Post Chicago Marathon Interview with Wesley Korir: Fueled by Faith

Runners Feed had the opportunity to chat with runner up of the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Wesley Korir, and his very talented wife Tarah Korir (McKay).  Wesley shares how his relationship with the man upstairs fuels his training and discusses how you can help him and Tarah in their mission to eradicate poverty in Kenyan through education and health care.

RF:  Upon returning home on Monday from your spectacular performance in Chicago we noticed the first person you thanked via your facebook status was Jesus Christ. Describe how your faith and your relationship with Jesus Christ is a part of your daily training. 

WK:  Faith is a very important part of my life because it is the main reason I do what I do. I believe that God created me for a reason and I have realized that reason is running and I am going to use it to praise him all the time. When I go out running every day, my faith plays a key role because I know I am doing something that God wants me to do and I work so hard to get an opportunity to praise him. I know when I do well God is happy with me and the angels in heaven celebrate my success but I also know that sometimes God doesn’t want me to win but it is my faith that gets me back to running after days like that because I know that what happens out there is God’s will. I train hard and just leave the reason to the will of God.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

RF:  Did you find yourself praying during the race?

WK:  I pray a lot and in Chicago it was even more fun because I was running with my brother Ryan Hall and man the first half of Chicago marathon was the best part of my marathon career ever. Ryan and I were singing and praising God and we were praying and that made those first miles go away so fast. So I kept going in front and coming back to be with Ryan at the back of the lead group. Every time I came back to Ryan we were singing, praying, and talking and were just running with a lot of joy and that definitely set me up well for later in the race.


RF:  You recently posted a famous quote “Never let the fear of striking out keep you out of the game…”. Did this have anything to do with the aggressive move you made around 30k. What was your objective with that move?

WK:  The night before the race I was watching a movie where that quote came up and I felt like it was an answer to a question I was wondering about. Should I go with lead group or go out slow and try to catch up later? I knew I was ready and it was just a matter of being in the right position. So when I heard that quote from the movie I was like you know what if I have to beat the best I have to risk running with them all the way. I don’t know what I was thinking at the moment I made the move but I had decided from the beginning that I was going to make the move if I was with the leaders during that time. The past few years I was dropped as soon as the last pace maker dropped so I knew someone was going to make a move when the pacer drops and I wanted that to be me. I didn’t want to be the one who was dropped because it is way too hard to come back. I knew the pacer was getting ready to drop and so I decided to make the move and put myself in a position for a podium finish.


RF:  How has running allowed you to be an ambassador of your faith?

WK:  I know for sure that running is not my destiny in this world, but it is just a stepping stone to the wonderful plan God has for my future life and I use every opportunity I get to show people that my running is a God given talent. I will always share my faith with anyone wherever I go. Sharing my faith drives me to want to succeed so that people can see how good and powerful God is.


The cardboard sign reads "Thanks, GO CARDS"--referring to the Louisville Cardinals, Wesley and Tarah's Alma Mater

RF:  In the past we have covered your involvement as Founder of the The Kenyan Kids Foundation. How is that initiative coming along? How can our readers further support this organization?  (see previous article)

WK:  The foundation is doing great. Some of my winnings from Chicago are going to the foundation so that will help a lot and we are still pushing towards sponsoring 20 children to go to high school starting next year and we are still looking for sponsors. The first donation to the hospital was made by the Hall Steps Foundation of $ 13,100 and that should finish or get the building close to completion. I would like to thank all who donated towards that project and now our next goal is to get it equipped and running. God is moving through everyone’s effort and the little each and every person can give will help to eradicate poverty through empowerment and affordable health care to all.  Donate now online or send check to appropriate address at the bottom of this article.


RF Chats Briefly with Tarah Korir (McKay)

RF:  What does Wesley’s performance mean to you and your family?

TK: I was so proud of Wesley’s accomplishments in the Chicago Marathon. He ran a personal best of over 2 minutes and finished his highest position ever at the Chicago Marathon. He was in really good shape going into the marathon but God was the only one who knew what was possible on race day. Wesley’s success in the marathon is very inspiring but it is his desire to help and inspire others that I admire most.

RF:  When will you be racing next?

TK:  I took a bit of time off while Wesley ran the marathon and have been really busy with school lately. I am starting to get back into training again and am looking forward to going to Kenya for some of the winter to train. I don’t have any race plans for the near future but want to run indoor and outdoor track next year.

Tarah Korir (middle) finished 2nd at the Rock the Road 10K in London, Ontario this summer

About the Kenyan Kids Foundation

The KKF is focused on financing students high school education, completing a mission hospital in Wesley’s childhood village and one day hopes to help villagers become more self-sufficient through helping finance the ability for them to grow their own crops.

The cost of sponsoring a child’s high school education is about $350.00 per year for four years.  All levels of donations are welcome and can be made online, or by mailing a check to the appropriate address below:


In the USA please mail checks to:

Kenyan Kids Foundation
9812 Shelbyville Road, Suite 1,

Louisville, KY, 40223

In CANADA please mail checks to:

Kenyan Kids Foundation
66 Willow WayRR1
St. Clements, ON
N0B 2M0


About the Author:  Brandon Laan is a runner, coach, and entrepreneur.  He spent his undergraduate days at The University of Western Ontario where he captained the Cross Country Team before fleeing to Hawaii Pacific University for graduate school. He is a Level II Certified USATF coach and holds personal bests of 1:06 and 2:21 in the Half Marathon and Marathon respectively. He also enjoys running to eat, not eating to run…and always will.