« There are no limits in sport… It connects people all the world over independently from race, religion, ethnic group or gender. Experiencing the power of sport in building peace cannot be described. »
A native of the West-African mountainous area of Pokot, Tegla Loroupe is a former athlete who was considered as the fastest woman in the world in long distances in the late 1990s. Born in May 1973 in a family of 24 brothers and sisters, Tegla would everyday run 18 km to get to school on naked feet. Aged 13, she was selected in the Kenyan national team of athletics, the beginning of a fabulous career. A marathon specialist, she is still the holder of several world records, medals and rewards.
She was the first African woman to win the prestigious New York marathon, a contest she has won twice. The world champion still holds world records on 20, 25 and 30 kilometres. She is a three-time world champion of half-marathon. After running on the field tracks of such big cities as London, Boston, Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Berlin, and Rome, among others, she has become an icon in the world of athletics and thus arouses respect and admiration. Her personal experience has turned her into a model for women and girls.
In 2003, the champion started the « Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation » and put her notoriety in the service of Peace and Africa. The mission of the foundation is to create peaceful coexistence between the warring communities in the North of Kenya, the South of Sudan, the North-East of Uganda, Ethiopia and some other areas of tensions on the African continent. She has succeeded in gathering the warring tribesmen through various initiatives such as the « Tegla Loroupe Peace Race », (a 10-km race for peace), or the rehabilitation programme for reformed warriors. The 2006 edition of the race included 2,000 warriors from six different tribes. The main motivation of the race was to make of sport a factor that unifies and contributes to greater harmony.
To popularise her actions and garner more impact on her environment, she has been relying on education in her Centre for Education and Peace in favour of orphans and vulnerable girls. She has also been involved in the cause of refugees. She has hosted over two dozen athlete refugees in her training centre as well as prepared the international competitions.
Tegla Loroupe is a member of the Club of Peace Champions, a 100-strong collective of high level athletes set up by Peace and Sport, an international organisation in Monaco aiming at building lasting peace thanks to sport. After Rio 2016, she was again appointed «Head of Mission» of the Refugee Team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (put off till 2021).