Kenyan World Class Marathoners Winning Medals for The US

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Elkanah Kibet participates in the Boston Marathon in April 2018

With the Kenyan winning spirit and love for athletics, the four athletes with Kenyan heritage continue to win titles in various races for the United States.

The four are officers in the United States Army and part of the US Army World Class Athlete Program.

Elkanah Kibet, Augustus Maiyo, Leonard Korir, Samuel Kosgei and Haron Lagat are the talk of many in the United States, having made the country proud in various instances participating in major races in the world.

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Elkanah Kibet participates in the Boston Marathon in April 2018

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Elkanah Kibet is a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army who joined the World Class Athlete Program in 2013 after his studies at Auburn University from where he had competed in various championships and won a number of titles.

Kibet who runs in the 10,000 Kilometres race won the Reedy River Run title in 2015 and returned in 2016 to retain his title.

Kibet is in the list of athletes that are in the run to represent the United States in the oncoming Olympics Championships at Tokyo in July 2020.

The 36-year old athlete was born in Elgeyo Marakwet County and attended Kipsoen Secondary School.

After finishing high school, Kibet met Pete Watson, then a coach at Auburn who had visited Kenya while looking for prospective runners and offered Kibet a scholarship.

Senior Sergeant Augustus Maiyo Augustus wasn’t always a marathoner. In fact, he only started running at Kapsabet High School, since all his friends were running, too. 

Maiyo was born in Kapsabet, Nandi County and joined the United States Army in 2010 after his studies.

After the food technology specialist ran the cross country and track and field for the University of Alabama, he enlisted in the US Army and continued making his name known in the running world. 

To date, he has been enlisted in five national teams and won both the Marine Corps Marathon and the Army Ten-Miler, among many other accomplishments.

He is also seeking to be in the team that will represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Marathon runner Sgt. Augustus Maiyo (left) wins in the male’s overall and male’s military categories at the Army Ten-Miler, Oct. 9, 2016, in Arlington, USA.

Marathon runner Sgt. Augustus Maiyo (left) wins in the male’s overall and male’s military categories at the Army Ten-Miler, Oct. 9, 2016, in Arlington, USA.

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Sergeant Leonard Korir joined the US Army in 2015 and was born in Iten area, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Korir attended Kipsangui Boys High School before heading to the United States where he specialised as a motor transport operator.

Korir began running in 2008, during his high school days and found inspiration in world-renowned Kenyan runners like the legendary Paul Tergat. 

He competed in the cross country and track for Lorna College before enlisting in the US Army.

After graduating for his basic training, Korir launched a grueling training schedule to prepare for the Olympics and made it to the Olympic team in 2015. 

He is also part of the team yearning to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Sergeant Harun Lagat was born in 1983 and studied at St. Peter’s Boys’ High School in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet county.

At the start of high school in Kenya, Lagat was identified as a standout runner and eventually joined a school known for producing high-class distance athletes.

He was voted to the youth national trials championship, and earned an athletic scholarship to Texas Tech University. 

His professional running career, including sponsorships from two professional shoe brands, has brought him a string of accomplishments in the 10,000 Kilometres distance race, steeplechase, and half-marathon events where he continues his progress while still serving in the US Army.

The four athletes are part of a bigger team considered to be the best athletes in the United States who continue to serve the country with an aim to earn more titles.

The four followed in the footsteps of Bernard Lagat who was born and raised in Kenya but later moved to the US after making several appearances for Kenya in the Olympics.

After moving to the US in 1996, Lagat embarked on a journey that would lead him to join the U.S. Olympic teams in 2008, 2012 and 2016 after he represented Kenya in 2000 and 2004.

Lagat went on to earn eight combined Olympic and world championships medals between the 1500m and 5000m. He qualified for his last Olympics on the track in 2016, going from sixth place at the bell to win the trials 5000m.

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