Sharon Laibich, Grambling State University’s long distance runner and 2021 Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships MVP, believes that her greatest achievement to date is the ability to inspire.
Last spring Laibich won gold in the 3000 meters steeplechase and 5000 meters, silver in the 400 meter race and bronze in the 800 meters, earning herself the coveted title of Southwestern Athletics Championships MVP. However, Laibich believes that her greatest and biggest achievement is being an inspiration to her siblings and peers back home in Kenya.
“Please don’t find me strange or ungrateful of these accolades,” she said. “I’m proud of these prizes, but my biggest win has been the ability to inspire.
“By getting to Grambling, being in the States, I have proved to my siblings, who have been in need of some kind of light since the passing away of our mother, that if you apply yourself there is no limit to the heights you can reach,” Laibich said.
“Just the other day I was on the phone with my brother and he was telling me how he was applying extra effort in his studies so that he at least acquires an academic scholarship to study abroad. Before I came here he didn’t have aspirations of broadening his horizons like that,” said Laibich, with a beaming smile on her face.
Her relationship with running is one that dates back to her childhood years. In the environment she grew up, swift was the pace at which everything was done.
“The environment and culture within I was raised dictated that I run a lot, particularly when sent by an elder on a certain errand For example, when fetching water from the stream, movement to and from had to be swift or risk punishment for disrespect,” she said.
Laibich said it was such strictness and discipline that laid a foundation for her athletic career, a career that would also take care of her educational costs.
“Athletics put me through high school, and acquiring a scholarship to come study here at Grambling State University, I owe it all to my ability to run,” she said.
Laibich draws inspiration from Jamaican Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt.
“What I took home from Usain’s story is that he trained for 20 years to win his race in just over nine seconds. His story taught me that I have to apply myself the most in preparation and training then automatically my moment will come,” she said.
“I also draw a lot of inspiration from my current coaches. Their commitment and passion for the sport has had a positive influence on me both as an athlete and as a human being,” Laibich said.
In spite of the challenges that come with moving to a new country and continent, topped with the ongoing pandemic, Laibich is excited about the forthcoming athletics season. “I can’t wait to be on the track and road competing again,” she said rubbing her hands in anticipation.
“I spent the whole summer training and conditioning myself for the new season. This season I am going for the National Collegiate Athletic Association MVP and of course I have to defend my Southwestern Athletics Conference Championships MVP title,” she said.