04/14 Another article promoting Iten; the Home of Champions. Actually the village that is where they live is just outside of Iten - Mindililwo, that is...
But London was Kenya's day... again. And the big question is where will all the winners end up? NYC?
04/13 London Marathon - two stories. 1. from a Kenyan interest the First Lady ran, raised awareness for kids health, did something fantastic by finishing.
2. Mo Farah - the biggest media name and personality in long distance running. A very solid start but of course global disappointment to the media, and of course to him, me too because I believe even on a bad day Mo should run 2:07. Of course he has a future of a time much faster - when you run the marathon if you survive an under par day and run 2:08 in such a race that is a success.
Everyone is an armchair clinic, of course, the only suggestion (from knowing so little) is I heard that Geoffrey's tarining was being reduced before the NYC half, and that was a mistake for him... but more than that the travel from both of them to go from Kenya, to NYC, then back to Kenya, train then to London was probably not the best travel plan in terms of the top preps... just a thought. Wilson Kipsang stayed home. PS: Amazing run by Wilson though...
04/12 A ha - I always wondered how Soles4Souls.org operated... and I was doing some research to look at their business model and I discovered the story. You donate shoes to them, and they sell them. Works? Hm. This is a very interesting read to those who asked me, "Why can Soles4Sould.org take my shoes when you are asking me to send your own?" Read on -- LINK.And further reading. LINK 2 Right now I am working hard on the balance of how to get funds to take Shoe4Africa up to the next step.
Meanwhile Soles4Souls have a new plan; instead of collecting shoes and selling them in the USA they now give to peeps to sell in the third world. Am learning about this plan as the subject intrigues me... I still like our model better, but it does not make money.
04/08 Moses Kiptanui's new supermarket - in Eldoret on the Iten road...
The King of Steeple and his new work gig!
04/07 Mo at London... running on a cause.
04/03 Headcount -- at the hospital site alone, with construction, we have 70-workers. I know because I have just had them all come for a soda at the site office. I have been blessed that we have a really hard working team of humble people who come early in the morning and work all day long, often in the hot sun.
I am truly honored to be a part of this project. I still can't believe in August we were ground breaking and laying a foundation stone, yet today I was putting the very first aluminum window in an actual wooden frame! The third floor is being constructed!
At the dinner table last night I got a 'book title' from Mo Farah - if I use it I will credit him for it. We were discussing books as he has one out. And Alberto was telling us stories from the runners of the golden era and his thoughts around the Moscow Olympics. He was very modest saying that he would not have done so much had he gone as he was qualified for the 10,000m in those Games.
In Eldoret again, I am at the site checking emails and seeing more runners expressing an interest to sign up and run with us for the Hospital fund raiser.
This morning I attended the opening of Moses Kiptanui's new Supermarket - congrats! Then work, then lunch with Harish who is the contractor for this hospital project. We were going over cost cutting which has become my #1 focus right now!
04/01 Never realized Alberto Salazar was in Kenya 34-years ago training. Inspiring to see him and Mo working as a team in Iten.
I have been in Kenya a couple of weeks and not run a single step. So busy, so many differing avenues... This is a new world for me - since my accident I have been here twice, not one mile has been clocked. Who would have thought it!
Okay, now "everyone" is here. I am sitting in the glass lounge overlooking the office in Iten and I see a man I recognize as Alberto Salazar (I met him once a few years ago) climb out of the taxibus. He's here for a three week trip leading up to London to help Mo Farah. He's just arrived and soon after jumped into the LandCruiser (Ezekiel Kemboi's) to go on a long run with Mo, Abdi and Bashir... that is commitment! It is a long flight from Portland.
But I suddenly thought about it and low and behold in Iten we have almost every Gold Medallist from London 800m up, only for the marathon do we "only" have the Silver and the Bronze... but Stephen Kiprotich is ironically only in the next village - and topically the village where I am now headed for the toilet project!
Thanks for the great response by people emailing in wishing to run the marathon to support Shoe4Africa - looks like we will have a full team! This is great and really makes me happy. I am multi-tasking at the hospital, just had a look at the new CDM Indiana funded building and talking with the Project Manager Michael G - an American who is really helpful. I am paying school fees (late) for Mercy who got an A in the last exam. Checking hinges, if you can get the type we want here... and on top of this jumping on the email to answer a deluge of mails.
I started the day with a nice breakfast talking to Mo - he still has the video of when I got his daughter to jump in the pool for a 200-shilling bet - years fly my gosh! Lornah and Pieter were here, they are driving to Eldoret and going to meet Alberto Salazar who is coming here in a couple of days. We have a nice bunch of people right now. Taoufik, the Olympic 1500 champ, gave me a pineapple - he's doing a lot of gym work right now, it is a small but good motivated group. And we have a group of people from other circles and groups. Nice energies. A German woman doing research for her thesis on why Kenyan runners are so good (I did point out that a huge area of Kenya has no good runners - think coast, think North East), and talking of marginalized areas I hear that Paul Ereng is here in one month, he won the Olympics back in 1988 and remains the only Turkana to ever win an Olympic medal. Of course they have a Commonwealth Games marathon champion...
