The Journey to Gold: Elite Development from Kenya to Pittsburgh Korir nails the issues, America raises its game, November 20, 2013

I've got a new marathon hero – Wesley Korir. He only placed ninth at New York on November 2, in 2:11:34, and it may be inevitable that his new life as a full-time member of Kenya's parliament will restrict and even end his career as an elite runner. He has won Boston and Los Angeles, and got second at Chicago. And what a breath of fresh air he was at the New York pre-race media conference!

Eloquent and engaging, Korir kept us enthralled with his good-humored stories about how he balances politics and running. There's the speeded up treadmill in Kenya's National Assemby complex that he runs on between debates, and the couch where he naps to recover, as other politicians tiptoe past, whispering “Don't wake the runner” and there's the unusual problem of finding a personal bodyguard who can run at 2:10 marathon speed. His double life is high-pressure, but he makes entertaining stories from it.  

Korir also spoke seriously, about significant issues within running and much wider. Among all the usual “I hope to run well” platitudes, here was a man who sees the situation of being encircled by international journalists as an opportunity to say something worthwhile, even challenging. His two identities as runner and politician are not kept separate. 

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Tags: Kenya, Pittsburgh, Wesley Korir

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