HomeSportsSer-Od Bat-Ochir of Mongolia Returns to the World Championship

Ser-Od Bat-Ochir of Mongolia Returns to the World Championship

Long before Ser-Od Bat-Ochir became a renowned distance runner, he participated in the Hong Kong Marathon in 2002. At that time, Ser-Od had never run anything longer than 20 kilometers, even in training. Despite his lack of experience, he ran with a group of Kenyans in the early miles but quickly realized how challenging marathons can be. He initially didn’t want to run another marathon, but now, at 41 years old, Ser-Od is a five-time Olympian and has competed in 74 marathons for Mongolia.

This Sunday, with his wife and coach, Oyuntuya Odonsuren’s support, Ser-Od will participate in his 11th consecutive World Athletics Championships in the men’s marathon in Budapest. He has become a beloved figure in the marathon world, known for his resilience and positive demeanor. Ser-Od aspires to beat his personal best time and place in the top eight at a major marathon. He also has hopes of competing in the Paris Olympics next year.

In a recent interview, Ser-Od reflected on his journey, starting from his childhood in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Although he didn’t enjoy studying, he excelled in athletics and fell in love with running. Despite the lack of a running culture in Mongolia, Ser-Od dreamt of becoming an international athlete and sought advice from Haile Gebrselassie. Inspired by their meeting, Ser-Od continued to improve and achieved a top-10 finish at the 2011 London Marathon.

Training alone took a toll on Ser-Od, leading him to move to Japan with his family in 2014 and join a professional team. However, after the Tokyo Olympics, he found himself without sponsorship and believed his career was over. He reached out to his acquaintance, Brett Larner, who helped him secure a contract with a solar panel company that also had a women’s running team. Ser-Od is grateful for their support and hopes to repay their belief in him.

Although he faces challenges, such as the growing popularity of marathoning in Mongolia and the limited spots for major international competitions, Ser-Od is determined to make it to the Paris Olympics. Despite injuries and a slip in national ranking, Ser-Od was fortunate to earn the last spot for the World Athletics Championships due to a rival’s poor performance.

After years of hard work, Ser-Od’s journey is still ongoing, and he remains focused on achieving his goals.