Before he embarked on his triumphant run in the TCS World 10K on Sunday, Alex Oloitiptip made a pact with god.
“I said, if I win the first place, I will share 50 percent of it with god. Fifty percent I will keep,” said the ever-smiling 22-year-old.
The deal seemed to have worked well, for Oloitiptip, though not tipped by many, raced away to victory in the men’s elite race, pushing behind a strong challenge from an army of runners from his own country besides a few others.
The course record of 27:51 seconds might have eluded the Kenyan but he showed a keen awareness of the conditions en route to improving his second place from last year’s edition.
“I knew what the conditions would be like, as I had finished second last year. So I worked hard for this win, training with the conditions in mind,” said Oloitiptip. “I had experienced the humidity last year and I had faith that my training would pay off this time. As the race developed, I was waiting for my opponents to react. When they made their move, I knew I had it in me to tackle that threat as I was well-prepared. I was 100 percent certain of winning as I was feeling strong.”
The course wasn’t in the best of conditions but the Kenyan showed the spirit to take it in his stride. “There can be obstacles in any race. If there are no obstacles, it wouldn’t be competitive, would it?” asked Oloitiptip, who ran under the surname Korir last year.
The change in name came about thanks to his deep desire to stay close to his roots and to spread awareness about his clan. “Ours is the smallest tribe in Kenya and I want to bring recognition to it. That is why I made the change, adding my tribe’s name to my name,” he said.
Oloitiptip hails from the Trans Mara region, close to the Masai heartland of Masai Mara, and no one in his family is into track and field. “I hope to introduce others into athletics,” said the Airforce man, who was fifth in the Berlin 10K last year and finished second in the Luanda 10K in Angola in December. He has more goals in front but right now, his desire is to use his share of the prize money in the right way.
“I want to use my 50 percent towards constructing a house,” he said.
God will certainly give his nod to that plan.