Justin Lagat wrote this piece for RunBlogRun. I wanted you, dear readers, to see the interest from newly minted U.S. citizens on representing their new country. My mind is not made up over this, but I believe we have to look at all athletes, as I do, as humans with their own personal story.
“I want to represent my new country so much because it has done a lot for me. From the free college education through athletics scholarship to being one of the best US road racers today, I sure believe that if I hadn’t come to this country I wouldn’t be the way I am today . In representing the country, it will be a way of giving back and show some kind of appreciation,” said Tuliamuk. “If all goes wel,l I hope to represent the US at the world cross country championships in Kampala early next year. But, my main goal is to do it at the London world championships in either the 5,000m or the 10,000m event and definitely the 2020 Olympics. I thought I had a chance to do so in the 10,000m event for Rio this year, unfortunately race day at the Olympics trials didn’t go as planned”
Tuliamuk is based in Santa Fe Mexico, but is currently in Kenya since November for a short break. She doesn’t plan on doing any races until January next year which is a pity since she would have wished to do a local race in Kenya before going back to the US. Currently, she trains at her former camp of Kapsait Nike athletics situated close to her home in West Pokot.
“I was in Kapsait long time ago, so I thought of coming back to train a little here during my holiday in Kenya. This is where my talent was discovered and nurtured when I trained from 2002-2005 and got named in Kenya’s junior team to the world cross country championships,” she said.
However, when she joined high school in Kenya her training went down as she focused on her education and it was not until she graduated from high school that she began training again and applying for athletics scholarship in the US. She was lucky to get the opportunity and she has used it well to change her life.
During her college education in both Iowa state and Wichita state universities in the US, she managed to earn 14 All-American titles, which has greatly impacted her running career.
“I was consistent with my training, and listened to what my coaches had to say and I just kept getting better and better every year, winning up to five all- American titles in a single year i.e one for cross country, four for both indoor and outdoor seasons”, said Tuliamuk.
She turned into a professional athlete in August 2013 and continued developing her status in running. 2016 has been her best year so far, and this came for her at a time when she just became a US citizen in April. She won three American national road championships, won the overall road race circuit title and got named the long distance runner of the year. “It has been a great year for sure,” added Tuliamuk.
Next year, her first major race will be the National cross country championships on Feb 4th, where she hopes to make the team to the world cross country championships in Kampala. Later on, in the outdoor season, she will be aiming to make the national team in either the 5,000m or the 10,000m events. She will also be doing some races in the road racing circuit that has distances from 5km up to marathon, but she is yet to decide the distances she will be doing. Another long term plan for her is to run well in marathons and she might consider doing one in Fall of 2017, though not sure yet.
She has a great training group that includes the 2015 Boston Marathon winner, Caroline Rotich, in addition to the great landscapes, the beautiful dirt trails and high altitudes of New Mexico all offers conducive training climate; So she sees no need of coming to train in Kenya any time soon since she doesn’t want to interfere with her racing schedule in the US.