Lonah Chemtai Salpeter

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Lonah Chemtai
Lonah Chemtai 1.jpg
Chemtai in 2018
Personal information
Full nameLonah Korlima Chemtai
National teamIsrael
Born (1988-12-12) December 12, 1988 (age 30)
ResidenceMoshav Yanuv, Israel
Height1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)[1]
Weight52 kg (115 lb)
Spouse(s)Dan Salpeter
Event(s)Marathon, 10,000 meters, 5,000 meters
Coached byDan Salpeter
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)Marathon: 2:19:45
Updated on 6 August 2016.

Lonah Korlima Chemtai (born December 12, 1988) is a Kenyan-Israeli runner. She competed in the marathon at the 2016 Summer Olympics,[1][2][3][4] and won the 10,000 meters European Championship in 2018.[5]

Early and personal life[edit]

Chemtai was born in Kenya, a member of the tribe of Kalenjin, and grew up in a village in West Pokot County in western Kenya.[6][7] She came to Israel in 2008, as a nanny for the children of Kenya's Ambassador to Israel.[6][8][7]

Chemtai met Israeli running coach Dan Salpeter, and the two fell in love, and married in 2014.[8][9][10] The couple's son, Roy, was born in December 2014.[8][7] The family lives in moshav Yanuv, in central Israel.[11] Chemtai was granted Israeli citizenship in March 2016, eight years after she began living in Israel, a few days before the cut-off to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.[12][9]

Running career[edit]

Her husband is also her coach.[13] In her youth she ran shorter distances, and she began running the marathon only after 2014.[7]

Chemtai came in first among the women in the 2016 Tel Aviv Marathon in 2:40:16, almost five minutes below the qualification time for the 2016 Olympics.[8][13]

Chemtai competed for Israel at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the marathon.[12][9] By the 30th kilometer, her time put her in the top half of the runners, ranking her approximately 90th.[14] She left the race at the 33rd kilometer.[14] She explained on Facebook: “Unfortunately, I was forced to stop by a shoulder problem. As you all know, I’m still nursing my 20-month-old son. During my training in Kenya, I tried to stop, but it caused me pain and a shoulder problem due to running with breasts full of milk. This limited me in the European championships in Amsterdam (a half-marathon) and happened again today. I promise to attain respectable achievements in the future and am going forward with head held high.”[14]

On August 8, 2018, Chemtai won the 10,000 meters 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin.[15] On August 12, 2018, Chemtai stopped a lap early in the final of the 5,000 meters 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin, depriving her of a medal.[16]

On 25 November, 2018, she won the Florence Marathon, setting an Israeli record and course record of 2:24:17.[17]

On May 5, 2019 she won the Prague Marathon in a course record 2:19:45 time, clocking the 24th best time for women in that distance in history.


  1. ^ a b KORLIMA Lornah Chemtai - Olympic Athletics | Israel. Rio2016.com.
  2. ^ Lewis, Ori (19 July 2016). "Kenyan-born runner Chemtai going the distance for Israel". Reuters. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  3. ^ Talshir, Uri (17 March 2016). "Kenyan-born Runner Wins Race to Attain Israeli Citizenship". Haaretz. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Tel Aviv's Kenyan-born marathon winner in race against time to run for Israel in Rio". Times of Israel. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter wins gold at European Championships". Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  6. ^ a b Kenyan-Born Lonah Chemtai to Represent Israel in Rio Marathon. The Jewish Press. Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  7. ^ a b c d Lewis, Ori. (2016-07-19) Kenyan-born runner Chemtai going the distance for Israel. Reuters. Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  8. ^ a b c d Solomon, Shoshanna. (2016-03-12) Tel Aviv's Kenyan-born marathon winner in race against time to run for Israel in Rio. The Times of Israel. Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  9. ^ a b c Israeli Olympic profiles: Lonah Korlima Chemtai - Israel News - Jerusalem Post. Jpost.com (2016-07-31). Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  10. ^ Lonah Chemtai: Who’s That Kenyan Brightening Israel’s Chances In Rio 2016? | The Daily Voice. Thedailyvoicenews.com. Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  11. ^ Kenyan-born runner Chemtai going the distance for Israel | The Star, Kenya. The-star.co.ke (2016-07-20). Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  12. ^ a b "Kenyan-born runner Chemtai going the distance for Israel". The Star (Kenya). Reuters. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  13. ^ a b Pileggi, Tamar. (2016-03-17) After legal battle, Kenyan runner gets Israeli citizenship. The Times of Israel. Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  14. ^ a b c Breastfeeding Was Downfall of Israeli Marathon Runner at Rio Olympics - Sports. Haaretz (2016-08-20). Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  15. ^ https://www.flotrack.org/articles/6238093-salpeter-makes-european-championships-history-for-israel
  16. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/45164839
  17. ^ "Salpeter clocks 2:24:17 course record in Florence| News | iaaf.org". www.iaaf.org. Retrieved 2019-02-26.

External links[edit]