Running To The Future

Nov. 13, 2007

The following story was written by Nick Compton and published in the Daily Iowan Tuesday, November 13.

It is 6:30 a.m. in the heart of the Midwest, and Diane Nukuri is running. With a stride almost poetic in its consistency, she flows up and down the rolling hills of Iowa City as the cozy college town yawns around her. She glides down narrow, freshly swept streets, past coffeehouses, book shops, and apartment complexes, all with just-bundled newspapers resting on their doormats. She runs alone, embracing the quiet solitude of the early morning and savoring the fresh, raw air. It’s a ritual she repeats nearly every day. The 22-year-old Olympian doesn’t venture far; once she’s cleared her head and broken a light sweat, she stops.

“Distance runners need quiet,” says Nukuri, the record-shattering Iowa cross-country and track standout with a past as calm as a nuclear blast.

Here’s is the story that Hollywood script writers would drool over. A life defined by soaring accomplishments, treacherous villains, and harrowing plot twists. From the blood-soaked, war-torn hills of Burundi to the well-mowed lawns and smiling neighbors of the Corn Belt, her story is Oscar material. And just like a fairy-tale plot line, Nukuri’s tumultuous life, streaked with conflict, includes an unflinching savior: her stride. It earned her a spot in the 2000 Olympics, bought her a plane ticket to America, and very well could have saved her life.

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