Kenyan distance runner, Paul Tergat honored for cross country feat

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SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 05: Kenyan former professional long distance runner Paul Tergat (L) receives the honorary Achilles Award from Raul Chapado (R), president of the Royal Spanish Federation of Athletics, Award of honorary Achilles during the FICA International Athletics Film Festival on November 05, 2019 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by Gari Garaialde/Getty Images for IAAF)
SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 05: Kenyan former professional long-distance runner Paul Tergat poses with the honorary Achilles award during the FICA International Athletics Film Festival on November 05, 2019 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by Gari Garaialde/Getty Images for IAAF)

Five-time world cross country champion and former 10,000m and marathon world record holder Paul Tergat has been honored at the International Athletics Film Festival (FICA) in the Spanish city of San Sebastian.

Tergat, a winner of several cross country races in the Basque region during the second half of the 1990s when he reigned supreme in the discipline, was a popular figure in this part of Spain during his competitive career and was present in Spain to pick his award on Tuesday.

Tergat, 50, and a member of the International Olympic Committee received honorary Achilles Prize from the Festival organizers, following in the footsteps of Bob Beamon 12 months ago in relation to his international appeal, for his contribution to the sport.

“It’s a big honor to be recognized in this way and this honor is very special to me,” Tergat said.

“I hope this type of event (FICA) will continue for many years. To see the film of my cross country victories, as well as my defeats on the track at the Olympics brings it all back to me even though it was 20 years ago, and more. But it’s important to keep these memories for our children and grandchildren.

“I have competed all over the world, but I remember well the reception I always got to Spain. The people here were always very warm and welcoming,” he added.

In addition to his trophy, Tergat was also presented with a ceremonial inscribed Basque beret – a txapela – a traditional gift in the area.

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