Khalid Khannouchi: Marathon Man

Khalid Khannouchi: Marathon Man

Khalid Khannouchi is an American marathoner who has achieved the distinction of being one of the greatest marathoners in athletics history. He held two world records, which were the Men's Marathon World Record from 1999 to 2003 and the Men's London Marathon Record in 2002.

Khalid Khannouchi was born in Meknes, Morocco on December 22, 1971. He was a promising young runner in the early 1990s, and he went to ask the track federation of Morocco for financial assistance so that he could get the training he needed to become a successful marathoner. Unfortunately, the track federation denied his request, and he immigrated to Brooklyn, USA where he resided with three friends in an apartment and found work washing dishes. He began serious training while he was living in the US. In September 1996, he married Sandra Inoa, an American who became his coach and agent. He started competing in smaller road races where he performed exceptionally well. Eventually, he won the 1997 Chicago Marathon and was hailed as the fastest debut marathoner in history. He went on to beat his marathon record in 1999 and again in 2002 during the London Marathon. He became a US citizen on May 2, 2000.

Running Accomplishments:


  • Winner (14:05:33): World University Games Men's 5000m


  • Winner (2:07:10): Chicago Marathon


  • 2nd Place (2:07:19): Chicago Marathon
  • Winner (27:47): Peachtree Road Race 10k
  • Winner (31:48): Falmouth Road Race 7.1 miles
  • Winner (57:37): New Haven 20k


  • Winner (2:05:42): Chicago Marathon
  • Winner (27:45): Peachtree Road Race 10k


  • 3rd Place (2:08:36): London Marathon
  • Winner (2:07:01): Chicago Marathon
  • Winner (1:05:01): San Blas Half-Marathon
  • Winner (1:01:17): Philadelphia Distance Run Half-Marathon


  • 6th Place (28:38): Peachtree Road Race


  • Winner (2:05:38): London Marathon
  • Winner (2:05:56): Chicago Marathon
  • Winner (1:02:06): Kyoto Half Marathon
  • Track & Field News' #1 Marathoner in the World and American Athlete of the Year


  • 10th Place (29:12): Peachtree Road Race
  • 7th Place (28:11): Steamboat Classic
  • 1st Place (1:02:15): Kyoto City Half Marathon
  • 3rd Place (1:05:06): San Blas Half Marathon


  • 5th Place (2:08:54): Chicago Marathon


  • 8th Place (14:18): USA 5km Championships


  • 4th Place (2:07:04): London Marathon


  • 4th Place (2:12:34): US Olympic Marathon Trials

Khannouchi is recognized as the first marathoner to break the 2:06:00 mark, as evidenced by his performances in the 1999 Chicago Marathon, the 2002 London Marathon, and the 2002 Chicago Marathon.

Khannouchi faced several trials during his running careers, among them a series of injuries that stopped him from competing in the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials. He suffered from hamstring injuries during the 2000 London Marathon, and he finished third in the race. In the 2001 Utica Boilermaker, he experienced back spasms and had to drop out of the race. He was also unable to complete the DNF World Outdoor Championships in 2001 due to foot blisters and struggle with heat. One of Khannouchi's greatest struggles was his inability to qualify for the US Olympic Team. In the last US Olympic Marathon Trials, he only managed to finish fourth. He also stated that he was unable to train during the period of Ramadan as he had to observe his religious practices.

Khalid Khannouchi is an important figure in the history of men's marathon. He has established world records that serve as an inspiration for a lot of other aspiring runners. Although he has not been successful in recent years, his contribution to marathon history continues to be appreciated. 

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