Benson Kipruto Looks For Another Boston Marathon

MOSORIOT, Kenya – Feet hit lightly on an empty road after sunrise on Sunday, 15 days from the 126th Boston Marathon. Benson Kipruto, a Kenyan athlete, is running for miles in the small town of Mosoriot, just across the blue rusty border of Nandi County known as the Source of Champions.

Her mouth trembles slightly and sweat trickles down her sharp cheeks, the salty remnants of her efforts. A 5-foot-7, 125-pound long-distance runner is silent as he looks 18 miles ahead, chasing the vision. On Monday, Kipruto will try to do something extraordinary – to win his second consecutive Boston Marathon title in what is considered to be the fastest run in the history of the race. Only 10 men have won Boston in a row, and there has been no repeat winner since Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya in 2008.

Kipruto, 31, will stand next to Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, two New York City Marathon champion, Ethiopian Birhanu Legese, third-longest running sprinter and two-time Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa, also from Ethiopia. .

No one is more surprised than Cyprus.

In the October 2021 race, Kipruto outscored those who led the 23 miles and ran without a competitor, crossing the finish line 46 seconds ahead of Lemi Berhanu of Ethiopia to win the race.

“Maybe this could be my day,” Kipruto recalled thinking. He just hopes to do better than his 10th Boston finish for the first time in a team in 2019. Maybe he could find himself on the podium, he thought. To win was a sudden change for the athlete who once did not believe he could do his job.

As a member of the Nandi, Kalenjin sub-group, Kipruto did not rely on pre-emptive myths, such as Ibrahim Hussein, Kenya’s first Boston Marathon winner in 1988 and twice in 1991 and 1992. Eliud Kipchoge, a historic figure Worldwide and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, also from Nandi.

Kipruto grew up in Tolilet, a remote village on the North Rift in Kenya, where he usually subsisted on a small farm to grow corn and beans for his family to eat and sell. Kipruto was one year old when his father died. At times, his mother struggled to support Kipruto and his four siblings.

Sometimes Kipruto went to school for half a week because that was all his mother could afford. Once present, the 8-year-old walked 10 miles a day, encouraged by a gourmet dinner, a mixture of corn and beans. In the evenings he worked on the farm with his brothers and sisters, carrying two 10-gallon[10 L]water jugs from a river a mile[1 km]away to be boiled for drinking and cooking.

When Kipruto was 16, his science teacher, who was a gym instructor, encouraged him to try running across the country. Kipruto joined the team, and proved himself to be a good – but not overly competitive – athlete.

Kipruto wanted a career in sports journalism, not athletic competition, but could not continue his education. So he worked on a farm and set up a sugar mill, fresh milk, soap, and vegetables. For several months Kipruto earned 5,000 shillings a month (equivalent to $ 43), which prevented him from getting his basic necessities. The winning months earned Kipruto $ 80.

And he kept running.

For two years, he rarely missed a run of 6 am, up to 15 miles, before working 12 hours a day in Koiban, his hometown in Nandi County. He always ran alone, doing so for fun. If he had the money, Kipruto was able to buy used shoes for $ 4 and train for several months.

It was not until his longtime friend who became an athlete invited him 12 miles[12 km]away that Kipruto began to think about the future of the game. He was able to keep up with the group, and a friend pressured him to consider moving to Kapsabet, the world’s highest educational institution, in search of a teacher. Kipruto returned to his kiosk and sat alone wondering, “Can I?”

“Yes. It’s a competition, “said Kipruto.” But I know that whatever comes up is not easy. “

He was inspired by the success of one of his brothers who exercised. After seeing his brother, Dickson Chumba, win the Tokyo Marathon twice and Chicago once, Kipruto decided to make his own.

He left the kiosk and moved to Kapsabet, the capital of Nandi County, in 2015. A few months later, he joined the 2 Running Club, a group founded by Italian coach Claudio Berardelli. She became a sprinter in 2016, completing the Athens Marathon, her first long distance race, in second place. Kipruto has won three of the nine marathon runners, including Prague in 2021 and Toronto in 2018, where he recorded his two-hour and five-minute record.

“He puts a little risk,” Berardelli said. “A few years ago, I always worried about how careful she was. Doing the minimum required to achieve it. You do not know much about yourself if you do not take a risk.

And he gained a lot when he ran away victorious in the 2021 Boston Marathon, which led him to return to his homeland in ways he never imagined.

“The better we do it, the more we bring it back to those who are in need. That is where we came from, ”Kipruto said. She hopes to be an example to others; supports school fees for three students in her village and usually donates to her church.

Others are following in our footsteps. He sees how we do, ”he said.

In the end, this is what puts Kipruto at risk – building a better future, not only for his family but for those who live the life they once had. “It will come,” he often said to himself long before sunrise.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said, of the upcoming Boston Marathon. But I am well prepared, in my legs and in my mind.

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