Boston Marathon Champion Wesley Korir’s Younger Brother John Looking to Emulate Title

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2024 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved





 John Korir finishing 9th at the 2023 Boston Marathon (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)







BOSTON (12-Apr) — On a very hot day here nearly 12 years ago, Wesley Korir of Kenya won the Boston Marathon in 2:12:40 and earned $150,000 in prize money and worldwide fame.  Back in Kenya his teenage brother, John, wished he could have watched the race as it unfolded, but couldn’t.






“I was still in school; I was in form one,” the younger Korir told Race Results Weekly in an interview here today, referring to the freshman year of high school in Kenya.  “I was 16 years-old.  I was in school that day and I missed it.  When I got back home from school they told me your older brother just won Boston.”






 John Korir three days in advance of the 2024 Boston Marathon (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)







Wesley Korir’s Boston victory was life-changing.  He had twice won the Los Angeles Marathon, in 2009 and 2010, but winning an Abbott World Marathon Majors event on global television was on a completely different level.  Doors opened for him.  He was selected for the 2016 Kenyan Olympic Team, became a vocal anti-doping crusader, founded a school, and was even elected to a seat in Kenya’s National Assembly in 2013 where he served until 2017.






John was in awe of his older brother, and wanted to emulate him.






“It really gave me a lot of inspiration,” John said.  “Now I want to see if I can win.”






Korir, 27, who represents Asics, will run Monday’s Boston Marathon for the second time.  He has already duplicated one of Wesley’s accomplishments and surpassed another.  He won the Los Angeles Marathon twice, in 2021 and 2022, then moved up to the Majors at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October, 2022.  At that race, where he clocked 2:05:01 and finished third, he ran more than a minute faster than Wesley’s personal best of 2:06:13.  It took five years, but he was now in marathon running’s first tier where athletes can earn good appearance fees and get invited to the best events with the richest prize money and bonuses.






Wesley had been acting informally as John’s agent and helped him to arrange his first professional marathon in Ottawa in 2018 where he finished second in 2:09:14.  Wesley’s wife, Tarah, is Canadian, and Wesley has resident status in Canada.






“My first marathon I was supported by my brother, Wesley,” John said.  “It was in Canada, Ottawa.  He got everything for me and I ran 2:09.”  He continued: “The first time I ran marathon my brother was at the finish line.  Someone asked me, ‘do you like marathon?’ and I said ‘yes,’ I still want to run marathon.  I love running marathons.”






But John would need professional representation in order for his career to move forward.  He signed with the Indiana-based athlete management firm, Hawi Management, founded by Merhawi Keflezighi, an older brother of 2014 Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi.






“I started working with John because of his brother Wesley Korir,” Merhawi Keflezighi told Race Results Weekly in an interview.  “I never represented Wesley but he became a great friend over the years.  Wesley is just an amazing athlete, student of the sport, ambassador of the sport.  I came on board because of my relationship with Wesley.”






Again emulating his brother, John works with coach Ron Mann the former University of Louisville head coach who had coached Wesley both as a collegian and a pro. The younger Korir has an informal, four-man training group in Kenya so Mann coaches him remotely.






“Coach Mann will be here and he’s very excited about how fit John is,” Keflezighi explained.  “He coaches him remotely.  He has people to run with in Kenya, to train with.  They use Garmin technology to make sure he gets all of his workouts to Coach Mann.”






Korir took third at the 2022 Chicago Marathon, then fourth the following year in almost the same time: 2:05:09.  In between he ran Boston for the first time and it didn’t go as he had hoped.  In rainy conditions, he stayed with then world record holder Eliud Kipchoge through 30-K.  But as Kipchoge faded, so did Korir.  His pace slipped to 15:00 from 30 to 35-K then to 17:17 from 35 to 40-K.  He would finish ninth in 2:10:04, but he learned a lot.






“I learned that the course is not easy,” Korir said, “especially the Heart Breaking Hill.  If you finish that you know you can finish the race.”






He also changed his training to be better prepared for Boston’s notorious hills.  He logs his miles in the Cherangani Hills north of Eldoret where the highest altitudes are 3530m/11,580ft.






“This year I did more preparation,” he said.  “I trained on hills, many hills.  Now I feel like I’m ready to run Boston.”






When Wesley won the race it was downright hot (88F/31C).  Monday’s conditions won’t be nearly as brutal, but according to WCVB-TV chief meteorologist Cindy Fitzgibbon it will be warm and sunny.  She told her viewers today that start-time temperatures will be 54F/12C and rise to 64F/18C by noon under sunny skies.  That’s just fine with Korir.






“That’s nice,” he said, breaking into a smile.  “I’ve been training in warm weather in Kenya.  I’m ready to run in warm weather.”







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