Voice of Sport

Lornah and Margaret have each other’s back at Iten and in their causes

On Saturday morning Margaret will launch Lornah’s brand new clothing line -- ‘Lornah’ with the theme ‘Feel African Running’ -- and on March 8 Lornah will be supporting the First Lady’s Marathon on the Nairobi streets for the Margaret Kenyatta’s ‘Beyond Zero’ Charity

LORNAH Kiplagat and Margaret Kenyatta, currently residents of Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County are best of tiny rural [village] town friends. They run together and support each other.

Lornah, born May 1, 1974 (aged 40) is a world cross country champion, a world half marathon champion and winner of many road and marathon races in the world.

Beaten trail

Margaret, born April 8, 1964 (aged 50) is a mother of three adult children, a late “bloomer” in running which she uses as a cause for renowned charity work.

But on the rough, beaten trail of marathon training, never mind that Margaret is literally a heartbeat away from the most powerful citizen in the country; she is just ordinary; remarkably trying to keep pace with the best. For that she is admired by many Kenyans, including her husband, Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of the country.

Mothers and children

When Margaret Kenyatta runs the marathon in the streets of Nairobi or London [like she did in the 2014 Virgin London Marathon], admirers give her money so that she can fund her charity programmes including buying ambulances for rural Kenya folk as well funding health services for mothers having children.

The First Lady’s theme for her charities is “I Run for Mothers and Children”. This week she handed over of the 21st “Beyond Zero” mobile clinic to Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Tartan track

Her next charity run is the First Lady Half Marathon in Nairobi on March 8. She has been training in Iten, Lornah’s neighbourhood where they have become good friends. Regularly, on a typical morning they sometimes meet up for a 10 kilometre run that ends up with stretching exercises on the modern tartan running track of Lornah Sports Academy.

Local Governor [of Elgeyo Marakwet] Alex Tolgos, recently also made Margaret part of the local community, granting her the freedom of the county and handing her “key” to the “County of Champions”.

Clothing line

Many from the County will perhaps be in Nairobi for the First Lady’s Marathon. But for her, first she also has a friend to support. Margaret will be in Nairobi on Saturday morning to launch her friend Lornah’s brand new clothing line — ‘Lornah’ with the theme ‘Feel African Running’.

It will be at Galleria Mall in Karen/Lang’ata where the shop is already attracting massive interest.

High altitude

But as of now, Lornah and Margaret are happy to be “running mates”; just supporting each other around the picturesque Iten, the incredible cradle of a magnificent world running culture.

When she kicked off her training in various places in the North Rift a few weeks ago, one of the highlights of the high altitude programme a run in the Kaptagat Forest area where the resilient First Lady ran for 15 km in a time of one and half hours to boost her stamina as she prepares for the grueling forthcoming 21 km half marathon in Nairobi.

After Kaptagat, the First Lady is expected to continued her training in Iten where last season she also trained alongside world beaters including multi-Elite marathon winner Wilson Kipsang’ and Lornah and Florence Kiplagat.

– Additional reporting by MURIGI MACHARIA