Former world 800m champion Paul Kimutai Ruto has kept his Mercedes Benz won in 1993.
With 29 years, Ruto has kept the history of his prize as a story to tell the importance of running to the young generation.
He won the two lap race in 1:44.71 beating then race favourite Billy Konchella to third in 1:44.89 with Italian Giuseppe D’Urso in between the Kenyans with a silver after clocking 1:44.86 in Stuttgart, Germany.
“When I won the race, my prize was a Mercedes Benz C180 and I still use it now. It is at home as we speak right now. I still drive that vehicle because it is my pride and I have to show my children and grandchildren to know that I got it through too much sweat by running and I was blessed with it,” said Ruto.
He said that he has been maintaining the vehicle and acts as a museum to children and other children especially those who run.
“They always ask me how I got it and I reply that ‘I earned through running’, which is a motivation to them, knowing that one day they will also run and get such great prizes,” he said.
The retired Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) man based in Lanet, ran apart from Konchella, he raced against William Tanui who finished in the 7th position in 1:45.80.
After retiring from active athletics, he became the coach, working with 81 battalions as his legs had problems.
“I would like to tell our leaders to help some of the former athletes currently languishing in poverty. Some former athletes, some of them are so drunk that they cannot be recognized as former champions. Also young runners should invest well in their youthful stage,” he said.
“By then, we used to run with a notion of winning but the current generation is lucky because one can earn money easily. At the same time many athletes don’t practice a lot on roads but gym work unlike us,” he said.
He also emphasized on education, saying that it has good tidings at the end of the career.
“Education can help many athletes and some even earn scholarships to study abroad, which is good to build their future,” he said.
Additional reporting: The Star Newspaper