Julius Arile: from warrior to elite athlete

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Kenyan runners often recount how the sport helped them escape poverty. For one athlete, the marathon saved him from a life of crime and the prospect of an early, violent death.

In a country with so much marathon talent, Julius Arile is not a front-runner but he stands out for another reason. He grew up in Kenya’s North, where cattle are a symbol of wealth and a source of often deadly tribal fighting. Arile was a cattle thief and warrior.

2004 was a turning point in Arile’s life he took part in a race organised by former kenyan marathoner Tegla Loroupe, aimed at bringing peace among warring communities in the region, this was Arile’s first contact with athletics and he never looked back. He went professional and in 2013 set his personal best time- 2hrs 10mins and three seconds, in New York city.

The 31 year old now campaigns for peace. He has encouraged more former rustlers from his home into the sport. Not everyone though can make it as a professional.  Arile says building a school and stadium here is his dream. But for now he’s aiming for a ticket to South America for the Olympics in Rio in 2016.

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