Another success for world record marathoner and millions of children worldwide

Published on 11 March 2006

WFP warmly congratulated its Ambassador against Hunger, top record holder Paul Tergat, on his performance today in New York where he finished third place in the world’s most prestigious marathon race.

WFP warmly congratulated its Ambassador Against Hunger, top record holder Paul Tergat, on his performance today in New York where he finished third place in the world’s most prestigious marathon race.

WFP’s school feeding changed my life and the lives of many other young people in Kenya

Paul Tergat, WFP Ambassador Against Hunger

"We congratulate Paul on this wonderful success. He has shown again what a fighter he is, and we salute his humanitarian work on behalf of WFP,” said WFP Executive Director, James Morris.

“Paul fights on behalf of hungry children since he knows firsthand what it means to go to sleep hungry. We could not have a better friend -- Paul is an inspiration for all of us,” said Morris.

Life-changing lunches

Paul Tergat was only eight years old when he started receiving daily free school lunches from WFP in his poor home village in Kenya. Tergat has often said those meals changed his life forever.

“WFP’s school feeding changed my life and the lives of many other young people in Kenya. School feeding gave us the opportunity to attend school, and to grow up so we could contribute to our communities, our country and the world at large,” said Tergat before today’s race.

Since becoming a WFP “Ambassador against Hunger” in 2004, Tergat has used his running career to raise awareness about hungry children worldwide and WFP’s school feeding programme.

Struggle to get to school

As a hungry child in the drought and poverty-stricken district of Baringo, Kenya, he struggled to walk the three miles to school.

School meals – which nourish children while increasing enrolment and attendance - allowed him to continue his education.

Last year, WFP provided school meals to 21 million children in 74 countries.

“There are many millions of children around the world who do not go to school because they do not have enough food. That is just shameful. We need to give them the opportunity to go to school, and to learn more. Remember one thing: education is the key to life. And without education, it's very difficult to make the wise choices which are going to define a child’s life,” Tergat said.

Making a difference

“We are so proud that Paul is our partner and our Ambassador. He is such a humble and good man. Paul’s life story shows that with a little extra help, we can make a huge difference in a child’s life. A daily meal at school from WFP has helped him become what he is today: the fastest marathon runner in the world. He works so hard to help hungry children in Africa and we deeply thank him for that,” said WFP’s Morris.

In 2003 in Berlin, Germany, Tergat became the first man to run the marathon in less than two hours five minutes – a world record still standing three years later.

Paul finished Sunday’s race in 2:10:10 hours and earned a bronze medal, making him a contender in the inaugural year of the World Marathon Majors – a new series offering a prize to the top male and female runners in five marathons world-wide.