Last Saturday, Leonard Korir put a new twist on “doubling” and Abdi Abdirahman just went about being Abdi.
Korir, the two-time NCAA Champion at Iona College, lined up in Central Park at 8 a.m. to compete in the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K. After finishing second in his professional debut—and earning $12,500 for his efforts—the 25-year-old Kenyan posed for photos with his family, met with the media, and then raced back to his hotel to shower, change, and head to his 11 a.m. college graduation ceremony at the Jacob Javits Center to receive his degree in political science.
As it turns out, the hectic morning wasn’t a scheduling nuisance, but a blessing: Korir very much wanted his father, who had traveled from Kenya to attend graduation, to see his first race as a professional.
Reporter Gina Pernicano of the Westchester Journal News documented the morning.
Meanwhile, Scott Cacciola of The Wall Street Journal profiled the fun-loving Abdirahman, whose balanced approach to life has landed him on four U.S. Olympic teams. Abdirahman, 35, finished fifth in the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K, highest of the three 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon team members reunited for the race.
“He's the polar opposite of any other runners I've ever known,” said Shelley Duncan, a Cleveland Indians outfielder and close friend of Abdirahman’s from their days at the University of Arizona, in the article. “He’s just a guy who loves life.”
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg