This includes Kenyan food and ugali, a country staple, a dense porridge made from maize flour.
A good ugali can hold the keys to successfully fueling the next stages of their running career. Obiri, a two-time world 5,000-meter champion, is competing in her first-ever marathon in New York City later this year, before which she will team up with a new coach and training group in Boulder, Colorado.
It’s common for distance runners to switch from track to road running towards the end of their careers, but less often when moving halfway around the world as Obiri planned.
“We wanted to move to the United States to train and live there, so for me it’s not a difficult move,” Obiri, who will be based outside Kenya for the first time in his career, told CNN.
“I think as an athlete and for my family, I want to move there to get acclimatized as soon as possible… It will take me at least two weeks to get used to it and catch up on my training there- down.”
Boulder’s hilly high-altitude trails and temperate climate make it an ideal location for long-distance runners. There, Obiri will join a relatively new team within the OAC, which was launched by Swiss sportswear brand On in 2020.
Under Ritzenhein’s guidance, Obiri has already started his marathon schedule and this week is increasing his training load to 180-200 kilometers of running per week. She is entering the next chapter of her career after establishing herself as one of the best 5,000 and 10,000 meter runners in the world over the past five years.
Last month she won a silver medal in the 10,000m at the World Championships in Athletics – with a personal best of 30 minutes and 10 seconds – and won silver medals in the 5,000m at both last Olympic Games to accompany his two world titles in the event.
His New York debut will be the first indicator of how Obiri’s track racing pedigree translates over the 26.2 miles of the marathon.
“I can’t say I’m going to target this time or this time – it’s my debut,” she says. “I can’t say maybe I want to do less than 2:20, 2:25 because I know the New York Marathon is a tough course, especially in the second half.”
Beginning on Staten Island, the challenging course winds through New York’s five boroughs before ending on Fifth Avenue and Central Park.
“For me, I want to train well because it’s my debut, and of course I’m looking forward to having a good race. I’m looking forward to running my own race without pressure and finishing well,” Obiri adds. .
She says she will miss running her favorite 5,000m distance, but won’t completely hang up her track spikes with the move to the marathon.
“You can’t get to the marathon without speed,” says Obiri, adding that she hopes to stay sharp by competing in 5,000m races in Kenya next year.
The immediate goal, however, is to settle down with his family in the United States. Obiri hopes, based on the visa, that his seven-year-old daughter, Tania, will move in time to attend the race in New York.
“She’s going to be so excited to get out of the country,” Obiri says. “She actually watches most of my races and she’s so excited that I’m winning races there.
“When I’m at a race, she knows mom’s not there, mom’s going to work there. She actually calls me and says, ‘Mom, do your best and be the first.’ She always wants me to be number one.”
Obiri’s daughter won’t be the only one with high expectations at the New York City Marathon. Kenyan athletes have dominated the event for the past decade with eight winners in the women’s race since 2010, and those watching at home are hoping Obiri can add to that legacy.
But whatever her performance, when she races through New York’s five boroughs in November, Obiri will mark the start of a new stage in her racing career and a new adventure for her family.