Wesley Korir: Running for God and Kenya


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AWesley_Korir_of_Kenya_-_LA_Marathon_Winner_2009.jpg
Michael Dorausch, via Wikipedia

From maintenance man, to marathon runner, to politician: Spotlight looks at the life of Wesley Korir.

Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Liz Waid

Voice 2

And I'm Robin Basselin. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

In 2010, Wesley Korir worked as a maintenance man. One day, he fixed a woman’s light. She talked to him while he worked. She told him that she had watched the Chicago Marathon. This race is 26 miles long. The woman described one surprising runner. He began near the back of the group of runners. No one knew who he was. But he began to run past all the other runners. He finished in fourth place. The woman thought this fast runner was amazing. Wesley Korir began to laugh. He finished his work fixing the light. Then he told the woman why he was laughing. “That was me!” he said. The woman was shocked!

Voice 2 

Since then Korir has won many running races. But he is not just a runner. He is also working to improve his country. Today’s Spotlight is on Wesley Korir, Kenyan marathon runner and politician.

Voice 1 

Wesley Korir grew up in Kitale, in Western Kenya. Like many people in the area, Korir’s family was very poor. They lived far from the nearest town. It took a long time to walk anywhere. So Korir would run to get there faster. He ran three miles to the store to buy things for his mother. Every day, he ran five miles to school in the morning, and five miles back in the afternoon. And he also ran home for lunch and back to school again!

Voice 2 

Friends and teachers began to notice Korir’s running abilities. In Kitale, there were not many opportunities for Korir. So his teachers encouraged him to train in the United States. This was not an easy process. Korir had to do a lot of difficult paperwork. He also had to find money. But he did not give up. He told Sports Illustrated magazine:

Voice 3 

"I feel like God has given me this talent for a reason. Money would not have gotten me to America. Money would not have got me where I am, not riches; just God."

Voice 1 

Korir had faith that he would find a way to train in the United States. And he finally arrived at the University of Louisville. There, he earned a degree in biology. He also became a top runner. He broke many speed records. Korir entered larger races such as the Chicago Marathon. People began to notice him. He then went on to win the Los Angeles Marathon in 2009 and 2010. When he was not training, he worked as a maintenance man to make money. In 2011 he won the one of the most famous road races in the world - the Boston Marathon. Korir worked hard to be a good runner. But this was not Korir’s main interest. He told Runner’s World:

Voice 3 

"Running is just a stepping stone of what God has prepared for me. God has put something so amazing for me out there. This running, it is not the end of what I want to do. God has put a desire in my heart to help the poor people of Kenya."

Voice 2 

Wesley Korir never forgot about his home country of Kenya. In 2007 he was in Kenya to visit his family. At this time, there was a violent conflict between different tribal groups. This conflict caused a lot of harm to people and property in Western Kenya. Korir even saw a crowd kill three of his friends. Korir decided that he needed to do more for the people of Kenya. He said:

Voice 3 

"I want to share my life experience of how I moved from poverty to prosperity. I want to use the same method of education and skill, empowerment and talent development, to make people use what God has given them to better themselves."

Voice 1 

In 2010 Korir and his wife Tarah began the Kenyan Kids Foundation. When Wesley Korir was a boy, a family friend helped him pay for high school. Korir began the Kenyan Kids Foundation to share this opportunity with other children. This organization helps children who cannot pay for school. Timothy Kibungei works with the Kenyan Kids Foundation. He is also a high school student. Kibungei talked to the website The Voicebox Media. He told how Korir has encouraged him:

Voice 4 

“I want to follow the way Wesley has done. I want to help people. Even now I do not want anybody to pay me. It is God who gives me a good mind, the knowledge to study and learn.”

Voice 2 

Korir also knows that his hometown of Kitale needs health care. When he was a boy, his younger brother was bitten by a poisonous snake. Korir’s family had to carry him 20 miles to the nearest hospital. His younger brother died of the snake bite before he could get treatment. This experience pushed Korir to help improve health care in his home area. With other supporters, he built a new hospital and brought better doctors to Kitale.

Voice 1 

Then Korir decided that there was another way to help more people. He wanted to make sure the government of Kenya was providing for all its citizens. So in March 2013 Korir ran for a seat as a member of parliament. Wesley Korir became the first independent candidate ever to win a seat in the Kenyan Parliament.

Voice 2 

When Korir began his work in government, he wanted to immediately make a lot of changes. He soon discovered that what he had learned about running was also true about politics. It was not a short distance run at a fast speed. It was more like the marathons he ran. He needed to stay strong for a longer distance. Korir says these lessons help him in his work for the Kenyan government:

Voice 3 

“Now I understand it will take years and years and years of hard work and patience and focus and determination to be able to change things.”

Voice 1 

Korir still trains as a runner. He hopes to represent Kenya in the next Olympics. Working in the parliament and training for running is a lot of work. But Korir does not give up. He says:

Voice 3 

"I always tell people aim for the moon. If you miss it, you land at the stars."

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Rena Dam. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Wesley Korir: Running for God and Kenya’.

Voice 1 

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you like running for exercise? Would you ever want to run a marathon?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
dunguyenduy
said on August 06, 2014

He was amazing with his jobs. I admired his energy.

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roland
said on August 06, 2014

nice story

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Mykola
said on August 07, 2014

Hi there!
We need such people like Korir in our country.
In this hard time we need them a lot :)
The war is going it takes away from us everything, today becomes a past in a moment.
Russian aggression spreads around on our land.

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kenhieuloilam
said on August 07, 2014

In the life we live our lives. We live our faith lives. We look for beautiful good things in our lives. We look for beautiful good things in our faith lives. Money leaves us. Glory may leave us. We do beautiful good things in our lives. We do beautiful good things in our faith lives. We exist in advantage. We exist in difficulty. Beautiful good things exist. Our beautiful good lives exist.

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Mss Flamboyant
said on August 07, 2014

He is so energetic and generous. We can change our fate if we try our best to live better.

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QuangTrang
said on August 07, 2014

I think because of God and his country, Korir can do many things well, so that he was voted to government, this position he can do bigger things for his country. I think everyone always works because of God will be a good person. I pray for Vietnam have a lot of man as Korir. Oh God, recieve my prayer, thanks God.

natasoul's avatar
natasoul
said on September 03, 2014

Korir is very kind and good persone who live not only for yourself but for other people , take care about other. Such kind of person are a little in our world.He never forget about his home, about his family.  i did not see many people who doing the same in our country,so aim for the moon. If you miss it, you land at the stars.”

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Mr.Chaos of troubles
said on January 05, 2016

Korir have a beautiful life, beautiful career. He has been devoting all his life for his country. I hope the world will have more people like him