As a boy, Olympic marathoner Guor Marial literally ran for his life.
Marial fled militants in South Sudan, who were attempting to force him to become a child soldier in the country’s brutal civil war. He made it to the United States, eventually becoming an all-American athlete in cross-country at Iowa State University. Earlier this year, Marial ran the marathon during the Summer Olympic Games — running under the Olympic flag because the South Sudan did not have an Olympics committee.
Marial’s story inspired people around the globe during the games. Earlier this month, he inspired another group of young runners at the Andrew & Walter Young YMCA in Atlanta, where he supported the Kilometer Kids, a local nonprofit that seeks to instill a love of running in children and teaches them about a healthy lifestyle.
PreventObesity.net Leader Tina Klein, who oversees Kilometer Kids, tells the Inside Track that Marial appeared alongside King Deng Akon, who is a South Sudanese refugee currently living in Atlanta. Deng is the king of his home country’s Jurbilee tribe and is hoping to return to his homeland to rebuild the nation after decades of war.
Klein shared photos of the kids meeting the two VIPs with the Inside Track. In case you were wondering, Marial finished 47th at the games, posting a time of 2:19:32.
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