AS: What did it feel like when you found out you had qualified for the Olympic Games?
ALIPHINE TULIAMUK: I felt an enormous amount of relief qualifying for the Olympics in Atlanta this past February. It took many years of sacrifice and being away from my family just to have the opportunity to toe the line at the Olympic Trials. So when my dream came true, it was an amazing moment. When my teammates Steph Bruce and Kellyn Taylor crossed the finish line, they embraced me in a group hug and I started to cry.
AS: Walk us through a typical day of training for you.
AT: When I'm training alone, a typical day involves waking up when I feel like I have received plenty of rest and then taking some time to stretch and massage my legs before my first run. Often, I'll do this while having coffee and chatting with my partner Tim. I'll go for a run of anywhere from 10 to 20 miles, depending on the day. Afterward, I stretch and make myself a protein drink that aids my recovery. The rest of the day I try to take it easy and let my body recover from the morning workout. Sometimes I go for a second run in the evening, which is just a light run that helps me get more mileage in for the week.
AS: With the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, how are you using this extra year to prepare for the 2021 games?
AT: I'm getting to devote time to things I don't normally have time for. One passion project of mine has been my small business, Allie T Resiliency Beanies. I love to crochet and spend several hours a day making colorful beanies. It brings me joy and gives me something positive to work on during my non-training hours. I'm also a fan of gardening and have been putting time into the vegetable garden Tim and I planted.
AS: As the first woman from your village to graduate from college, why did you choose higher education before going pro?
AT: I believe education is the ticket to a life of independence and possibility, especially for women who might otherwise not have a lot of opportunities. Being educated has opened so many doors for me. Running at the professional level is something we can only do for a short period of time, but there is no limit to how much we can learn and grow intellectually.
AS: What are you most looking forward to about being in the Olympics?
AT: I am looking forward to testing myself against the best in the world and representing the USA to the best of my abilities. I made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point in my career, so I am proud and honored that all those efforts paid off. Plus, the fact that my teammate Sally Kipyego and I will be the first Black women to compete for Team USA in the marathon is something I'm especially proud of.
AS: How has your early life in Kenya shaped your journey as an athlete and as a modern woman?
AT: Kenyan culture and the village of Posoy that raised me have had a tremendous impact on who I am today. Running has allowed me to travel the world and see different people and places everywhere I go. While I frequently interact with people from different backgrounds, I take pride in knowing where I come from and have faith that growing up from a humble background in Kenya has prepared me for my life's journey and the many challenges it presents.
Follow Aliphine Tuliamuk on Instagram here.