WFP Marathon Man Tergat Wins in Japan

Paul Tergat in the 2003 Berlin marathon, which he won, setting a new world record of 2:04:55.

(Courtesy of: Brian Myers/Photo Run)

Paul Tergat, who as a child ate free school lunches provided by WFP, has notched up another important marathon victory with a win at the 64th Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan.

Tergat, 39, surged away from his final challenger with 1,300m to go and crossed the line in a time of two hours, ten minutes and 22 seconds. Read race report

The athlete, who is a WFP Ambassador against Hunger, held the world marathon record from 2003 to 2007 and scored high-profile wins in the 2003 Berlin Marathon and 2005 New York City Marathon.

Tergat may be one of world’s fastest men over 26 miles but, as a hungry child in in the drought-ridden district of Baringo, Kenya, he struggled to make the three-mile trek to school.

School meals were fundamental

His life changed in 1977, when WFP started distributing free school lunches at his Riwo Primary School. “Without those meals, I probably would not have become the achiever that I am today,” Tergat says.

“Without food, it was very difficult to walk to school, let alone concentrate on our studies." Learn more about WFP school meals in Kenya

In January 2004, Tergat became a WFP Ambassador against Hunger. He now uses the high-profile platform of international athletics to raise awareness of the same school feeding programme that helped set him on the road to success.

“School children around the world must have the opportunity to pursue their dream,” he says.

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