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IAAF.org: Paul Tergat: Ambassador against hunger

Paul Tergat set one of the most outstanding World records

2004-05-27

Kenya’s Paul Tergat set one of the most outstanding World records last year when he became the first man to run a marathon under 2 hours and 5 minutes but his biggest challenge may yet have to come. Recently appointed as the United Nations World Food Programme ambassador Tergat is set for the most important battle of his life, the one against hunger in the world. By Bob Ramsak

Paul Tergat knows about the importance of a warm meal. Which is precisely why he’s approaching his recent appointment as a World Food Programme (WFP) Ambassador Against Hunger with the same level of seriousness as he is with training for this summer’s Olympic Games.

Long before he could even dream about his five World Cross Country championship titles, his pair of Olympic silver medals and his World record run in the marathon, Tergat faced a daily struggle for survival confronted by millions around the world - wondering where there next meal would come from.

"My Dad wasn a rich man and he was quite old but the only thing he knew was that he wanted for us to go to school," explained Tergat, recalling his youth in a family of 17 children in the dry expanse of Kenya’s Rift Valley. "But it was very difficult to go every day because there was nothing to eat. Most of the kids didn want to go to school because they were more interested in trying to get food, so we used to stay behind to look after the animals.” But droughts would often kill his family’s meager herd of livestock. “I grew up in a very humble background. It was very difficult for us to go to school. Life was very difficult. Poverty was rampant in our area.”


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