With each day come new opportunities; to make things right, take life a bit more seriously or even to make life changing decisions. A lot of people recognize this, some others claim they do, while only a few actually act on it.
Emily Chebet Muge is one of the exceptional few; born in Ainamoi in the Bomet District, a small settlement in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province on February 1986, Emily refused to be burdened or distracted by the circumstances of her birth, instead she kept her eyes on the goal and would not look back. She was greatly inspired after watching the success of her mentor Cheptanui Kilel (an exceptional Kenyan runner), which propelled her to make the unimaginable decision to leave school and pursue her dream; defying the common proclivity.
Emily made her first international appearance in the junior race at the 2003 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, where she finished in fifth place and won the junior team silver medal alongside her competitor Peninah Jepchumba. She competed at meetings in Spain and Portugal in 2004, running in the 1500 metres, 3000 metres and some 10K races. In 2005, she missed a place on the national team in cross-country but later set a 3000 m best of 8:53.46 minutes at the Meeting Gaz de France in Paris. After taking second place at the Kenyan Athletics Championships, she had her first senior podium finish at the 2006 African Championships, where she was the bronze medalist behind fellow Kenyans Edith Masai and Isabella Ochichi. 2007 was not exactly easy for the track princess as she could not finish in the heat of Mombasa at the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships 2007, but she eventually won the 10,000 meter race. In her final outing of the year she helped Kenya get to the second place at the Chiba Ekiden Relay, having run the 5 km race.
In 2010 she had a major breakthrough when she won the senior women’s race at the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, 2010, out-sprinting Linet Masai (the world champion on the track at the time). This win gave her, her first major world title. Emily finished second in the 2010 Bay of Breakers and then broke the course record at the Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K race; her six second improvement on the record was the greatest ever in the race’s history. Although she was defeated at the NYRR Newyork Mini 10K by national rival Linet Masai, she still finished as the runner-up with a time of 31:13. She also ran in the 15K race at the Istanbul Eurasia Marathon competition and won with a minute to spare over runner-up Belaynesh Oliira. She returned to the grassy Spanish circuit in November but was defeated by a large margin at the Cross de Atapuerca by Genzebe Dibaba.
2011 proved challenging for Emily, first she missed the chance to defend her World Cross title as she failed to finish at the Keyan Cross Country Championships. She was sixth at the Prague Half Marathon, setting a time of 1:12:00 hours for her debut outing over the distance. Emily competed in South America for the first time at the Bogota Half Marathon in August and took third place on the podium.
The budding champion was awarded the bronze medal and team title for Kenya at the 2012 African Cross Country Championships held in Cape Town but later the same year she had a knee injury that ruled her out of the track and field season, but she returned in August and had runner-up finishes at the Falmouth Road Race, Beach to Beacon 10K and the Tilburg 10K setting a best of 30:58 minutes at the latter.
In 2013 she placed fourth at the national cross-country trials but eventually went on to win her second world title at the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, beating off a challenge from Hiwot Ayalew to claim both the individual and team gold medals. And in June the same the same year, she won her second title at the Freihofer’s Women’s Run.
Emily came almost already made, yet she continues to improve. Her determination and self-discipline got her the world-class position. She is married to Edward Muge, who also serves as her coach and they have one daughter, Sarah Cherono.
© 2014 – 2017, Lovelyn Okafor. All rights reserved.