Lonah Chemtai Salpeter

Lonah Korlima Chemtai Salpeter (לונה צ'מטאי-סלפטר‎; born December 12, 1988) is a Kenyan-Israeli runner. She competed in the marathon for Israel at the 2016 Summer Olympics, and won the 10,000 metres 2018 European Athletics Championship. Her personal best time for the marathon is 2:17:45, which when she ran it in 2020 made her the 6th-fastest woman in the marathon in history, the second-fastest European all-time, and a new Israeli national record. She will represent Israel at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Lonah Chemtai Salpeter
Lonah Chemtai 1.jpg
Chemtai in 2018
Personal information
Birth nameLonah Korlima Chemtai
Full nameLonah Korlima Chemtai Salpeter
National teamIsrael
Born (1988-12-12) December 12, 1988 (age 32)
Height1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)[1]
Weight52 kg (115 lb)
Spouse(s)Dan Salpeter
Event(s)marathon, half marathon, 10,000 meters, 5000 meters
ClubMaccabi Tel Aviv
Coached byDan Salpeter
Achievements and titles
World finals2017
Marathon, 41st
Marathon, DNF
Olympic finals2016
Marathon, DNF
Personal best(s)


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing   Israel
2016 European Championships Amsterdam, Netherlands 40th Half marathon 1:15:22
Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil DNF Marathon
Berlin Marathon Berlin, Germany 11th Marathon 2:40:16
2017 European 10,000m Cup Minsk, Belarus 8th 10,000 m 33:20.16
World Championships London, United Kingdom 41st Marathon 2:40:22
2018 World Half Marathon Championships Valencia, Spain 12th Half marathon 1:08:58 NR
European 10,000m Cup London, United Kingdom 1st 10,000 m 31:33.03 NR
European Championships Berlin, Germany 1st 10,000 m 31:43.29
DQ 5000 m 15:01.02
Lisbon Half Marathon Lisbon, Portugal 2nd Half marathon 1:07:55 NR
Florence Marathon Florence, Italy 1st Marathon 2:24:17 NR
2019 Roma-Ostia Half Marathon Roma-Ostia, Italy 1st Half marathon 1:06:40 NR
Prague Half Marathon Prague, Czech Republic 2nd Half marathon 1:06:09 NR
Prague Marathon Prague, Czech Republic 1st Marathon 2:19:46 NR
European 10,000m Cup London, United Kingdom 2nd 10,000 m 31:15.78 NR
Tilburg 10K Tilburg, Netherlands 1st 10 km 30:05 ER
World Championships Doha, Qatar DNF Marathon
Frankfurt Marathon Frankfurt, Germany 4th Marathon 2:23:11
2020 Tokyo Marathon Tokyo, Japan 1st Marathon 2:17:45 NR

Early and personal lifeEdit

Chemtai was born in Kenya, a member of the tribe of Pokot of the Kalenjin, and grew up in a small village without electricity or running water in West Pokot County in western Kenya.[5][6][7] She came to Israel in 2008, as a nanny for the children of Kenya's Ambassador to Israel living in Herzliya.[5][8][6][7]

Chemtai met Israeli running coach Dan Salpeter in 2011, and the two fell in love, and married in 2014.[8][9][10][7] The couple's son, Roy, was born in December 2014.[8][6] The family lived in moshav Yanuv, in central Israel, and now lives in Shoham in central Israel.[11][7] Chemtai was granted Israeli citizenship in March 2016, eight years after she began living in Israel, a few days before the cut-off to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.[12][9]

Running careerEdit

Her husband, an Israeli former middle-distance and mountain runner, is also her coach.[13][14] In her youth she ran shorter distances, and she began running the marathon only after 2014.[6] Her club is Maccabi Tel Aviv.[7]


Chemtai came in first among the women in the 2016 Tel Aviv Marathon in 2:40:16, almost five minutes below the qualification time for the 2016 Olympics.[8][13]

Chemtai competed for Israel at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the marathon.[15][16][17] By the 30th kilometer, her time put her in the top half of the runners, ranking her approximately 90th.[18] She left the race at the 33rd kilometer.[18] She explained on Facebook: “Unfortunately, I was forced to stop by a shoulder problem. As you all know, I’m still nursing my 20-month-old son. During my training in Kenya, I tried to stop, but it caused me pain and a shoulder problem due to running with breasts full of milk. This limited me in the European championships in Amsterdam (a half-marathon) and happened again today. I promise to attain respectable achievements in the future and am going forward with head held high.”[18]

In the 2017 London World Championship Marathon, she ran a 2:40, coming in 41st.[7]


Salpeter, center, at the 2018 European Athletics Championships

In May 2018 she won the 2018 European 10,000m Cup in London, with a time of 31:33.03, a new Israeli national record.[19] In July 2018 she won the 1500 m at the Israeli National Championships with a time of 4:11.69.[19]

