Tegla Chepkite Loroupe (born 9 May 1973) is a Kenyan long-distance track and road runner.She was the first African woman to win the New York City Marathon and has held many world records – from 20km to the marathon.She has won marathons in London, Boston,Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Berlin, Rome, and many of other cities. She now devotes much of her time to humanitarian and peace activities, through her Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation.
At the age of seven she started to go to school – which involved a barefoot run of ten kilometres every morning. It was at school that her first talent for running was spotted. These early races were normally held over a distance of 800 or 1500 metres. However, with the exception of her mother and older sister, she received little support for her dream to become a runner. At one point, her father banned her from running saying it was not ladylike. Loroupe was expected to concentrate on more utilitarian tasks such as looking after siblings. Loroupe became dismayed at the obstacles placed in front of her. At one point, she even considered becoming a nun.
In 1994 Loroupe ran her first major marathon in New York and won. Running against the world’s strongest competition, she won. As a consequence she became an important sporting role model. Kenya at last had a female runner to rank alongside its talented male athletes. After this initial success, Tegla Loroupe went on to win many major marathons around the world.
Between 1997 and 1999, she won three world titles a row over the half marathon distance. She won Rotterdam Marathon three times between 1997 and 1999. She won Berlin Marathon in 1999 and finished second in 2001. She finished second at the 1999 Osaka International Ladies Marathon.
During the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Loroupe was tipped to be a hot favourite. However, on the eve of the race, she suffered from food poisoning. Despite being weakened by the illness, she managed to complete both the marathon in 13th place and the 10,000m in fifth place. Loroupe late stated that she started the marathon out of a sense of duty to all the people looking up to her as a role model in Kenya.
In 2000 she won London Marathon and Rome City Marathon. She also won Lausanne Marathon in 2002, Cologne Marathon in 2003 and Leipzig Marathon in 2004.
In 2003, Loroupe found the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation and has been an active advocate for peace. She has been successful in bringing members of warring tribes together. In 2006, she founded the 10km Peace Race, which included 2,000 warriors from six different tribes. Loroupe said the motivation for the race was to use her fame to help bring about greater harmony.
In 2006, she was named a 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 2007, she was named the Oxfam Ambassador of Sport and Peace to Darfur.She won the “Community Hero” category at the 2007 Kenyan Sports Personality of the Year awards.
Tegla Loroupe Achivements
2002 : Lausanne marathon – 1st
2000: Kenyan National Championships, 10,000 meters, 1st
2000: London Marathon, 1st
1999 : Half-Marathon World Championships, 1st
1999 : Berlin Marathon, 1st
1999: World Championships, 10,000 meters, 3rd
1998: New York City, 3rd
1998: Half-Marathon World Championships, 1st
1998 : Rotterdam Marathon, 1st
1998 : Goodwill Games, 10,000 meters, 1st
1997 : New York City Marathon, 7th
1997 : Half-Marathon World Championships, 1st
1997 : Rotterdam Marathon, 1st
1996: New York City Marathon, 7th
1996 : Boston Marathon, 2nd
1996 : Olympic Games, 10,000 meters, 6th
1995 : World Championships, 10,000 meters, 3rd
1995: New York City Marathon, 1st
1995 : Boston Marathon, 9th
1994 : New York City Marathon, 1st
1993 : World Championships, 10,000 meters, 4th
Tegla Loroupe is today a member of the ‘Champions for Peace’ club, a group of 54 famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.Continuing to make her home in Detmold, Germany, where she trains, Loroupe returns often to Kenya, visiting family and friends in her village and spending time with young people interested in running.However, much of her new-found wealth has found its way back to the region were she first trained, taking the form of boarding school tuition, medical care and supplies, food, and clothing for friends, neighbors, family, and others living there who are in need.