Louisville resident wins Boston Marathon but runs for a greater cause

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by Associated Press/Bryan Baker

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 16, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 16 at 11:59 PM

Click here to see photos of Korir and Monday's race.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The world learned Kenyan Wesley Korir's name for winning its oldest and most famous race. Korir won the Boston Marathon in 2:12:40, the second slowest winning time in the race due to record high temperatures. The temperature reached 82 degrees during the race, the warmest since 1976.

Korir didn't take the lead until the 25th mile.
 
"To me I think running the Boston Marathon is an Olympic event," Korir said after the victory. "The way we know the history of the Boston Marathon, to me I think it's the Olympics of every marathon. So I don't care what comes up after this - I'm just really, really happy to win Boston."
 
But the running world has known of Korir, who won back-to-back Los Angeles marathons and placed second in the Chicago Marathon last year. And in Louisville, his home since he transferred to the University of Louisville from Murray State in 2005, he's more than made his mark.
 
He set four school records, two indoor and two outdoor, here and has won various local races, including the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon in 2010.
 
He has many friends here who watched him speed into history.
 
"I was down on my knees in front of the TV just screaming, 'Go Wesley Go!' and we were screaming, and when he crossed the finish line I was just very emotional," his friend Beau Hollis said.
 
Hollis believes Louisville's unseasonably warm weather this winter gave him a leg up on the competition.
 
"So when other people were falling back he was able to make up that time, because he's been used to training in the heat here," Hollis adds.
 
It's a running joke that Kenyans win marathons the most. Wesley's friend describes it this way, "A lot of Kenyans use running as a way out of poverty, not just because they're the best, but because they look at running as a way out of their current situation."
 
And Hollis has joined Wesley in the runner's mission to help that happen. Last year Korir established the Kenyan Kids Foundation. The organization is building a hospital in his Kenyan hometown and has sponsored more than 40 children to get an education. Kenya does not have a public education system.
 
"That's our number one goal is to use the leverage we have of running to get the word out about poor and needy people education, health care, and sustainable farming," Hollis said.
 
Pius Nyantika is running proof. He swept the Louisville Triple Crown of Running this year -- Korir helped him pace during last month's Papa John's 10-miler -- because Wesley convinced him to leave Kenya and train here.
 
"He has made me proud because he's my brother for me bringing me here to America in order to be like him," Nyantika said.
 
Wesley is also close to becoming a U.S. citizen, and his friends say he hopes to run for the U.S. in the Olympics.
 
You can help the Kenyan Kids Foundation by clicking here.





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