Hopkinton students open hearts to Kenyans

By John Hilliard
Metrowest Daily News
Friday, April 14,

Elite Kenyan marathoners received a rock star’s welcome yesterday from Hopkinton elementary school students in what is now a Boston Marathon pre-race ritual.

“We are very happy as runners from Kenya to return to a place we consider a second home,” Kenyan Timothy Cherigat, who won the race, told hundreds gathered in the Elmwood School gym.

Marathoners from Kenya have visited the school for 14 consecutive years.

Runners Cherigat, William Kiplagat, Robert Cheruiyot, Wilson Onsare, Julius Ruto and Benjamin Maiyo were met with lights, blasting rock music and even a fog machine for their entrance into the Elmwood school gym.

Tricia Rae, now a senior captain on Hopkinton’s girl’s track team, said the Kenyans inspire students. “It motivates us to do our best,” said Rae. “You leave a lasting impression.”

Retiring Hopkinton track coach Michael Scanlon agreed.

“One of the bitter parts is I won’t be doing this again,” said Scanlon. “It’s been a privilege to expose my athletes, both past and present, to the finest athletes in the world.”

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