A woman of unwavering strength, conviction, grace and compassion, Tegla is a leader and role model to this generation on and off the track. She had very little in the way of opportunity provided to her as a child in Kenya, yet she realized school would be her best path, even though it required a daily 10K run to get there. She pursued her dreams against the odds, against her culture, even against her father’s wishes….. and persistence led her to winning the 1994 New York marathon, the first African woman to do so. Her fame and winning record continued to rise, but she never forgot her home and has been able to give back to the advancement of women, education for children and efforts for peace among warring tribes in Kenya through her foundation: Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation. (est. 2003)
In 2006, at age 33, she founded the Tegla Loroupe Peace Race and was named the United Nations Ambassador of Sport. She has joined other athletes as a member of the Champions for Peace. She leads through example and lends positivity to others where she had almost none. Her own words read like a tag line: “In a country where only men are encouraged, one must be one’s own inspiration.”
As we near the end of Women’s History Month, let’s drop at least one excuse holding us back and pick up at least one perfectly good reason to keep pushing towards the goal, in honor of a woman who has no time for giving up: Tegla Laroupe.