Staff Sgt. Leonard Korir, a marathon runner assigned to the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, Fort Carson, Colorado, made headlines after taking 1st place out of over 50,000 total runners at the 2022 Bolder Boulder 10K, Boulder, Colorado which was held on Memorial Day, May 30.
“This is ridiculous. I’ve come to many races. You don’t get this atmosphere,” said Korir. “Today, to come into this atmosphere, go for a win, celebrate and people are cheering for you, it’s like a football game. This year, I wanted to win this race because I’m a member of the US Army. It means something to me to win on Memorial Day.”
Korir is also the first service-member to ever win the race.
A decade ago, Korir traveled from his native Kenya to begin a collegiate track and cross country career at Iona, winning the NCAA national champion in the 5,000 meter and an outdoor title in the 10,000 meter. After gaining citizenship, he took his dreams one step further by enlisting in the U.S. Army in 2016.
For much of the 10-kilometer race, Korir was part of a lead group of four, that included fellow American Kared Ward, and a Tanzanian duo of Joseph Panga and Fabiano Nelson Sulle.
Korir’s final time was 29:28, leading by over 8 seconds over second place Panga who finished in 29:36.
His previous best was set at the Bolder Boulder in 2017, where he fell short of first place by just 0.62 seconds, taking second.
Korir has represented the U.S. in the Rio Olympics, finishing 14th in the 10,000 meters, and hopes to continue to compete in future competitions and Olympic level events to come.