Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

38. Catherine Ndereba

Age: 36

The current women's world marathon champion, a title she also held in 2003, Ndereba also took a silver at the 2004 Olympics, and in 2001 broke the world record. She lives and trains in Nairobi with her husband, Anthony. Ndereba comes from a family of runners — her brother Samuel and sister Anastasia, who were brought up with her on the southwestern slopes of Mount Kenya, also run marathons. Runners in Kenya are often employed by the government, but are expected to at least train for a government service — Ndereba joined the Kenya Prisons College to become a prison guard. Anthony joined the service in the same year — that is how they met — and is a prison guard today. In 1997, she took time off to give birth to her daughter, Jane. With his wife away so much, Anthony is also something of a househusband, an arrangement that has made the pair into something of a model for the modern Kenyan couple. Not everyone likes that model. Asked about what she told people back home who disapproved of her being away from her family while training and competing, Ndereba said, with obvious irony: "I tell them if I have nothing to sacrifice, I have nothing to gain."