The Middle Tennessee State University and Murfreesboro communities are mourning the loss of one of their own.
Geoffry Cheruiyot was killed in an accident Thursday in Cocke County on Interstate 40 when, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, he was struck by a bus.
Cheruiyot recently graduated from MTSU and was a member of the track and field and cross country teams for four years. He moved here from Eldoret, Kenya and majored in public health.
“Geoffrey was a great leader in his community at home in Kenya as well as in the Middle Tennessee athletic program,” said Head Coach Dean Hayes. “He was a very lovable, fun-loving, dedicated and likeable guy among the team. He was a hard worker on and off the field which showed in his two NCAA appearances in the men’s steeplechase event.”
Hillary Rono, his former roommate, teammate and friend, said he was heartbroken by the news of his friend’s death.
“He was so passionate about running and wanted the best for everyone, not only for his family, but the best for the community at large,” said Rono.
Rono has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral expenses for the service in Kenya, and to help pay for flights to Africa for Cheruiyot’s siblings, who are also students at MTSU.
In addition to his talents as an athlete, Cheruiyot volunteered as a translator for African refugees living in Murfreesboro.
“I think Geoffry would want to be remembered as a team player, remembered as the person with a very big heart full of love. He loved people,” said Kellee Inskeep, who worked closely with Cheruiyot with refugee families.
Inskeep said he took the time to spend two nights a week with some of the refugee children, teaching them about running.
“He was their hero. He loved all the children, always encouraging, always pushing them to do better and be kind,” said Inskeep.
A memorial service was held at the MTSU campus Sunday.