Jackline Maranga is unusual among the great Kenyan runners because she is one of only a few successful athletes from outside the Kalenjin ethnic groups who have dominated Kenyan running since pre-independence era.
Maranga is a Kisii, from the western part of Kenya. Kisii, like Kalenjin, is a hilly area. Densely populated, the region's principle crops are tea and maize, just like the Kipsigis and Nandi sections of Kalenjin.
Maranga attended Nyameosocho primary school before proceeding to Kiomiti secondary. There, she met Philip Mosima, who later won a World junior cross country title, and Thomas Osano, another distance runner who excelled.