Red Raider Legend Qualifies for 2020 Summer Olympics
Texas Tech track legend Sally Kipyego has qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics that will take place in Tokyo.
Kipyego, who became a U.S. citizen in 2017, qualified for the U.S. team at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, where she ran a 2:28.52.
"What a great accomplishment for Sally," said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley. "Red Raiders far and wide are so proud of what she has accomplished."
Since becoming a citizen in 2017, Kipyego had to pause her training while she was pregnant. Then. she had to battle through pneumonia and malaria as she fought to return to racing shape. After being forced out for nearly a year, she worked back by early 2019.
Still, Kipyego persevered, eyes set on Tokyo. A member of the elite Oregon Track Club, she lived and trained in her home country of Kenya, using the altitude to bolster her regimen.
By early 2019, she had worked her mileage up to 115 per week at a marathon pace. In April, she attempted the Boston Marathon, but could not finish. By September, she ran a personal best in Berlin. Now, in 2020, she's going to be an Olympian.
"It’s just a testament to her incredible hard work and dedication to the sport," said Texas Tech Head Distance Coach Jon Murray. "Coming back from pregnancy and some of the rough times she’s had these past few years really shows her commitment. At Tech, she hated to lose, and I think that shows in her continued pursuit to be back in race shape and be the best that she can be."
Kipyego is the most decorated athlete to ever come through the school, winning eight national titles during her time in Lubbock. She won four national titles in one year in 2007. She won three straight cross country Big 12 titles, and still holds numerous records nationally in the Big 12 conference and at Texas Tech.
The 2020 Summer Olympics will run from July 24yj through Aug. 9yj in Tokyo. Kipyego's marathon will take place on Aug. 8th, 2020.