This is Witness the Wonder, the Preview to the 2023 World Champs in Budapest for Day 30, May 17, 2023.
For the next 15 days, RunBlogRun will be posting a story a day on the buildup to the World Athletics Outdoor Championships, to be held in Budapest, Hungary, from August 19-August 27, 2023.
Tonight, we will be telling the story of Mary Moraa.
Mary Moraa is one of the truly new stars in global track and field.
2017 Mary took the silver medal in the 400 meters in the World Under 18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya. Her time, of 53.31. Her 400 meters at the World Under 20 in Tampere, Finland, in 52.94. In 2019, Mary moved up to the senior African Champs, she took fifth in the 400 meters in 51.97.
Moraa takes her semi-final, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics
Mary’s racing style at the 800 meters is what makes her unique. She will go out hard, drop back and fight all the way back up front. In the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in July 2022, she took the bronze medal behind Athing Mu and Keely Hodgkinson, with a fine of 1:56.71, her PB.
After her bronze medal in Eugene, the media caught up with her in the Mixed Zone, and this is how she positioned her medal:
“I am so happy to perform like this today and of course, to win a medal.
This is a very special achievement for me and my village. The race was tough but I tried to push myself to finish like this.
I gained my limits like 200m to go and I saw the girls in front of me. But then I decided to close the gap and to move forward.
Like 100m to go, they tried to push hard but I also did it. I pushed myself until the finish to take bronze and I am so happy about it.
The last sprint was very tough – last 70m, I saw I cannot get enough speed to get furter, just focusing the front runners.”
Just a few weeks later, Mary Moraa upset Keely Hodgkinson in the 800 meters in 1:57.07 in front of a robust crowd in Birmingham. It was the way she won that totally flummoxed her competition. Mary rushed to the front, fell back, and out of contention at 500m to go, then rushed back to the front to take the gold from Keely Hodgkinson.
2023 Mary has already run a fine 400 meters in the Botswana Golden Grand Prix on April 29, 2023, in 50.44. Mary followed that up with a nice win at 800 meters in the Kip Keino Classic, on May 13, 2023, in front of sixty thousand cheering Kenyans.
Mary Moraa’s masterful running is one thing, but her unpredictable racing style makes her a challenge to plan for, making her dangerous. How will she fare in Budapest?
It is difficult to say, as many of her competitors know that she will compete in an unexpected way. Mary Moraa can run from the front, and from the back and has a blinding kick.
Watch her in Budapest; she will be ferocious!
To read all of our earlier stories in Witness the Wonder, numbers 1-29: