Kenyans run in marathons for survival - statesman.com
Sunday, February 17, 2008
When Wesley Ochoro and his fellow Kenyans take to the city's streets this morning for the AT&T Austin Marathon, they will do more than chase the $15,000 top prize that goes to the winning team in the marathon's international challenge.
In many ways, they represent the hopes and ambitions — and are burdened by the anguished laments — of a nation that's been synonymous with long-distance running since Nafatali Temu's victory in the 10,000 meters at the 1968 Olympics.
They're also keenly interested in remaining alive.
Although Ochoro and Joseph Mutinda live in Phoenix and Santa Fe, N.M., respectively, the two men and female runners Lilian Chelimo and Margaret Chirchir all come from Kenya. As a group, they are prideful, serene, soft-spoken people — typical of those from the East African nation about the size of Texas, whose majestic beauty and long-admired stability have been overshadowed recently by political unrest and unchecked violence between some of the country's 42 ethnic tribes.