The Challenging Road To Paris – 4th in A Series – Leonard Korir – by Jeff Benjamin

One could say that Leonard Korir has had to endure two marathon journeys over the last few months!

The U.S. Army Runner finished in the coveted third spot last February at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando, which was certainly rewarding to him, as Korir finished in the dreaded fourth place at the 2020 Olympic Trials 26.2 race.

However, Korir’s 2:09:57 took him on another kind of race as his performance waded through the vaunted World Athletics Marathon selection system.

But last week, Korir, who competed at the 10K at Rio in 2016, also successfully reached that finish line! The World Athletics system worked out, and Korir will be joining Team USA teammates Connor Mantz and Clayton Young at the Paris Olympic starting line on August 10th!

Here are 5 quick questions for Leonard!

1) How has your training been going since the Trials? And how concerned were you about the selection process?

“My training is going very well. I didn’t change anything because I knew that an opening was coming. I had decided that if I didn’t make the team, I was going to run a fall marathon, so that kept me motivated to keep training.”

2) Are you preparing to race other meets/events before Paris?

“Right now, the goal is to fully focus on the Olympics. No other races.”

Your 2024 US Olympic Marathon team, Clayton Young, Connor Mantz and Leonard Korir, photo by Jeff Benjamin

3) Did you change anything in your training for the Olympic trials?

I just kept the same training schedule. Just adjusted to running in hot conditions.”

4) Who comprises your support system, and why are they important?

“I have a good support system from my Army leadership. My teammates are also on ADP. We have a strong team heading to the track trials soon. We have all been training together.”

1996 Olympian Keith Brantly assists new Olympian Leonard Korir, photo by Jeff Benjamin

5) Any advice you’d like to give out there, especially to young runners?

“My advice is to have patience in everything you do. Sometimes life can be challenging and training might be hard but we have to keep working and solve problems.  There are many teams to make – World Championships, Cross Country and the Olympics.  Keep training and make one by one. Everyone has a chance!”