Tegla Loroupe


Tegla Loroupe

Tegla Loroupe (born May 9, 1973 in Kapsait, Kenya) is a long-distance track and road runner, and a global spokeswoman for peace, women's rights, and education.

Loroupe holds the world records for 20, 25 and 30 kilometres and previously held the world marathon record. She is the three-time World Half-Marathon champion. She was the first African woman to win the New York City Marathon, which she has won twice. She has won marathons in London, Boston, Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Berlin, Rome and many of other cities.

In 2006, she was named a [http://www.un.org/sport2005/newsroom/special_event.html United Nations Ambassador of Sport] by Secretary General Kofi Annan, together with Roger Federer, tennis champion from Switzerland, Elias Figueroa, Latin American soccer legend from Chile, and Katrina Webb paralympics gold medalist from Australia. She is an International Sports Ambassador for the IAAF, the International Association of Athletics Federations, and for UNICEF.

In 2003, Loroupe created an annual series of Peace Marathons sponsored by the [http://www.tegla.org/ Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation ] "Peace Through Sports". Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ambassadors and government officials run with warriors and nomadic groups in her native Kenya, in Uganda and in Sudan, to bring peace to an area plagued by raiding warriors from battling tribes. She has established a school (Tegla Loroupe Peace Academy) and orphanage for children from the region in Kapenguria, a high-mountain town in north-west Kenya.

The 2006 Peace Marathon was held on November 18, 2006, in Kapenguria, Kenya. Two thousand warriors from six tribes competed.

The next Peace Marathon is June 16, 2007 in Moroto, Uganda, in the heart of the Ugandan conflict zone.

In February, 2007, she was named the Oxfam Ambassador of Sport and Peace to Darfur. In December, 2006, she traveled with George Clooney, Joey Cheek, and Don Cheadle to Beijing, Cairo, and New York on a diplomatic mission to bring an end to violence in Darfur. She won the "Community Hero" category at the 2007 Kenyan Sports Personality of the Year awards [ [http://www.soyaawards.com/winners.html SOYA Awards - 2007 winners] ] . Tegla Loroupe was born in "Kapsait" village, "Lelan" division of West Pokot District. She grew up with 24 siblings; her father had four wives. She spent her childhood working fields, tending cattle and looking after younger brothers and sisters. At the age of seven she started school, making her run of ten kilometres to and from school every morning. At school, she became aware of her potential as an athlete when she beat others years older at school races held over a distance of 800 or 1500 metres. She decided to pursue a career as a runner, but - except for her mother - was not supported by anyone.

The Kenyan athletics federation, Athletics Kenya, did not support her at first, thinking Loroupe too small and too thin. However, after she won a prestigious cross country barefoot race in 1988, this changed. She was nominated for the junior world championships, finishing 28th. She began to train to compete internationally the following year, earning her first pair of running shoes in 1989, which she wore only for particularly rough races.

In 1994, Loroupe ran her first major marathon in New York. Running against the world's strongest competition, she won. As a consequence she was idolized by many young people in Africa: at last, a woman champion to complement the many successful male runners.

Loroupe went on to win almost all major marathons in the world. During the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, favored to win both the marathon and the 10,000 meters, she suffered from violent food poisoning the night before the race. Nevertheless she fought through the marathon race, finishing 13th, then, the next day, ran the 10,000 metres, finishing 5th, running barefoot in both races, a feat she later stated she achieved out of a sense of duty to all the people taking her as a bearer of hope in her home country. Until the end of 2001, she continued to suffer from various health problems.

Loroupe's biggest successes include: world records over 20, 25 and 30 kilometres as well as the past record over the marathon distance. She won the marathons of Rotterdam three times between 1997 and 1999, New York in 1994 and 1995, Berlin in 1999, London and Rome in 2000 and Lausanne in 2002. Between 1997 and 2002, she won three world titles over the half marathon distance. In 1994 and 1998, Loroupe won the Goodwill Games over 10,000 metres, barefoot. Over the same distance she won bronze medals at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics 1995 and 1999.

In February, 2006 she won the Hong Kong Half-Marathon.

References

External links

*
* [http://www.teglaloroupepeacefoundation.org/ Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation ] "Peace Through Sports"


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