HOPKINTON (CBS) – Students at Elmwood Elementary School in Hopkinton met Thursday with several visitors from the heart of Africa: world-class Kenyan runners who will compete in Monday’s running of the Boston Marathon.

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The Kenyans received a welcome worthy of rocks stars in the school’s auditorium, with flashing lights and a stirring soundtrack. The men’s 2012 Boston Marathon champion, Wesley Korir, was given an extended introduction that explained how he had used some of his prize money to open a medical clinic in his village.

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The 2012 women’s champion, Sharon Cherop, who ran the 26.2-mile race in just under 2 hours and 32 minutes, brought her 4-year-old daughter to Elmwood Elementary.

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Elmwood teacher Tom Keane said he was impressed with the Kenyan runners’ warm and accessible attitude with the students. “They’re world-class athletes but they truly care about the kids when they come in and interact with them, and you don’t see that necessarily all the time in American sports,” he said.

Christina Hager