James Kiplagat Magut is a middle distance runner who specializes in the 1500m. He has a personal best of 3:30.61 minutes for the event as well as a best of 3:50.68 minutes for the mile run.
He won his first medals as a teenager, taking second at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Athletics and winning the 2009 African Junior Athletics Championships. His first senior podium finish soon followed: on his major international debut at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, he claimed a silver medal. He was the bronze medalist at the 2012 African Championships in Athletics. Magut was part of the World Record-setting 4*1500m Relay team that won the gold medal at the 2014 IAAF World Relays in Bahamas.
Born in Nandi County, Magut gained his first national selection after a runner-up finish in the 1500m at the Kenya National junior championships. At the 2008 World Junior Championships in Athletics, he seemed set to win the title but Algeria’s Imal Touil narrowly beat him into second place by a tenth of a second. Following this he performed in Europe for the first time, finishing in the top ten at the Rieti Meeting and Hanzekovic Memorial. The next year, the eighteen-year-old runner won the Kenyan high school championship, holding off Nixon Chepseba. He topped the podium at the 2009 African Junior Athletics Championships. He competed frequently the year after, but in spite of this, he won his first major medal in the form of a silver behind Silas Kiplagat at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Magut missed the 2011 season due to a knee injury, but returned in May 2012 with a win at the Kenyan Armed Forces Championships, then his first sub-four-minute Mile to win at the Prefontaine Classic meeting. He set a new best of 3:50.68 for the distance at the Dream Mile at the Bislett Games a week later, He became sixth and was ranked the eighth fastest runner that year. He ran a 1500m personal best of 3:34.60 minutes to place second at the National Championship race, but faltered at the Kenya National Olympic Trials, where he was at sixth place and failed to break 3:40 minutes qualification. This run still earned him a spot on the team for the 2010 African Championships in Athletics, where he took the bronze medal, half a second behind the winner Caleb Mwangangi. Magut came third at the British Grand Prix (his first top three placing on the IAAf Diamond League) and peaked for the season at the Hanžeković Memorial, winning with a personal best of 3:33.31 minutes.
At the start of his 2013 season, he won at the Melbourne Track Classic, then in the Prefontaine Classic mile. He was third at the Bislett Games and was runner-up at The National Championships. He did not finish in the top three at the Kenyan World Championships trials and failed to finish at the Herculis and DN Galan 2013 IAAF Diamond League meets. His best run that year came at the London Grand Prix, where he was third in the mile in a near personal best of 3:50.93 minutes, ranking him eighth that year for the distance.
Magut had a string of victories in Australia in early 2014, winning in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. A personal best for the 1500m followed at the Doha Diamond League meet, although his time of 3:30.61 minutes placed him fifth in the quick race. These performances earned him a place on the Kenyan 4*1500m RElays Team for the inaugural 2014 IAAF World Relays. Running alongside Silas Kiplagat, Asbel Kiprop and Collins Cheboi, the group won a gold medal in a World Record-breaking time of 14:22.22 minutes, a fourteen second improvement. He won a Gold Medal in 1500m at The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.