I Want to Run

In the summer of 2012 the Galt Museum & Archives presented “Champions & Challenges in Sports”, an exhibition exploring the challenges and successes of local sports personalities including athletes, coaches and managers, officials, sponsors, game announcers, casual athletes, and fans. This month we present athlete Willy Kimosop, a long-distance runner.

Born in Kenya, Willy Kimosop was offered a scholarship to attend Lethbridge College to study and join the Kodiaks running team. He followed several other male and female Kenyan runners recruited by Cross Country Head Coach Bertil Johansson. As a young man, Willy was inspired to run by other Kenyans who won international races. After four years of working, training and studying full time, he graduated in April 2012 and was Assistant Coach at the College for a year.

When he first arrived in Lethbridge, Willy experienced challenges with winter weather, cultural differences and the fast pace set by his academic teachers. During his first winter, Willy felt as though he was “dying” when he tried to run outdoors. He trained indoors, though this didn’t give him the challenge of the hills and rough terrain he prefers. Willy won many college competitions and continues to run in and win long distance races across Canada.

Willy values his ability to work and the sponsorships he receives here in Canada – things not readily available in Kenya. Many people depend on him, which adds a great deal of pressure that few Canadian athletes experience. He sends money earned from his job and his winnings to his extended family in Kenya, allowing several of his brothers and sisters to attend high school and college. Young people look up to him and Willy feels they “need to see someone who can give them courage, someone who can be their role model.” This helps him focus on his dream.

In October 2015, the Galt will present the exhibition “Changing Places: Immigration & Diversity”, the stories of why people post-Second World War to very recently decided to leave their home-country, and how Lethbridge and southwestern Alberta has changed because of the contributions they make to the community. For details, visit www.galtmuseum.com.