Athlete Profile

    Kenya Kenya
    13 FEB 1981
Grace Momanyi, Commonwealth 10,000m champion (Getty Images)

Current World Ranking Positions

Discipline Place Score
Women's 10,000m 414 1033
Women's Overall Ranking 4551 1033

Highest Ever World Ranking Positions

Discipline Place Duration
Women's 10,000m 327 for 1 week
Women's Overall Ranking 3579 for 1 week
Highest ever World Rankings position is considered from 1/1/2019


Discipline Performance Wind Venue Date Records Results Score
3000 Metres 8:56.37 International Stadium, Gateshead (GBR) 31 AUG 2009 1118
5000 Metres 14:50.77 Bislett Stadion, Oslo (NOR) 03 JUL 2009 1181
10,000 Metres 31:08.24 Ostrava (CZE) 12 JUN 2008 1185
5 Kilometres 15:35 London (GBR) 06 SEP 2009 1123
10 Kilometres 31:25 Ottawa (CAN) 28 MAY 2005 1191
15 Kilometres 48:50 Luanda (ANG) 31 DEC 2008 1156
10 Miles Road 51:51 Amsterdam (NED) 20 SEP 2009 1179
Half Marathon 1:08:41 Lisboa (POR) 20 MAR 2011 1178
Marathon 2:28:26 Hefei (CHN) 12 NOV 2016 1148


* Not legal.

Latest Active Season: 2019


Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records Results Score
5000 Metres 16:24.62 Nairobi (KEN) 13 JUL 2019 1005
10,000 Metres 33:29.20 Nairobi (KEN) 11 JUL 2019 1062


3000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2009 8:56.37 International Stadium, Gateshead (GBR) 31 AUG 2009


5000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2019 16:24.62 Nairobi (KEN) 13 JUL 2019
2012 16:15.5h Nairobi (KEN) 17 MAY 2012
2011 15:07.49 Crystal Palace, London (GBR) 06 AUG 2011
2009 14:50.77 Bislett Stadion, Oslo (NOR) 03 JUL 2009
2008 15:02.10 Boudewijnstadion, Bruxelles (BEL) 05 SEP 2008
2005 16:32.7h Eldoret (KEN) 01 APR 2005
2004 16:12.3h Nyeri (KEN) 03 APR 2004


5 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2009 15:35 London (GBR) 06 SEP 2009


10,000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2019 33:29.20 Nairobi (KEN) 11 JUL 2019
2011 32:15.06 Pontevedra (ESP) 02 APR 2011
2010 32:34.11 New Delhi (IND) 08 OCT 2010
2008 31:08.24 Ostrava (CZE) 12 JUN 2008


10 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2012 33:24 Bengaluru (IND) 27 MAY 2012
2011 32:05 Manchester (GBR) 15 MAY 2011
2010 31:34 Würzburg (GER) 25 APR 2010
2009 31:32 Würzburg (GER) 26 APR 2009
2008 32:02 Bengaluru (IND) 18 MAY 2008
2005 31:25 Ottawa (CAN) 28 MAY 2005
2004 33:02 Torreón (MEX) 31 OCT 2004
2003 33:25 Torreón (MEX) 26 OCT 2003
2002 32:31 Salt Lake City, UT (USA) 24 JUL 2002
2001 33:29 Mobile, AL (USA) 24 MAR 2001
2000 32:37 Charleston, SC (USA) 01 APR 2000


15 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2008 48:50 Luanda (ANG) 31 DEC 2008
2007 53:13 Luanda (ANG) 31 DEC 2007


10 Miles Road

Performance Place Date
2010 52:03 Portsmouth (GBR) 24 OCT 2010
2009 51:51 Amsterdam (NED) 20 SEP 2009
2005 55:12 Flint, MI (USA) 27 AUG 2005
2000 55:41 Flint, MI (USA) 26 AUG 2000


Half Marathon

Performance Place Date
2012 1:11:42 Nairobi (KEN) 08 JUL 2012
2011 1:08:41 Lisboa (POR) 20 MAR 2011
2005 1:10:20 Monterrey (MEX) 17 APR 2005
2004 1:14:17 Maracaibo (VEN) 04 SEP 2004



Performance Place Date
2018 2:34:50 Lanzhou (CHN) 10 JUN 2018
2016 2:28:26 Hefei (CHN) 12 NOV 2016
2015 2:32:16 Dublin (IRL) 26 OCT 2015
2014 2:35:04 Firenze (ITA) 30 NOV 2014

Honours - World Cross Country Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
10. Senior Race 25:54 Holyrood Park, Edinburgh (GBR) 30 MAR 2008

