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“I had a dream when I started running that one day I would like to continue professionally after school. That dream came true.”
Wesley Kiptoo is the 2021 NCAA Indoor 5000m champion and put together a third and second-place finish at the last two NCAA cross country championships. He was a standout star at Iowa State but now it’s time for a new chapter in his career. Wesley has decided to turn professional and sign with Hoka’s NAZ Elite. He will be training under coach Ben Rosario and he will be making his debut tonight in the 5000m at the Mt. SAC Relays. While in college, Wesley shows fierce competitiveness by pushing the pace from the front. He earned himself personal bests of 13:14.74 for the 5K and 27:37 for the 10K. In this episode, you’ll hear about his big goals as a pro but also a dive into his personal history with the sport. This signing is a dream come true as he hoped to be a pro runner while growing up in Kenya running and walking 40 kilometers to and from school most days. I hope you get to learn more about him and keep tabs on his future as a pro.
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Everyone knows how much all of us in the CITIUS MAG family love track & field, and how much we enjoy sharing that love with you all. Well, we’ve got a few big love-sharing ideas in the works and it all takes place in Eugene, Oregon this summer. Hayward Field will be the home to the Prefontaine Classic, the USATF Outdoor Championships and the World Athletics Championships. We’ll be there and you should be too. Visit https://citiusmag.com/summerofhayward/ for all the information on dates and tickets.
Flagstaff, AZ, April 15, 2022 – HOKA NAZ Elite announced today that the team has signed Wesley Kiptoo of Iowa State University. Kiptoo, the 2021 NCAA Indoor National Champion at 5,000 meters, has run 7:43.61 for 3,000 meters, 13:14.74 for 5,000 meters, and 27:37.29 for 10,000 meters. Kiptoo will thus forgo his final season of collegiate eligibility and begin his professional career tonight in Walnut, Calif. at the Mt. Sac Relays. He will compete in the Men’s Elite 5,000 meters scheduled for 9:15 p.m.
Kiptoo is a seven-time NCAA Division I All American in cross country and track and field, a seven-time Big 12 Champion, and holds Iowa State records in the indoor 3,000 and 5,000 meter runs as well as the outdoor 10,000 meters and the steeplechase. A native of Marakwet, Kenya, Kiptoo will move to Flagstaff, Ariz. to join his new HOKA NAZ Elite teammates next month, along with his wife, Maribel, and their two children–Natalia and Santos.
Kiptoo said that turning pro has been his dream since he started running.
“Getting this opportunity from HOKA NAZ Elite gives me a chance to continue my running career,” Kiptoo said. “I am so excited to become a member of the team and to be a full time professional athlete.”
Kiptoo will join a roster that includes, among others, fellow Kenyan Alex Masai, as well as Olympian Aliphine Tuliamuk, top American marathoners Stephanie Bruce and Kellyn Taylor, two-time New Zealand national champion Matt Baxter, and former American collegiate record holder, Tyler Day.
HOKA NAZ Elite Head Coach Ben Rosario said Kiptoo is just the beginning of what he calls the next phase of the program.
“When Aliphine [Tuliamuk] competed at the Olympic Games in 2021, that was sort of the culmination of the first eight years of our team,” Rosario said. “As we look toward 2024, and even 2028, signing athletes like Wesley who can compete at a world class level on the track and on the roads, is part of what we see as an expansion of our program–an expansion that goes well beyond our results on the field of play.”
– “Running in Kenya, it wasn’t that easy. There were lots of challenges there like the training facilities and the areas where you wanted to do your workouts sometimes…Where I grew up, it was in a hilly place. I used to go to school six miles away – that’s 10 kilometers – so I would have to go in the morning and go back home for lunch and then back to school for the evening session and then back home. That’s almost 40 kilometers in a day just walking. Most of the time, to avoid being late sometimes you’d run for a little bit and then start walking. Growing up there taught me a lot of things about running…For almost half of my life I was just walking and running to and from school, so when I started running it became something that wasn’t new but there were challenges with running gear and the facilities. Kenya is a place where most of the runners came from. There are a lot of groups. After I finished and we’d closed up school, I’d normally go to the camp. There was an academy called the Transcend Running Academy. That’s where I came through. It’s sponsored by (2012 Boston Marathon champion) Wesley Korir. I was working out with Wesley when I was in Kenya during high school. He taught me most of the things about running. I didn’t know I would make it in running but when he started talking to me about the benefits of going to school and continuing running, I started being serious in those two areas.”
“The Transcend Running Academy’s main purpose is to help those who have difficulties in life to go to school and pay school fees. It’s for people coming from poor backgrounds and I was one of them.”