This is our ninth COROS Athletes Watch, and the focus is on Israeli athlete Lonah Salpeter. Lonah won the bronze medal at the World Championships marathon in July 2022 in Eugene, Oregon, in a battle that went down to the final two kilometers.
Lonah gave Isreal it fourth medal ever in the World Champs. Think about having an entire country willing you on!
Lonah’s story is pretty spectacular, and Deji Ogeyingbo helps us appreciate this fine athlete, who is also sponsored by COROS.
To learn more about COROS, please click here.
Redemption for Lonah Salpeter as she wins Bronze for Israel in the women’s marathon at the World Championships
When Israel’s Lonah Salpeter finished the women’s marathon in 66th place in 2:48:31 at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 — a far cry from the Top 3 finish she had hoped to achieve, there was the feeling that the distance runner would have gotten a medal if she was in pristine form on race day in Sapporo.
Salpeter wasn’t. All had been put in place to put her in good conditions ahead of the race, but a factor she couldn’t control happened. Her period, which she said was slated to arrive two days before the race and which she knew would probably impact her performance.
“I know myself — when I have my period, I don’t perform 100 percent,” Salpeter said last year.
Her period ultimately didn’t arrive until after the race, Salpeter said, but it nevertheless impacted her run. After setting off from the starting line, Salpeter remained in the lead pack for most of the 26.2-mile race. But with a few miles to go, her cramps got so bad that they ended her race.
Five years before that, at the Rio Olympics, a similar situation happened, but then it was as a result of going through both the rigors and responsibility of being a mother.
In the race, Chemtai Salpeter also had a disappointing finish when she had to stop before completion due to shoulder pain caused by running with the extra weight of breastmilk, as she was still breastfeeding her son at the time.
‘Women — we sometimes struggle with this kind of situation. Not every day is good for us because every month we receive this period and some ladies, they’re ok with it, and some are not good with it.’
For a female athlete, it can be a difficult road to navigate, but most are beginning to scale it, and Salpeter is one that has championed the cause for women to speak out about the issues.
Salpeter holds Israeli national records in the marathon, the half-marathon, and the 10,000-meter run. And when she ran the Tokyo Marathon last March, Salpeter won the event in a race record of 2:17:45.
Born in Kenya, Salpeter moved to Israel in 2011 and fought for citizenship for years. She eventually received Israeli citizenship in March of 2016 after winning the Tel Aviv Marathon, allowing her to compete for Israel in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.
This year’s world championships were a chance for her to seek redemption, and she did. Salpeter clocked in at 2:20:18, just behind Ethiopian Gotytom Gebreslase and Kenyan Judith Jeptum Korir, who took home the gold and silver medals, respectively.
It was Israel’s fourth medal at the World Championships, following two wins by Aleksandr Averbukh in the pole vault (bronze in 1999 and silver in 2001) and by Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko in the triple jump (silver medal in 2015).
Prime Minister of Israel Yair Lapid took to social media to praise the marathon runner on her medal.
“Congratulations to Lonah Chemtai Salpeter on the historic medal she won today at the World Championships! Lonah’s willpower and determination are a source of pride for Israeli athletics and for the entire State of Israel,” Lapid tweeted. “Lonah, you are a champion.”
Salpeter might not have won Gold in Eugene, but the bronze she snagged is a huge improvement on her non-podium finish from the last Olympics-one in which circumstances beyond her control played a part. Most importantly, she spoke up about the issues facing women in sports, and a year later, there is a medal to show for it.
Lonah Salpeter is a COROS athlete.
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