Part of the recent history of distance running includes amazing athletes from Kenya. My husband raced against many. And while the United States has improved internationally, Kenyans are still medal-winners in many middle and long distance races.
The start list of a recent race prompted a family discussion of names and naming customs. Many of the Kenyan athletes had the phrase "Kip" as part of their name. So we investigated.
Kip generally refers to events surrounding one's birth:
- Kiplagat - born at sunset
- Kipkirui - born shortly after dark
- Kipkemboi - born at night
- Kipruto - born away from home, on safari
These names belong to an ethno-linguistic group called Kalenjin. This is only a snippet of a complex custom, similar to patronymic naming. I am certainly no expert, just a fan, and there are many articles online, including Kenya Runners and Kenyan Names if you are interested in reading more. When the London Olympics roll around later this summer and you hear a Kenyan name announced, you'll know how to find out what it means. This is how two of my worlds - genealogy and running - collide.
Kenyan flag clipart courtesy: http://www.worldatlas.com
© 2012 Sally Knudsen