WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – On February 29, former Wichita State Shocker Aliphine Tuliamuk was seeded 10th out of 501 qualifiers for the 2020 U.S. Olympic trials, but she beat the odds. Tuliamuk can still recall the sheer smile on her face when she crossed the finish line first.
“It’s like you prepare for this and you think you know how you’re going to feel, and that day comes and it’s just, it’s different,” Tuliamck says. “It’s so surreal, and even today it’s been a whole month and I am still trying to process it like it hasn’t sunk in completely.”
The 13-time All American for Wichita State has always been proud to run as the underdog and prove people wrong in hopes of demonstrating that it doesn’t matter where you went to school, it just matters how fast you run.
“It’s determination. Your dedication and if you believe in yourself and your training that will get you to the places that you need to get,” says Tuliamuk.
For the past four years, that’s what Tuliamuk has been doing. The marathon runner has preparing and continuing to believe in herself for that moment of crossing the biggest finish line in Tokyo. Unfortunately, Tuliamuk’s debut on that stage will have to wait. On March 24, the International Olympic Committee announced a first-of-its-kind postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s not just six months. It’s like a year and a half, and it still feels like eternity to me,” says Tuliamuk. “Every time I talk about it, I get a lumpy throat. Like yesterday, I was like ‘I don’t know why I feel like crying.’”
The games will not take place this year, but the runner from Kenya, who is now a U.S. citizen, is looking forward to proving herself yet again and representing her country in 2021.
“I think once I get over the heartbreak of not being able to race this summer and putting my plans on hold, I think it is an opportunity, honestly. I think it’s an opportunity to get in another marathon in the fall and get better.”