On August 8, 2018, Chemtai won the 10,000 meters 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin with a time of 31:43.29.[20][21][19] She became the first Israeli athlete to win a gold medal at the championships.[7] On August 12, 2018, Chemtai miscounted the number of laps in a race and stopped a lap early by mistake in the final of the 5,000 meters 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin in which she had been in close second place, depriving her of a medal.[22][7][23]

On November 25, 2018, she won the Florence Marathon, setting an Israeli national record and course record of 2:24:17.[24] It was only her fifth marathon.[7] As of November 2018 she also held Israeli national records for 1,500, 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 meters, as well as the half marathon.[25]

In March 2019, she won the Roma-Ostia Half Marathon in Rome, Italy, with a time of 1:06:40.[26] In April 2019 she came in second in the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon in Prague, with a time of 1:06:09.[19] On May 5, 2019, she won the Prague Marathon, with a course record 2:19:46 time, clocking the 24th-best time for a woman in that distance in history, the third-best European time ever, and a new Israeli national record.[27]

In July 2019 she won a silver medal in the 2019 European 10,000m Cup in London, with an Israeli national record of 31:15.78.[26] In September 2019, she broke the European record in 10K by 17 seconds, with a time of 30:05, which is the second-best time in history[28]

On September 28, she ran the women's marathon at the IAAF World Championships in Doha.

In March 2020, Chemtai won the women's event at the Tokyo marathon with a time of 2:17:45, setting a new record in the women's race.[29] She will represent Israel at the 2020 Summer Olympics.[30]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "KORLIMA Lornah Chemtai - Olympic Athletics" | Israel. Rio2016.com.
  2. ^ https://www.european-athletics.org/records/season=0/type=0/category=S/index.html#. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ https://www.european-athletics.org/records/season=0/type=0/category=S/index.html#. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ https://www.european-athletics.org/records/season=0/type=0/category=S/index.html#. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Kenyan-Born Lonah Chemtai to Represent Israel in Rio Marathon". The Jewish Press. Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  6. ^ a b c d Lewis, Ori. (2016-07-19) "Kenyan-born runner Chemtai going the distance for Israel". Reuters. Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The mom who beat the odds, and the bureaucrats, to become Israel's top runner" | The Times of Israel
  8. ^ a b c d Solomon, Shoshanna. (2016-03-12) "Tel Aviv's Kenyan-born marathon winner in race against time to run for Israel in Rio". The Times of Israel. Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  9. ^ a b "Israeli Olympic profiles: Lonah Korlima Chemtai" - Israel News - Jerusalem Post. Jpost.com (2016-07-31). Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  10. ^ "Lonah Chemtai: Who’s That Kenyan Brightening Israel’s Chances In Rio 2016?" | The Daily Voice. Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  11. ^ "Kenyan-born runner Chemtai going the distance for Israel" | The Star, Kenya. The-star.co.ke (2016-07-20). Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  12. ^ "Kenyan-born runner Chemtai going the distance for Israel". The Star (Kenya). Reuters. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  13. ^ a b Pileggi, Tamar. (2016-03-17) "After legal battle, Kenyan runner gets Israeli citizenship". The Times of Israel. Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  14. ^ Lonah Chemtai "Salpeter: I love running because…"| iaaf.org
  15. ^ Lewis, Ori (19 July 2016). "Kenyan-born runner Chemtai going the distance for Israel". Reuters. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  16. ^ Talshir, Uri (17 March 2016). "Kenyan-born Runner Wins Race to Attain Israeli Citizenship". Haaretz. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Tel Aviv's Kenyan-born marathon winner in race against time to run for Israel in Rio". Times of Israel. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  18. ^ a b c "Breastfeeding Was Downfall of Israeli Marathon Runner at Rio Olympics". Haaretz (2016-08-20). Retrieved on 2016-08-26.
  19. ^ a b c d Lonah Chemtai SALPETER | Profile | iaaf.org
  20. ^ "Salpeter Makes European Championships History For Israel"
  21. ^ "Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter wins gold at European Championships". Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  22. ^ European Championships: "'Keep going!' - Salpeter stops a lap early in 5,000m" - BBC Sport
  23. ^ "Israeli athlete stops running too soon, misses a second medal at European games" | The Times of Israel
  24. ^ "Salpeter clocks 2:24:17 course record in Florence". www.iaaf.org. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  25. ^ "Israeli woman wins Florence marathon, smashing national record" | The Times of Israel
  26. ^ a b "Lonah Chemtai SALPETER"
  27. ^ "Lonah Salpeter wins Prague marathon with 2:19:45, setting amazing Israeli record (3rd best European runner ever, 24th worldwide), Olympic minimum and course record," Walla.
  28. ^ Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai smashes European women's 10K record
  29. ^ Kano, Shintaro (1 March 2020). "Osako Suguru breaks Japan record in Tokyo Marathon". Olympic Channel.
  30. ^ "Israeli runner breaks European record for women's 10K". The Times of Israel. 1 September 2019.

External linksEdit