With a nickname like “The Runimal” there has to be something special in Kiplimo Chemirmir’s shoes.

With a nickname like “The Runimal” there has to be something special in Kiplimo Chemirmir’s shoes.

The 26-year-old Kenyan is a long- and middle-distance runner who will make the Arbuckles to Ardmore Race for Mercy the latest in a long list of marathons on his resume. Since making his U.S. home in Flower Mound, Texas, in March 2008, Chemirmir has barely done anything but run.

On Sunday, Chemirmir’s feet will keep moving, this time through the Bar Nothin’ Marathon.

“Running is my life, my job,” said Chemirmir, who’s been running professionally since 2002. “I can run a marathon this weekend and a 5K next weekend.”

While Chemirmir, who goes by “Kip,” has been deemed “The Runimal,” he could also be called the “Hardest Working Man in Marathons.” The A2A will be Chemirmir’s 10th race of 2010, and his fifth marathon. He’s finished no worse than fourth in marathons this year and has won three 5Ks.

In 2009, Chemirmir won 18 of the 31 races he competed in, including the Fort Worth Marathon, and he’s finished first in nearly 50 races worldwide since turning pro. Before moving to road races in the U.S., Chemirmir traveled the world primarily as an Adidas-sponsored 500- and 800-meter runner.

His goal for the A2A is to run a sub-2:30.00 race, which he thinks he can pull off because of the downhill course layout in the Arbuckles and cool climate. Chemirmir’s personal best in the marathon is a 2:33.24.

“I don’t think anything’s going to stop me from running 2:30,” he said. “I run good in cold weather and I’ll try to give my best.”

Anything less for Chemirmir would be unfathomable. The son of a retired policeman and a former long distance runner, Chemirmir has been surrounded by the sport since birth and taught the discipline necessary to succeed in it. He won his first race at age seven, and hails from the Kalenjin, an ethnic group in western Kenya known to some as “The Running Tribe.”

But strong bloodlines haven’t kept him from a relentless training regimen of three runs a day, which can total 15-20 miles.

Chemirmir’s Facebook page is a shrine to the sport, with photos and quotes meant to inspire runners and himself. It’s no wonder he was drawn to the A2A, who’s page is also chock full of runner testimonies and encouraging words.

But it doesn’t take much to get “The Runimal” out of his seat. Just a race. Any time, any place.

“My mother was my first coach and I still have that strength,” he said. “I started running a long time ago and it’s been a part of my life since.”

Erik K. Horne


Chemirmir’s personal bests
  800-meter run — 1 min., 46 secs.
  Mile — 3:52
  3,000 steeplechase — 8:40
  5,000 — 13:38
  10,000 — 29:22
  15,000 — 45:51
  Half-marathon — 1:09:50
  Marathon — 2:33:24