Tegla Loroupe didn’t win the 10K race at the Dubai Women’s Run on November 8, but that was never her intention.
Lining up for the event—which Hungary’s Szofia Erdelyi won with a time of 33:15—the legendary Kenyan, age 40, was looking beyond the finish line and thinking about far more than individual achievements.
Since retiring from the professional circuit, the three-time half-marathon world champion has embarked on a second career as global peace ambassador, and she’s putting her celebrity behind that noblest of human causes.
“Peace is of paramount importance for this world,” Loroupe told GulfNews.com earlier this week. “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.”
And she’s pursuing that goal with the same tenacity she showed during her pro career. Loroupe arrived in Dubai on Tuesday, just two days after competing in a road race on the Kenyan-Ugandan border, and by Wednesday morning, she’d already hit the streets for a one-hour run.
Loroupe is particularly focused on women’s rights, and while not everyone who competed today in Dubai can realistically hope for her level of greatness—she was, after all, the first African woman to win the New York City Marathon, and she still holds world records at 20K, 25K, and 30K—she sees athletics as a “great leveler,” a step in the right direction.
“The world has become greedy,” she told GulfNews.com. “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.”
“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