The Prospector’s Student-Athlete of the Month: Rodgers Korir

Senior+cross+country+captain+Rodgers+Korir+says+his+favorite+part+about+being+captain+is+to+see+his+team+improve+every+single+day.

Annabella Mireles

Senior cross country captain Rodgers Korir says his favorite part about being captain is to see his team improve every single day.

Alyson Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

Cross country is not only a physically challenging sport but also mentally demanding. UTEP senior cross country captain Rodgers Korir understands that fully, but he is does not shy away from a challenge. 

Korir was born and raised in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. He grew up from humble beginnings as one of eight children. His parents did not have jobs and they had to rely on family in order to survive. Everyone is a farmer in his hometown, but Korir is the first in his family to attend college and to receive a degree in civil engineering. 

“Where I come from, it is a place where athletes come from,” Korir said. “When I was a kid, we used to have to run 15 kilometers in the morning to get to school at 5:30 a.m. and then I ran in high school and that’s how I got a scholarship to UTEP. It kept me motivated since I began running when I was young, and I still run now.” 

After graduating this fall, Korir plans on getting a master’s degree and pursuing a career in structural engineering. He is currently applying to jobs here in the U.S. in order to gain experience. His dream is to return to Kenya and help advance structures and technology there.  

“In high school, I was the best in mathematics and physics,” Korir said. “I realized my passion and interest for civil engineering when I would watch the construction in my home country, and I realized I wanted to be a part of that.” 

Korir’s biggest inspiration to run cross country is his own father, who used to be an accomplished athlete himself. He had heard many stories of his father’s races, which gave Korir the epiphany that he could become a great runner as well.  

“Since I came here five years ago, UTEP is a cool place,” Korir said. “I like the people and the climate here. My classmates are the best and I really like all of my professors and instructors. I feel welcomed and comforted here in El Paso, more than I had felt in any other place.” 

In his running career, Korir’s biggest accomplishment is being the UTEP cross country team captain for the past three years. 

He likes to make sure everyone is close on the team and to listen to his teammates’ ideas on how to improve the team.   

“My favorite thing about running is when I start to feel the pain in my legs,” Korir said. “It pushes me to run faster. I want to outdo that pain and use it to make me better. My favorite part about being team captain is to see all of my teammates improve every single day. I love it when my teammates come to me for help and advice, I love to help everybody.” 

Korir and the UTEP cross country team recently won second place at the 2022 Conference USA Cross Country Championship Oct. 29, in Denton, Texas. Korir placed 19th. 

“I would like to thank UTEP for my scholarship and for providing the team everything that we need,” Korir said. “We would not be able to compete without them. I am also thankful to all of the coaches who have helped me perfect my running skills and my teammates and friends as well.” 

Most recently, the team went to New Mexico for the NCAA Mountain Regionals where it placed 13th out of 17 teams.

Alyson Rodriguez is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]; @alyson_rod1127 on Twitter.