Posted 11th December 2013

Who is Tegla Loroupe?

The world through her eyes...

When you see Tegla Loroupe you find it hard to believe that she is able to outrun her brothers. This petite Kenyan woman is not only a very fast athlete, but also an influential one- both in sports and in spreading the message of peace. Who had ever thought that the infamous Tegla Loroupe from Kenya would become the UN Ambassador of Peace and make a difference to so many people in her country? Probably not even Tegla herself knew...

Growing up in the highland hills of the Rift Valley in Pokot County in Kenya near the northern borders of Uganda and Ethiopia, Tegla is used to living among rolling hills that descend to arid deserts. As part of a community of nomadic pastoralists, they farm in the hills and for centuries they have traveled with their herds of cattle, goats and camels to find water and grass, ranging across northern Kenya into Uganda. The district is marginalized and poor. In terms of development, poverty and illiteracy levels among the community members are estimated to be around 80% of the total population. Tegla grew up with 24 siblings and supported her family as much as she could:

"As a child, my duties were to find wood for fires and water for cooking, and I would spend the day carrying water up from the streams that flowed in the valley below our home. We lived in simple huts built from sticks, and tended our cattle and goats. I took care of the younger children and helped my elder sisters, so we were very close. I loved to play with my brothers, but as I was the smallest I learned to be quick and careful."

Not just her speed but also her endurance and athletic requirements falls back to her childhood:

"In primary school, I found that I could outrun many of the boys I played with. I had to travel almost ten kilometers to school and back every day, and I would run most of the way."

That's where she started to develop her running talent. During her school year, Tegla began to compete for her school with other schools, then in district competitions and finally in national competitions. Tegla was supported by her school, but she always wanted to focus on academic work and not just competition.

“In Kenya, running is highly valued and I had to constantly struggle to maintain balance. Finally, my running brought me into contact with the world outside my community and I realized how much we had to do to make a better world for ourselves. Later, as I began to see communities like ours in Darfur, in Mumbai, in Brazil, I realized how important it is for us all to dedicate a part of ourselves to helping others become all they can be."

With this in mind, Tegla finally founded the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation in 2003 and since then started many different projects to bring peace to Kenya:

"We fight for basic human rights. We fight for a girl’s right to an education, to a girl’s right to decide when she marries, for a girl’s right to refuse Female Genital Mutilation, for a child’s right to grow up free from hunger, thirst and poverty. These are things worth fighting for everywhere in the world and perhaps our fight, in our small area, may give courage and inspiration to someone somewhere else in the world."

By now Tegla has already achieved a lot: she founded the Tegla Peace Academy for indigent children, organizes Peace Races to bring together warriors from different tribes in a peaceful environment regularly and became the UN ambassador of peace and sports. When asking her, if her being a top athlete account for her success, she would simply answer:

"It is more than success in competing. Many people can win races. It is drawing on the character developed by competing in sport—persistence through failure, overcoming pain, taking the long view, powerful hope, independence, being truthful with yourself—those character traits developed through sport are what helped me in my work for peace."

On is very proud to have such an amazing personality and worldwide On ambassador as Tegla and to be a long lasting supporter to her foundation. This cooperation is based on a genuine comprehension for each other and of course a lot of trust and firm conviction about each other’s projects:

"I could not have a higher opinion of the dedication of the On company to the highest quality, to constant improvement based on what runners need and want and to the improvement of the sport. I have the privilege of bringing the world’s most advanced technology in running shoe design and construction to places where many can only dream of running with shoes."

                Thank you, Tegla for all your hard work 
                  and dedication and for your trust!

Buy your new pair of Ons here and support Tegla Loroupe. With every bought shoe, On sends another pair to Kenya.


Cargocare LR      kn_both_ger_pc 250 width





Related to this article


The On Cloudster competitive running shoe with its patented CloudTec® system.

Discover the Cloudster