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Athlete of the Week: Grandma’s champion Boniface Kongin

DULUTH, MN – Just over a month and a half after winning the Pittsburgh Marathon, Kenyan distance runner Boniface Kongin emerged victorious at Grandma’s Marathon.

He spent his time in-between the two races living and training in West Duluth. Throughout his training and preparations, Kongin battled through a left hamstring and right achilles injury.

They ended up catching up to him, as he anticipated, midway through Grandma’s Marathon. He suffered pain starting around the 15 mile mark, causing him to stop and regroup near the 20 mile mark.

“I was hurting so bad, so I was trying to keep the distance to keep the gap, so I was trying to look back to maintain it you know,” said Kongin.

“At that point I was not going for time, I was going to finish. At mile 25, that’s where I was like 70 percent sure I could win it, you know. But before that I was just hoping, anyone’s game you know.”

His pace slowed from a speedy 4:50 mile split, to over a six minute mile, as he plunged through the last six miles of the race. Kongin’s over four minute lead slipped to just 17 seconds at the finish line, providing the downtown fans with an exciting scene on Canal Park Drive.

For his battle through adversity, and Grandma’s victory- Boniface Kongin is the KBJR 6 Athlete of the Week.

If you would like to nominate someone for Athlete of the Week, reach out to Sports Anchor Matt Halverson via email at

Matt Halverson

Sports Anchor and Reporter

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