Pioneer Kenyan Marathon Runner Sebina Chebichi


Sebina Chebichi was a pioneering Kenyan marathon runner who made history by winning her first marathon in 1973, while barefoot and wearing a petticoat. Born in the late 1940s in the Rift Valley region of Kenya, Chebichi grew up in a rural area where she learned to run as a means of transportation and to help her family with their daily chores.

Chebichi began running competitively in the early 1970s, at a time when women’s athletics in Kenya were still in their infancy. At the time, there were few opportunities for female athletes in the country, and most races were dominated by men. However, Chebichi was determined to succeed, and she trained hard despite facing many obstacles.

In 1973, Chebichi made history by winning the Kenya Amateur Athletics Association’s national marathon championship, becoming the first Kenyan woman to do so. Chebichi’s victory was all the more remarkable because she ran the race barefoot and wearing a petticoat, as she did not have access to proper running gear.

Chebichi’s success was a source of inspiration to other female athletes in Kenya, and she continued to compete at a high level in the years that followed. In 1974, she became the first Kenyan female athlete to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games, taking the bronze medal in the marathon.

Chebichi’s achievements paved the way for other female Kenyan athletes, who have since become some of the most successful and well-known runners in the world. Today, Kenyan women are among the most dominant long-distance runners on the planet, and Chebichi’s legacy continues to inspire generations of young athletes.

Despite her success, Chebichi faced many challenges throughout her career, including a lack of support and recognition from the sports authorities in Kenya. She retired from competitive running in the late 1970s, but her pioneering efforts opened the door for other female athletes to follow in her footsteps.
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