“Long Run Home:” Film Follows Kenya’s Wesley Kiptoo as He Journeys Home Before His Biggest Race Yet

A documentary film shows Hoka runner Wesley Kiptoo’s emotional journey home to Kenya before the 2023 Houston Half Marathon.

By on February 9, 2024 | Comments

If you’re looking for a short film to inspire your next long run, then look no further than “Long Run Home.” This must-watch documentary captures the essence of Kenya’s Wesley Kiptoo’s choice to pursue a career in running, and what it has taken both in sports and in life to get to where he is today, as well as what is to come for him.

Now, a member of the Hoka Northern Arizona Elite team, Kiptoo’s coaches emphasize the level of fearlessness that he possesses and demonstrate excitement for what his future holds.

Since leaving for the U.S. to attend school on an NCAA scholarship several years prior, Kiptoo had not been back to his home in the Cherang’any Hills, Kenya. As he amps up to compete in the biggest race of his career thus far, the 2023 Houston Half Marathon, he journeys back to his home country.

The film follows the emotions of the star road runner as he sets foot back in his country for the first time in five years. The rollercoaster of emotions Kiptoo experiences is apparent as he reunites with his family and the very ground he first set stride on.

Bustling with culture and emotion, you will get goosebumps as you watch Kiptoo be overwhelmed with gratitude for his experiences and success. But alongside this, Kiptoo struggles with heartbreak as he remembers some of what was left behind, as well as lost while he was away.

Kiptoo started his running journey with the support of the Transcend Running Academy in Kenya. While at home, he visits the academy to reunite with his first coach, as well as to encourage local running youth to keep working toward their running career goals. Providing them with insight into his experience, he explains the reality of what it takes to succeed in running.

Long Run Home - students of Transcend Running Academy

A scene from “Long Run Home” as the students of Transcend Running Academy listen to advice from Wesley Kiptoo. Photo: The Art of Documentary

One of the most touching parts of the documentary is when Kiptoo provides the people of his village with a special meal, which is made possible by his success, and explains that the purpose of his hard work was not only for himself, but for others. You can feel Kiptoo’s joy as he gives this gift to his community.

Kiptoo provides insight into the things he had to go without when living in the village and some of the struggles he and his people have experienced. He also talks about how his father helped and encouraged him to make his dreams come true, in spite of the reality of their situation. As a viewer, the touching scenes encourage self-reflection.

With a new level of gratitude and appreciation in his heart, Kiptoo toes the line of the Houston Half Marathon. This fast course often ends with record-breaking results and Kiptoo is prepared to show up for his community and himself.

You’ll be on the edge of your seat as the documentary wraps up, to see how the race unfolds.

And, in the end, you’ll also see Kiptoo show how the sport of running is as much about life as it is about the act of running.

Long Run Home - 2023 Houston Half Marathon startline

Wesley Kiptoo (front row, fourth from the right in orange and blue) lines up to start the 2023 Houston Half Marathon. Photo: The Art of Documentary

Amber Nelson

Amber Nelson is a writer, trail and obstacle course runner, and lover of travel and new experiences. She’s been writing about all things health and fitness for about three years and especially loves writing about about anything running related. Running changed Amber’s life when she stumbled into it after a 100 pound weight loss. In her free time you can find her planning upcoming travel, listening to an audio book while running in the foothills of Boise, Idaho, or slowly chipping away at her PhD in social psychology.