Honours - African Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
3. 5000 Metres 15:50.19 Addis Abeba (ETH) 01 MAY 2008

Honours - World Athletics Final

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
7. 5000 Metres 15:02.44 Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion, Stuttgart (GER) 13 SEP 2008
8. 5000 Metres 15:32.43 Thessaloniki (GRE) 12 SEP 2009

Honours - Commonwealth Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 10,000 Metres 32:34.11 New Delhi (IND) 08 OCT 2010

Honours - South American Half Marathon Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. Half Marathon 1:14:17 Maracaibo (VEN) 04 SEP 2004
Results in:

5000 Metres

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
13 JUL 2019 Kenya Police Ch., Nairobi KENKEN F F 9. 16:24.62

10,000 Metres

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
11 JUL 2019 Kenya Police Ch., Nairobi KENKEN F F 6. 33:29.20

Half Marathon

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result Remark
11 AUG 2019 Half Marathon, Thika KENKEN F F 2. 1:12:08 UNC


Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result Remark
21 SEP 2019 Rock 'n' Roll Montreal Marathon, Montréal CANCAN F F 1. 2:40:51 UNC

Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.

Updated 1 May 2008

Grace Kwamboka MOMANYI, Kenya

(Half Marathon, cross country)
Born 13 February 1981, Masimba Village, Kisii 
Height: 170 cm (5' 7"); Weight: 48kg
Trains: Kisii 
Coach: Timothy Momanyi
Camp: Kaptagat

Manager: Ricky Simms

The Kenya National Cross Country women’s champion, Grace Kwamboka Momanyi, is enjoying a renaissance in her career. The mother-of-one had an injury-plagued 2006, missing most of the season, and at one time she thought her career was over as she battled a ravaging hip injury as well as illness.

But months of intensive therapy saw Momanyi make a comeback in late 2007 and seal her spot in the team for the World Cross Country Championships, in Edinburgh, capped an outstanding few months during which she erased doubts about her own talent and capability.

"I am so grateful to be competing again after the troubles of 2006,” Momanyi said. “I could hardly walk at the beginning of last year but have slowly recovered and am grateful to my husband for helping a lot with my physiotherapy on my injured hip."

Born in Masimba Village Kisii District, the first in a family of three, she was the typical young Kenyan prodigy, breaking through the ranks while very young by competing in road races in the United States, Mexico and Canada. She attended Gesicho Primary School from 1990 to 1998 and it was here that she launched the baby steps to her athletics career.

"My first time to run was in class four when I won the 10,000m race at a schools' meet,” Momanyi recalled. “It was incredible since I had never even trained.” She continued running while in primary school because of the incentives presented to the winners, like sodas, bread and little cash prizes.  The races made her popular in her village, earning her reputation as a star in the making. "People used to fear me and would watch out for me in races," she reminisced.

Born into a sporting family - her father was a former footballer while her mother was an athlete – Momanyi received a lot of encouragement from her mother but her father was dead against it. "My mother could see I had talent and urged me to pursue it, telling me I could earn a livelihood from it, but my dad was far from pleased and wanted me to concentrate on education instead."

Momanyi joined Gusii Highlights in 1999 for her secondary school education and it was here that she made her first journey to the US in 2001 to compete at a road race while in form three. She finished second at the Crazy 8s 8K race in Kingsport clocking 26:05.8.

Then she won the Wharf to Wharf 10km, beating veteran Jane Omoro to win in 31:23. She also won the Shelter Island 10km race (34:09). Momanyi then came fifth at the 2001 Azalea Trail run (33.29) as her road running career got off to a great start. 

In 2002, she retained her Shelter Island title, shaving 21 seconds off her winning time the previous year. She completed her secondary school education that year and fell pregnant. She began 2003 by marrying Timothy Momanyi, the groom being a former athlete. On 25 February she gave birth to a boy, Billy.

Now a mother, Momanyi resumed training barely three months later, preparing for the 2004 season. She started with a third place finish in the women's long course race at an Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Series meet, in Eldoret, and was then selected to represent Nyanza South at the National Championships.  Momanyi found the going tough, finishing down the ladder, in 27th position.

After suffering malaria, Momanyi could only manage seventh place at the Olympic trials over 5000m (16:17.41) but recovered to win the Maracaibo Half Marathon in Venezuela (1:14.17). In 2005, she could manage only 27th at the National Cross Country Championships and admitted to overtraining. Turning away from the track, and concentrating on the road, Momanyi won the Oginga Odinga 15K race in Kisumu before breaking the eight-year-old half marathon course record, in searing heat, at the Medio Maraton De Coban (1:13.10).

Eight days later, Momayi shattered a 16-year-old record in Ottawa (held by Albertina Dias) when she won the women's MDS Nordion 10km (31:24.4) Momanyi then travelled to Mexico, where she won Saltillo Half Marathon (1:12.55)

In 2006 another bout of malaria put paid to her hopes of making the national cross-country team. In April, she left for Japan where she joined Daihastu Athletics team, based in Osaka. This would however, mark the start of the most difficult period of her career as she struggled with injury and illness.

First she was diagnosed with anaemia and, from May to July, she trained lightly as she was on medication. "I think my body just disagreed with Japan, with the weather, food, training and everything,” she said. In August, just as she was beginning to feel her way back to running, she suffered a hip injury that would lay her off for another five months.

"I was feeling pain from my ankle, all the way up to my hip and it was so painful I could barely walk,” she said. In December she came back to Kenya still struggling with the injury and started treatment, mainly physiotherapy after consulting a doctor in Kisumu.

"My husband was very helpful during this period,” she said. “Having had his career curtailed by a knee injury, he really helped by massaging my hip as the doctors had ordered. He was there supporting me emotionally every time I felt like giving up." There were no celebrations to mark the beginning of 2007 for she could hardly walk. Her husband continued massaging her leg diligently and it duly started improving.

Momanyi resumed light training in March, jogging for 20 minutes at a go. "It was so much relief that I could finally jog and I really cherished those moments." Under the watchful eye of her husband, she stepped up training increasing it to an hour daily in April.

Suffering no reactions, she continued build-up in earnest and, on 14 September, marked her comeback with a bang, winning the Safaricom Sambaza 10km in Gucha, in her native Kisii in 35:10. On 5 October, she notched her second successive victory at the Safaricom Kebirigo Road Race where she took top honours in 34:12.6.

Now fully back in the swing of things, Momanyi won the women's 8K race at the Kisii Cross-Country Championships. Her third straight triumph was achieved in 28:00.04 on 15 December. On New Year's Eve, she stretched the run to four when she triumphed at the Sao Silvestre de Luanda 15km road race in Angola in 53:13.

After the national cross-country series was disrupted by post-election violence, forcing the cancellation of the last two meets, all athletes had only one shot at places in Kenya's team to Edinburgh. And that came at the IAAF Permit National Cross-Country Championships cum trials.

During the keenly contested race, Momanyi stayed in the middle of the pack until the final two laps when she joined front runners, 2006 Fukuoka World Cross junior champion Pauline Korikwiang and her successor in Mombasa, Linet Masai as well as Armed Forces pair Lineth Chepkurui and Doris Changeywo.

In the last 500m, Masai and Momanyi pulled away and the latter showed the reigning junior champion a clean pair of heels in the last 200m. Her victory was shocking since none of local and international pundits had made any mention of her in their build-up pieces as she booked an automatic ticket to Edinburgh. 

"I am so pleased, especially since the field was very competitive and the weather a bit too hot,” she said. “I felt strong as we approached the finish and I was able to pull from Masai."  Such is the maturity she displayed at the Kigari training camp in Embu that coaches appointed her deputy team captain.

The 27-year-old is set to join the Police force later this year. "They have already taken my papers and hopefully I will join later in the year," she said. Combining a fledgling athletics career and motherhood does take its toll but Momanyi attributes her success to a supportive husband.

"I have a husband who is supportive and who understands the demands of athletics. He used to run so he really knows what is needed. He got injured in 1999 and since then he takes care of the family and trains me. He played a key role in my recovery by massaging my hip throughout the months. Even now when we are in camp, he is at home taking care of our farm as well as Billy, thus I am able to focus on my training."

At the World Cross Country Championships held in Edinburgh in March, she finished a creditable tenth in her first ever appearance at the Championships.

Momanyi was back for the trials in Nairobi for the African Athletics Championships in Addis Ababa, easily winning the 5,000m in 15:49.7.

Personal Bests

5000m: 16:01.3 (2004)
Half Marathon: 73:05 (2005)

Yearly Progression
5000m: 2004 - 16:01.3, 2005 - 16:32.7
Half Marathon: 2004 - 74:17, 2005 - 73:05

 Career Highlights

2004  1st Maracaibo Half Marathon
2005  1st Saltillo Half Marathon
2005 1st Medio Maraton de Coban Half Marathon, Guatemala
2007 1st Sao Silvestre 15km, Angola
2008  1st Kenya National Cross Country Championships
  10th World Cross Country Championships


Prepared by James Wokabi and Mutwiri Mutuota for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008