Dubai: Three-time world half-marathon champion Tegla Loroupe is a fanatic when it comes to running. She participated in a road race on the border between Kenya and Uganda on Sunday, took the flight out and landed in Dubai on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, she slipped on her shoes and went out for a one-hour jog down Umm Suqueim road.
Loroupe runs for herself and wants to reach out and be heard by the world. It’s a burning desire within, and the diminutive runner from Kenya desperately wants to be heard. “The world has become greedy. There is poverty everywhere. There are some people who have so much and they don’t want to part with any of it for others. I want to be heard. I want to create an atmosphere where people treat others like human beings. We don’t need chemicals. We need peace in this world,” Loroupe told Gulf News in a chat on the sidelines of this weekend’s Dubai Women’s Run to be held at the Meydan Race Course.
Held under the patronage of Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman, UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC), this year’s run on Friday will be held over three separate distances: 10 km, 5 km and 3 km. Loroupe is scheduled to start the 10 km race.
“Peace is of paramount importance for this world. I run every day and, at least once a week, I am attending an event that can help foster peace as this is the only goal before me at the moment,” the 40-year-old said.
As an athlete, there is nothing that was out of reach for Loroupe. She holds the world records for the 20-km, 25-km and 30-km events and previously also held the world marathon record. She broke new ground in 1994 when she became the first woman from Africa to win the New York City Marathon. She went on to win the event again. She has also won marathons in London, Boston, Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Berlin and Rome.
But at the moment it is her role as a global ambassador for peace, women’s rights and education that keeps her occupied all the time. “There is suffering all over the world and it is women who suffer the most. Sport is such a great leveller. For me, getting the world take notice about the misery and suffering of fellow human beings is the greatest challenge,” Loroupe said.
“I want to be heard and I am here to do just this,” she added.