Lonah Chemtai practicing as she preps for the Olympics. Lonah Chemtai practicing as she preps for the Olympics. Lonah Chemtai on a practice run as she preps for the Olympics. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

A former nanny to make Olympic debut in Rio

Kenyan marathoner Lonah Chemtai will be representing her new country of Israel.

One woman is about to go from running after kids to running for Olympic glory.

Kenyan-born Lonah Chemtai moved to Israel in 2009 to become the nanny for the family of the Kenyan ambassador. An avid runner, she met and fell in love with her coach, Israeli Dan Salpeter. They now live in Tel Aviv, where they are raising their young son Roy.

The 27-year-old came in first place in this year's Tel Aviv marathon and will be among the many athletes we're watching at the Summer Games. In Rio, she'll be part of Israel's largest-ever Olympic delegation.

Chemtai joins other Israeli athletes who will be participating in gymnastics, golf, track and field, sailing, badminton and other sports. And she follows in a rich history of former Israeli Olympians. "I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time," she told Reuters.

Chemtai has lived in Israel since 2009.Chemtai has lived in Israel since 2009. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

The long hours mixed with solitude make marathon running a truly solo endeavor. There are countless inspiring stories of athletes beating the odds to survive the 26.2-mile run. There's the former paralyzed man who recovered to run the Jerusalem marathon. Or the 92-year-old grandmother of 10 who recently crossed the finish line of the San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon and became the oldest woman ever to complete a marathon. (Not to mention, we also know a certain magician who won the Long Island Marathon last year.)

"A personal best in Rio very much depends on the conditions, which can change from day to day, so it's hard to know," said her husband and coach. "But Lonah still has tremendous potential to improve greatly over the next 10 years and even beyond."

After Rio, Chemtai said she wants to concentrate on track events and hopes to be able to run in the 10,000 meters at the Tokyo Games in 2020.

Lonah with her coach and husband, Dan Salpeter.Lonah with her coach and husband, Dan Salpeter. (Photo: Courtesy photo)


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