Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or the gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running (African proverb).
It’s difficult to find a more suitable proverb than the one reported above for the history of Yout Macharia. His race started at the age of 9 years, in the south of Sudan.
His country saw the outbreak of the civil war. The war reported over 2 millions of deaths. Other millions of Sudanese people had to flee their homes. There were also more than 20,000 Sudanese youth, the “Lost Boys”, among them who left their villages and started a great escape from Sudan to the refugee camps in Kenya, in a distance of over 1600 km.
Yout was nine years old and he found himself running day after day in the knowledge that the race could save his life, preventing him from slavery or death.
Almost half of the “lost boys” fell along the path, for illness, hunger or thirst.
Yout, however, reached the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
In 1999, United States offered a house to Yuot and to other thousands of “lost boys”, in an aid program to the Sudanese refugees.
Yuot was brought to Philadelphia to attend the West Catholic High School. He began to devote himself to athletics and then he went on to attend the Widener University.
Here he had a successful career, becoming champion of the National Association of University Athletics (NCAA) 6 times in the cross-country race, in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
His talent was such that the morning after he won the championship of the Third Division cross-country race in Ohio, he soon abandoned the ceremony to fly to Philadelphia and attend the Philadelphia Marathon.
Here he obtained the sixth place with a time of 2:25:39.
After the college, Macharia participated in many competitions including the Twin Cities Marathon, where he qualified for the Olympic trials, a few weeks after becoming an American citizen.
He reached the 33rd position at the Olympic Trials with a fabulous time of 02:18.
Unfortunately, before he could groped to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics, he suffered an injury that ended his racing career.
Currently Yout Macharia (31 years), however, is engaged in charitable initiatives in favor of his village in Sudan. His organization is called Sorghum Fields Project. Here Yout combines sport and solidarity and he is a constant example for the youth of his country.
Life is a journey. And the journey of Macharia Yuot is measured in miles, the miles that he walked, the miles that he run, and, above all, the miles that lie before him.