A Kenyan serving in the US Army, Staff Sgt Leonard Korir, has made history after breaking a 38-year-old record at the 2022 Bolder Boulder 10K race.
Korir outsmarted over 50,000 competitors during the Bolder race which was held on Memorial Day by clocking 29:28 minutes, leading by over 8 secs for second placed Joseph Panga who finished in 29:36.
Herb Lindsay held the record for 38 years after clocking 29.09 minutes in 1984.
“This is ridiculous. I have come to many races. You don’t get this atmosphere of winning and people cheering you on, it feels like a football game. This year, I wanted to win this race because I am a member of the US Army,” Korir told Davids Hub after being crowned.
During the race, Korir maintained the lead in a group of four that included fellow American Kared Ward, and a Tanzanian duo of Joseph Panga and Fabiano Nelson Sulle.
File photo of Leonard Korir during a race in the US
Before getting into the history books, Korir had participated in a number of track events and represented the US in the Rio Olympics.
According to Army Cap, Korir’s journey to breaking the 38-year-record started in 2008 while still in high school in Kenya. He found inspiration in world-renowned Kenyan runners like Paul Tergat.
“I liked their work ethic and how they trained hard every day,” Army Cap quoted him as saying.
Korir attended Tambach Teachers Training College. Strong performances by the Iten-based athlete led him to a meeting with Irish coach, Colm O’Connell, who advised him to seek a scholarship in the US. Luckily, he landed one at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.
After arriving in America, he continued with his athletics career at Iona where he won the national championships in the 5,000 meters and an outdoor title in the 10,000 meters.
His impressive career in athletics earned him US citizenship. He was then enlisted in the US Army in September 2015.
“Korir didn’t rest after graduating basic training. He instead launched into a grueling training schedule to prepare for the Olympics – and made the Olympic team. Since then, the Olympian has continued to see his personal bests get better and better,” Army Cap described him.
In the US Army, Korir is listed as Motor Transport Operator. He has since gained promotion and is now among the few Kenyans being celebrated by the US.
File photo of Staff Sgt Leonard Korir serving in the US Army