Kenyan-born runner looking for third Olympic games for Bosnia
MRAKOVICA (BOSNIE-HERZéGOVINE) – She began running around the plains of her native Kenya now trains in dark Balkan forests. Now marathoner Lucia Kimani is placed to get Bosnia’s first athlete to compete in three Olympics.
Kenya-born Bosnian marathon runner Lucia Kimani (R) high-fives a Bosnian boy following a race along with other people from the Bosnian Olympic team, during “Olympic Day”, in Sarajevo, on May 27, 2016
Her unusual journey is propelled with a love story, which started in 2004. Kimani, then 23, was a mystery runner among numerous Kenyans getting involved in the Salzburg marathon.
The amateur footballer and hair and sweetness student had completed her first marathon last year, “just for funInch, around the advice of the cousin. Certainly one of eight children inside a poor family, she finished seventh for the reason that debut race and won a money prize.
“Which was really motivating, so… I began training,” she informs AFP.
Also around the track in Salzburg was Sinisa Marcetic, a 19-year-old Bosnian Serb, who was simply running for any decade around the steep pine-forested slopes of Mrakovica mountain, which dominates his small town of Prijedor.
Marcetic had caught the important bug following a school race by which he finished 4th. He made the decision he no more desired to finish with no medal — and that he dreamed eventually of coaching with Kenya’s world-dominating runners.
He met several them in Salzburg, after which came a deal to coach together early the following day.
“There is an organization outdoors your accommodation, and that i saw Lucia the very first time. I fell for each other,Inch states Marcetic.
In 2005, with no word of Serbian in her own luggage, Kimani showed up in Prijedor to marry the person she now describes as her “husband and coach”.
‘They will always be at war’
She states buddies and family in Kenya were “type of scared” by her decision, because they understood Bosnia only from the bitter inter-ethnic war in early 1990s.
“These were like, Lucie, you’ve got to be crazy, how will you visit that place? They’re always fighting, killing one another.”
Now in Bosnia, she faces the curiosity of kids who ask her why she wears “lots of constituteInch, in mention of the her dark skin.
Kimani finds such comments entertaining, but adults could be less innocent, sometimes calling her racist names. Nonetheless she states she now feels moved in Bosnia.
“I had been lucky because Sinisa’s family really recognized me well, I’ve got a lovely mother-in-law… and with the aid of the remainder of family I suppose it wasn’t hard that i can get adapted.”
She’s flourished particularly around the tracks, winning four national records in the 10,000 metres towards the marathon.
In the Beijing Games she finished 42nd within the marathon in 2 hrs 35 minutes working in london, she dropped from the race.
Despite a disruption brought on by pregnancy and also the birth of her daughter Victoria 2 . 5 years back, Kimani has transpired the brink with this year’s games in Rio de Janeiro.
When she runs for Bosnia, “Personally i think like I run in my country,” she states.
Money can’t be her driving pressure to operate within the former Yugoslav republic, certainly one of Europe’s poorest nations, where athletics is really a minority sport.
To create a living, “I have to run considerably faster,Inch Kimani states. Just buying two pairs of running footwear every two several weeks is really a sacrifice.
– Running school –
Kimani’s interval training workouts sessions frequently occur on old and uneven steps with the pines to the top level of Mrakovica, the website of the huge concrete monument to some fight between Tito’s Partisan resistance movement and also the Nazis.
It’s an austere setting, frequently hidden by mist, where she’s sometimes supported by youthful athletes of the Lucia Kimani Running School that they cofounded with Marcetic.
They take proper care of 40 children from Bosnia’s various ethnicities — a mixture of Croats, Serbs and Muslims.
“Despite the little money we have, using the small infrastructure we have, you’ll still could work hard making something,” states Kimani.
She’s obtaining the neighborhood language, although she still struggles using the difficult declensions, and she or he now views herself fully Bosnian.
Whatever others think, “I understand personally,Inch she insists.
Her husband listens quietly. She’s taken him several occasions to her Kenyan hometown of Kiserian, near Nairobi.
“There everybody runs,” Marcetic states, searching at his wife. “It is extremely beautiful.”