Tallahassee, FL - As the youngest sister in the family, Violah Lagat watched and heard about her older siblings success on the track. But she is no longer the baby in the group, which includes five sisters and three brothers. It's now her time to prove she can run with them, too.
She's learning that having the last name Lagat has an upside.
"When I moved here everyone was like 'Oh my God, you're Bernard Lagat's sister? I need to take a picture with you!' And I was like 'Oh, okay,'" she said.
Bernard Lagat holds a half a dozen American indoor and outdoor track records (1500m, 3000m, 5000m).
But he's far from the only family member decorated in first place medals.
Their oldest sister, Mary Chepkemboi, won the 3000m at the 1984 African Championships.
Robert Cheseret, who was a runner at the University of Arizona, was the first athlete to be named Track Athlete of the Year in the Pac-10 three times.
"They told me that there were times where they had pains and aches and everything," said Violah, who was an NJCAA All-American last year at Central Arizona. "There were times when they were stressed with schoolwork and everything. But they try to help me out as much as they can. So, they've been really helpful since I moved here to Florida."
Since she joined the Seminoles track team, she's been a major asset. She placed seventh at Pre-Nationals a couple of weeks ago.
But there is always a reminder in practice of being better.
"When my coach tells me all the time and she says you have great potential of being like your brother," Violah said. "And so I feel it's really tough for me because everyone looks at me like I'm gonna be like my brother and, yeah, it's tough."
However, she says it only pushes her to be a part of the family legacy.
"It's like an inspiration because if you're from a family that's been doing great, you want to be like them," she said. "And so I look at myself and say they've been here and as part of the family I want to be where they've been."
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