LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Wesley Korir, a former University of Louisville cross-country All-American and last year's Boston Marathon winner, is being reported as the winner of a seat in parliament in his native Kenya.
Korir was elected to an independent seat by the Cherangany Constituency in the Rift Valley, according to BBC Africa and various Kenyan media sources. WDRB hasn't been able to reach Korir, but his Facebook and campaign pages have been filled with congratulatory messages since Monday night.
It's a new chapter to what already is an amazing life story for the 30-year-old Korir. And it's also a long way from his last election experience in the country, when violence erupted and Korir, after being swept up by a roving tribal gang and witnessing many acts of violence, escaped back to the U.S. through Uganda, with the help of coaches at U of L and church friends at Southeast Christian in Louisville.
Since that time, Korir's passion for running has been equaled only for spreading his message of faith and his zeal for giving back to his home nation. He left his country determined to use his running career to help him help his countrymen.
"My heart breaks for the country, and the Kenya I used to know," Korir told me in a 2011 interview when discussing his humanitarian efforts in the nation.
Despite a busy marathon schedule, but funded largely by the winnings it provided him, Korir and his wife Tarah, a Canadian runner, founded his Kenyan Kids Foundation, which not only has sponsored students in Kenya with tuition and educational support, but has been a powerful fundraising arm for a mission hospital in his hometown of Biribiriet, Kenya, and an educational outlet to teach farming methods in the region.
After winning the Boston Marathon last year, Korir was passed over for Olympic consideration in his home country. But by chance, he heard of a medical trip to Africa by Louisville doctors that had fallen through, and quickly arranged to bring the group to his hometown, where the new hospital was due to open at about the same time. Thousands were treated during the visit, and Korir has since worked to enlist other visiting medical teams to come to the village.
Korir also has worked to help develop an ambulance service and road improvements to and from the hospital, in addition to various other advancements, including water sanitation.
He plans to continue his marathon running, but clearly he's now found success in running of a different kind.
It's not a surprise, either to those of us who have known him or to anyone who has been involved with him in his various ventures.
Competitors in his college called him "the politician" because he always made sure to shake hands with every competitor before every race. Maybe they were on to something.
It's never a surprise when Korir wins another race. But given the field of this particular race, it's no less an amazing accomplishment for a man who seems to make such things commonplace.
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