When Seventh-day Adventist long-distance runner Abel Kirui crosses a finish line, he drops to his knees and bows his head, offering a prayer in celebration.
The whole world witnessed his gesture of gratitude this week when the 30-year-old Kenyan won the silver medal in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.
Kirui is also a consecutive repeat winner of the World Championship Marathon, winning the event in 2011 by the largest ever margin -- two minutes and 28 seconds. His personal record of a two-hour, five-minute marathon places him sixth among an elite community of long-distance runners.
In a sport where athletes often compete for personal gain or national recognition, Kirui says he finds motivation in bringing glory to God.
"Every race is an opportunity. What I tell God is, 'Wherever you place me, I will share you.' So every time I finish a race I say, 'Thank-you, God,'" Kirui says.
Raised in rural Kenya in what he affectionately calls a "humble" single parent home, Kirui says he learned to depend on God early in life. His mother, whom he cites as his biggest spiritual influence, encouraged him to attend church on Sabbath mornings. Today, he says his habit of early-morning prayer is an inheritance from her.
"I remember she would wake up in the wee hours to pray that we would choose whom we are going to serve in life," he says. "Now every morning I get up very early to pray and ask God to give me strength to run."
As a young boy, Kirui says he dreamed of a life beyond the local village.
Read more on news.adventist.org.