Aliphine Tuliamuk Hoping to Cap Her American Dream with a Spot on US Olympic Team

HOKA Trials Athlete of the Day #14

by (sponsored by HOKA ONE ONE)
February 23, 2020

February is Marathon Month on as the month ends with one of the greatest events on the athletics calendar, the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta. From the contenders, to the dreamers, to the mountain men and women, HOKA ONE ONE has 17 athletes competing at the Trials, and is partnering with HOKA to profile all of them. We hope these profiles not only show you the cool stories of the people running the Trials, but also help gets you pumped for the Trials, and gives you some advice for your own running. This content is sponsored content for HOKA, but not approved by them.

Update: Aliphine won the Olympic Marathon Trials. We had a podcast with her before the Trials and a podcast after the Trials.

Aliphine Tuliamuk represents the American dream and she hopes she caps that dream in Atlanta by making the 2020 US Olympic Team.

Born in Kenya, Aliphine grew up in the small village of Posoy where running was a part of life. She was given her first pair of racing shoes by a female pioneer in marathon running Tegla Laroupe. Aliphine placed 9th at the 2005 World Junior Cross Country Championships. She’d actually take a break from running after that success but eventually got the attention of American colleges. She first came to Iowa State, and then transferred to Wichita State where she was an NCAA star, finishing NCAA runner-up at 10,000m twice, and nabbing a fourth place finish at the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships, one spot behind Jordan Hasay. Aliphine was the first woman from her village and her family of 32 kids to graduate from college with a major in Public Health and turned pro in 2013.

After getting her US citizenship in 2016, Tuliamuk went on a tear winning US titles. All-in-all she has won 9 US National titles from the 5k to 25k on the roads, and has won US cross country. She joined HOKA NAZ Elite in 2018, and won US titles at the half marathon and 25k and set a PB of 2:26:50 in the marathon while a member of the club.

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The one big goal remaining for Aliphine is to make the US Olympic Marathon team, and she shares that goal with her fellow HOKA NAZ Elite pros, Stephanie Bruce (2:27 PB, profiled yesterday here) and Kellyn Taylor (2:24 PB). For the first time, all 3 have done a marathon buildup together and this instagram post by Aliphine sums it up well:

We spoke to Aliphine this weekend and will have more with her this upcoming week but first here is her Trials Q&A from earlier in the month.

Name: Aliphine Tuliamuk

Via Aliphine’s instagram

Age: 30

Hometown: Flagstaff, Arizona

College: Wichita State

Occupation: Pro runner

Training Group: HOKA NAZ Elite

How qualified for the Trials? 2:26:50 at Rotterdam Marathon

Running bio/notable achievements: Represented Kenya in 2005 world XC junior

14 All America titles

9 time US national champion

Represented US in 2017 world XC champs

2:26:50 marathon PR

1:09.49 half marathon PR

31:53 for 10,000m

Road to the Trials

How did you start running?  

Aliphine Tuliamuk- Photo by Paul Ward

I started running as a little kid growing up in rural Kenya, running was a way of lie. I fell in love with running in 4th grade and made it to what’s equivalent to the state meet. As an adult now, running is not  only my job but a way to escape the world, it gives me so much joy and fulfillment. It’s my way of letting out stresses if everyday life.

How long have you dreamed of the Olympics?  

I have been dreaming of making the Olympics since 2010.

What does it mean to make the Trials?

Making the Olympic team will mean the world to me, as an immigrant, representing USA will be my way of showing gratitude to a country that has given me so much, and an incredible opportunity that I never dreamed of as a little girl.

What’s your goal for the Trials?

Win, Top 3, make the USA Olympic team

What do you think of the course?

Aliphine and HOKA NAZ teammates Kellyn Taylor and Stephanie Bruce

It’s an incredibly hard and relentless course

How has your training gone in the buildup for the Trials?  Did you do anything different because it’s the Trials? Do you feel extra pressure?

My training had gone well so far, we have had a few workouts on some rolling terrains, most of the pressure I feel is from within, I want to make the team, fulfill my dreams, make my country proud and continue to be a positive role model to kids especially girls from my village (show them that they don’t have to choose between school and running that they can successfully do both)

How long was your buildup?

9-10 wks

What was your highest mileage week? Your average week?

So far, about 120

What is your favorite workout?

Longer tempos (10-16 miles) and 20mile + long runs

How much sleep do you get a night?

6-8 hrs

Free Training Advice

Stephanie Bruce and Aliphine Tuliamuk via NAZ Elite Facebook

What one piece of advice would you give to a high school/ younger runner?

Listen you your body and coaches, don’t over do it in the training, too many miles for a younger athlete could be detrimental, most important fuel properly so you can keep your body healthy hence achieving your highest athletic goals

What one piece of advice would you give to a first-time marathoner?

Practice being on your feet longer. Do longer long runs and workouts to prepare your body for 26.2 miles

What one piece of advice would you give to a runner pursuing their dreams?

Remember your why’s at all times, and especially during the hard times

What would you be doing if you weren’t a pro runner?

I would be a nurse making a difference in my community

What is your favorite running memory?

Finishing a race in a stadium with roaring crowds during Bolder Boulder 10k

Who inspired you as a runner as a kid?

Tegla Loroupe

What is your race day routine?

Wake up, coffee + bagel, shower, head to the starts for warm-up

Why do you run?

It’s my job

It’s like a drug that I am addicted to

Running makes me feel more alive

More on Aliphine: ESPNW has a nice profile on Aliphine if you want to know more about her inspiring story

Previous HOKA ONE ONE Takes On The Trials Stories:
HOKA NAZ Elite Coach Ben Rosario Talks 2020 Marathon Trials Expectations, Shoe Technology, Jim Walmsley, & Even Galen Rupp

Update: Aliphine won the Olympic Marathon Trials. We had a podcast with her before the Trials and a podcast after the Trials.

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