Watch CBS News

Elite Runners Get Superstar Treatment At Hopkinton School

BOSTON (CBS) - A Boston Marathon tradition today for future marathoners in Hopkinton, where it all starts. And it comes with a cultural lesson honoring Kenya's best runners.

Ten elite runners from Kenya got a rock star welcome at Hopkinton's Elmwood Elementary school. It's part of the "Scholars and Stars" program, sponsored by John Hancock, which dates back to 1992 at the school.

Related: Boston Marathon Guide

The Kenyans visit the school just before the marathon, meet the children and inspire. "We try to tell them to work hard to try to achieve their dreams," says Wesley Korir, who won Boston's men's competition in 2012. "We want to show them we are so appreciative of the love that they show us, and make us feel at home," he adds.

The kids prepare for the visit for a long time. "We're learning their language, Swahili. Jambo means hello," says third grader Lauren Strechay.

They also study Kenya's culture, weather and geography. "It's really cool because we're the only class that gets to see them, and they get to see the posters we made for them," says Sean McCann, also a third grader.

Those posters cover classroom walls and the gym, where a pep rally of sorts was held. "Today you made us all feel like champions," says Korir, addressing several hundred students.

The kids sing songs in Swahili for their special guests and they all do a traditional dance. "Some of us, we started when we were young, so it's a way of motivating them," says Sharon Cherop who won the women's race in Boston in 2012.

The future marathoners even got a training lesson from the champions, running laps near the front of their school.

The Elmwood School also supports a charity called the Kenyan Kids Foundation. This year they raised $3600 to help children in that country.

WBZ-TV is proud to be your Boston Marathon station. We'll have full coverage of all aspects of the race on Monday, April 20th.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.