EUGENE, Ore. – In her first “official” race as a U.S. citizen, Oregon Track Club Elite’s Sally Kipyego made a successful return to competition at the Houston Half Marathon on Jan. 20.
The 33-year-old Kipyego placed 13th in the women’s division of the 13.1-mile race with a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes, 12 seconds.
Kipyego, a native Kenyan, earned her U.S. citizenship in January of 2017. She took the entire 2017 season off for the birth of her daughter, Emma, and came back to run a 10K in Boston last June.
However, the Olympic and World Championships silver medalist in the 10,000 meters told the Houston Chronicle that she considered Sunday’s event in Houston her first “official” race as an American.
“The beauty about me running under the American flag is because my entire adult life has been spent in America,” said Kipyego, who won nine NCAA individual titles in cross country and track and field, indoors and outdoors, while earning a nursing degree at Texas Tech University (2006-09).
“I fell in love in America. I got married in America. I had a baby in America. I am an American.”
Kipyego is targeting the Boston Marathon on April 15. She placed second at the 2016 New York City Marathon in 2:28:01.
“There were no expectations going into the Houston Half Marathon,” said OTC Elite coach Mark Rowland. “It was always going to be about how Sally felt during the race, and I think this sets her up well to have a positive attitude as she builds toward Boston.”
OTC Elite teammate Luke Puskedra was 67th on the men’s side in 1:07.44.