Series06 Apr 2015

Personal bests – David Rudisha


Kenyan middle-distance runner David Rudisha (© Getty Images)

Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha is one of the stellar names in the world of athletics. Here the Kenyan world record-holder for the two-lap distance talks about some areas of his life which are of significance.

My greatest achievement in athletics

Winning the Olympic title in London. Nothing in the world can compare with the Olympic Games. It was something special and everywhere I go people keep still keep reminding me of my Olympic title and world record (he ran 1:40.91). Yet I try not to dwell on the past and I try to look what is ahead of me to achieve in the future.

My best friend in athletics

I am really good friends with Sammy Tangui, my pacemaker. We are very close and even in training we work together on the planning for many races. I've known Sammy since 2007. Back then he used to pace races for the likes of Wilfred Bungei (the 2008 Olympic 800m champion). I was really impressed with him (Tangui). I liked his stride and the fact he was tall. Even then I was planning great things for the future and to break the world record, so I thought it would be good to work with him and I knew he would be my best training partner.

Another close friend of mine is Abubaker Kaki (two-time world indoor 800m champion) of Sudan. We started competing at the 2006 World Junior Championships (in Beijing) and have become close friends. 

My greatest rival

Abubaker Kaki. I have faced him a lot over the years and he is the sort of a guy who, when racing him, would always give me a big headache. He is a front runner and very aggressive. In fact, when I am training I think of him and it acts as motivation. He has been my greatest rival since the 2006 World Juniors (Rudisha won gold and Kaki was sixth in the final). Back in 2008 and 2009 he won most of the races against me, but since then, I think I've got the better of him.

My best piece of coaching advice

My coach (Brother) Colm (O'Connell) always tells me running is not just about the legs, it is also about the head. He tells me an athlete might have the best coach in the world but successful performance is at least 70 per cent down to the athlete. My coach does not travel a lot overseas with me so he gives the confidence to compete without him. I'm a quick learner and I understand my body very much. If I turn up ahead of a race in good condition and the conditions are good I will say at the press conference what time I expect to run.

My greatest disappointment

My knee injury in 2013. I had prepared myself so well between November to May and to run only two races that year because of injury was so disappointing. It was the year after the London Olympics and for everything to fall down was a low moment in my career.

The best athletics venue

I try to be neutral but the London Olympic Stadium is a special place. Ahead of the London Games in January of 2012 I was invited to visit the stadium, which was almost complete. I also went to the call-room and warm up track and that really motivated me.

My greatest indulgence

I like gadgets. Every time I walk into a gadget shop, I have to buy something. I have loved electronic items since I was young. As a kid I listened to music all day on the radio. My father would then come home and complain that the battery was low and I would just keep quiet.

The best athlete I have ever seen

Usain Bolt is the greatest athlete I've ever witnessed. His achievements of winning gold medals at World Championships and Olympic Games and breaking world records are amazing. To do that time and time again makes him the best athlete I've seen.

My best achievement outside of athletics

I’m very proud of the fact I manage to successfully juggle my work and family balance well. It is a tough situation to get right.

Steve Landells for the IAAF