Marko Cheseto is a Kenyan-born with a story filled with highs and lows. He began his career as a boy in Kapenguria with both his feet and without a scar.
His desire to shatter world records and headline international events as his role model Tegla Loroupe, who also adds up as his aunt got him recruited in the US.
Her aunt’s remarkable career where she became the first African woman to hold the world marathon record and win the New York City Marathon handed him a chance to represent the University of Alaska, where he ran the 5km and 10km.
But Cheseto still had that “Mtu wetu syndrome (Our people).” He convinced his coach to recruit his cousin William Ritekwiang. But the most unfo
He woke up after three days only to find his legs had frozen and developed a severe infection that left him amputated below the knee. And in a split second, he lost his feet – his life took a u-turn.
But the deep desire in him to break records was still blazing. In 2012 he made a comeback, though not as a regular athlete, but using walking prostheses. The move was to get over the trauma of losing his cousin.
“I was trying to find a purpose in life, something that I could be proud of,” he says. “And running was that.”
In 2013, Cheseto received running prostheses from the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). Each cost Ksh1.6 million.
In 2016 he tried taking part in the sprint event but he failed before switching lanes and ventured into marathon. His debut was the 2018 New York Marathon, before making another appearance in Boston in 2019.
“At first, running was for me. I wanted to do this for my own sanity,” Cheseto says. But he soon realized that other people related to what he had been through. “The only difference between me and so many people that I have talked to and have shared their pain is that mine is physical pain. I am not saying I don’t have internal struggles and pains just like everyone else … but my physical wounds helped people to feel comfortable sharing their pain,” he stated in one of his past interviews.
But now, Cheseto is among the most established complete athletes in the US.
He currently holds the fastest known time for a double-leg amputee: 2 hours 37 minutes and 23 seconds.
He’s hoping to extend his winning streak representing the US in the Boston marathon slated for Monday, October 11.
The future looks secure for Cheseto. As well as his job with prosthetics, sponsored by Össur and Nike.
Other than running, he works with amputees as a technician at Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates, a company that fits patients with prostheses and that he joined after receiving his own prosthetic care there for years.
“That ability to be able to help someone else get a walking or running leg was just so rewarding,” he stated.
rtunate thing happened that changed his life forever. His cousin took his life and Cheseto bore all the blame and guilt of not being there for him.
And slowly, depression set in, forcing him to depend heavily on antidepressants. One day after taking several pills,he went out to run only to collapse while in the woods.