September, while fellow Kenyan Kiplagat broke the world half marathon record with 65:12 in Barcelona in February and followed that up with a runner up spot at the Virgin Money London Marathon in April.

“It is incredibly special for me to receive this prestigious award,” said Kiplagat. “It makes it extra special that I have received it in the spiritual home of the marathon in Greece.

“I am well aware of the 2500 year history of the marathon and I am delighted to feel a small part of it. I would like to thank AIMS for recognising my achievements.”

The winners were selected by AIMS members, made up of over 370 of the world’s leading and most prestigious distance races from over 100 countries and territories.

Kimetto had been named as the only candidate for the male award by the association, while New York City and Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo had been removed from the list of candidates for the female award following the news that she had failed a doping test in September. This left Kiplagat as the only remaining candidate.

A statement released by AIMS on November 1 read: “AIMS has decided that due to the current circumstances surrounding athlete Rita Jeptoo it is no longer appropriate that she be considered a candidate for this year’s AIMS Best Marathon Runner of the Year Award due to be announced next Friday the 7th of November 2014 in Athens, Greece.”

Last year’s inaugural AIMS Best Marathon Runner Award Gala saw Wilson Kipsang and Edna Kiplagat receive the honours, with that gala having replaced the AIMS World Athlete of the Year Award which had been presented by AIMS annually to the top male and female athletes since 1992.

Also recognised at Friday evening’s gala was the BMW Frankfurt Marathon which won the AIMS Green Award for the event’s “excellent environmental practice”.

The AIMS Social Award went to the Tokyo Marathon for its work raising money for charity, while American marathon executive and magazine publisher George Hirsch received the AIMS Lifetime Achievement Award. Hirsch (pictured above, left, with – L-R – president and CEO of the Tokyo Marathon Koji Sakurai, Kiplagat, Kimetto and Frankfurt Marathon race director Jo Schindler) was recognised for the “significant role” he has played in the development of the marathon movement, particularly in the USA.

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