Sisters who run together, stay together

Story by Tierra Reese, Contributing writer

For Vallery and Sylvia, they never knew how far running could take them. The Korir sisters from Iten, Kenya, plan to help Murray State’s cross-country team win the OVC Championship this year.

Vallery Korir, junior, is the older Korir sister who has been an international student-athlete at Murray State for two years now. Korir redshirted last season but has returned to run in the 2016-17 season with winning OVC as her goal.

“This year, I’ve been training, getting healthy and staying healthy so I have huge expectations,” Vallery said.“I have a feeling that I am going to do very well, I have good things coming this semester.”

Korir is also excited about a family member joining the team this season, her sister. Vallery said Sylvia brings comfort to her this year, putting her in a better place than when she first came overseas.

“It feels good to have someone you’ve grown up with around. I am excited for this semester because last semester I was stressed because I had no family,” Vallery said. “But it’s much better this semester because I have someone around me that knows me better.”

Vallery and Sylvia competed together in Kenya on the same team in school and now get the chance to compete at a higher level together. Vallery said there is no sibling rivalry, but she has advice and encouragement for her sister Sylvia.

“Both of us can get to help each other, it feels more comforting,” Vallery said. Would be really glad if my sister does better than me because I am about to graduate so by the time she becomes a junior, she will be taking Murray State far.”

Freshman Sylvia Korir said she is excited but nervous about her first season at Murray State but is taking advice from her sister Vallery, who said she is here to help.

“I always try to help someone through my own experience. Being a freshman for Murray State, it wasn’t fun at all. I wasn’t running good and college life was so different in the states,” Vallery said. So if she comes to me and tells me that she is facing some challenges, I would tell her kindly that that is how life is and that things get better.”

Sylvia, like most freshmen, said she does not know what to expect for her first year at the collegiate level, however, she hopes to get rewarding results after each meet.

“My goal for this year is to do well. I want to improve every time I go to competition,” Sylvia said.

Vallery is finishing her collegiate career but wants to end her final season strong in hopes that it will help her fulfill her dream of earning an Olympic title.

“I have a dream that in 2020 or 2024, if it goes well, hopefully I will maybe be in the Olympic Games. One day in time, I will get to have that name of being called an Olympian,” Vallery said.

While 2020 or 2024 are some time away, Vallery also said she has short-term goals in mind for this season. She said she believes she and her team can reach their ultimate goals with hard work and dedication.

“I have a feeling that we are going to win OVC. When I run with my teammates, I can feel it. During practices, we try to encourage each other, try to run as a team, and help each other run good,” Vallery said.