03/25 This is Kenya; what am I doing here? So let me give you yesterday. I did not sleep but about five hours interrupted as my head is buzzing with so much. I keep a jotterpad by my bed and keep on scribbling notes of things to do. At 6:30 I get out of bed despite the fact I now, finally feel sleepy.
I am staying at the High Altitude Training Centre; a most interesting place. Last night I had dinner with the Olympic 1500m Men's 2012 Champion and he told me how he dreamed, and how his dreams came true... ""even I promised myself by the age of 24 I must have a car. Then, I would have never guessed, but I won the Olympics and was given a free one!" I know have a place to stay in Algeria, "I maybe pick you up in my plane if I keep dreaming!" Nice guy.
So I rush breakfast as I have to drive 40km to drop off the car at the garage as it has been laying still since January. In fact I had to get a water leak fixed yesterday too. I arrive at the garage and the mechanic offers to drop me at the hospital which is 800m away before he services.
I then go to the Director's office, I have to open an email to find a phone number for a call I have with the Head of GE for Africa at 11am. Disaster, the Internet system is down. I call IT and they suggest I run to the shop and buy a model (a job that would take an hour and I have another meeting inbetween. It takes over half an hour to open that email but I manage!
I then go to the finance meeting to review payments and payments pending, talking with the head of finance and learning that the hospital was brought up at a special cabinet meeting a couple of weeks ago when the cabinet celebrated one year of service in the new government. I review all payments that need to be paid and look at the problems of what I need to get this done.
Next up I have a phone conference with the Head of GE. It was supposed to be an in-person meeting but as we are 5hrs apart we decide on a call. It is a great call; he has not yet heard of the initiative and we have a good talk, and plan on continued talks. I learn that Nelson Mandela children's is now starting -- that will be Sub Saharan's THIRD public children's -- We are Number two!
Now I go to the meeting with the hospital PR where we review avenues to get local and national support. Looking at a picture I see a politician that Aruasa says was present at our ground breaking. So we call him up as we need him, as a former assistant finance minister to do some things. We also strategize on how to involve the First lady and the Deputy President's wife in this project - studying their health objectives, directions and the whatnots. This meeting leads into the afternoon and we drive to the space where we are looking for a future Shoe4Africa Office.
Two years ago we got a kind donation that is designated for our first office, we still need a bit more before it can become a reality. We drive around, it is in an aera where many runners live, like Geoffrey Mutai, Edna Kiplagat, in fact David Rudisha owns the nearby land. In fact number two is we have to climb over Eunice Sum's new compound wall to look at the land.
Then I have to go to the driving centre to renew my license as it is a week from expiring. However the place is jam packed beyond, and rememberign I am yet to eat I decide to get a drink of jiuce. Sitting at the restaurant teh Head of Eldoret Lions Club comes and talks, he offers for me to join the Lions and we talk about some projects and some possible synergies. Ithen get a call from a member of parliament she wants to meet, so does Abel Kirui, so I tell them the same restaurant. Another restuarant later I am talking about some problems I need solving with the hospital with the MP and who is there but not Abel (who I had lunch with yesterday) but 2008 Olympic 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop. He introduces me to Gilbert Kipchoge whom I don't know but my friend Jonas tells me he ad the African record in the 800m before Rudisha - fast runners.
Now I drive back to pick the car. I pay the bill and the mechanic leaves as I am waiting for Songok to give him a ride back to Iten as he's been home for the day to visit his wife in Kapsabet. I decide to drive towards the direction that Songok is walking when I hear he is coming my way. Very strange, my fuel gauge has gone from 1/4 tank to absolute empty. I think it odd but drive down the road. I go 100-meters before the oil warning light comes on. Super odd -- it has just had a full service. Then all the STOP THIS CAR lights come on just as I see Songok so I pull over to a gas station.
Sure enough no oil! Then I see no water, then I see the wheels have not been balanced, infact the tyre pressure is way low on two tyres. Hm. I call back the mechanic just as I see Chelimo's friend Genevieve stop out of the shop. We wait 40-minutes for the mechanic to come back who suggests we buy some oil - I just want my money back. After a few arguements he agrees and we drive back to the car yard. Then the games begin, sitting on the phone, no money, garage has shut. "Do what you can do!" he challenges me! He has spoken with the wrong man. In two minutes I have the area Member of parliament, the Depity Governor of Eldoret and Moses Kiptanui giving me directions and Genevieve asking Moses' for the cell number of the Director of this technical institute (Rift Valley Tech Institute). The MP sends hsi men, Moses turns up, I have the deputy on the phone, we have a teacher coming to confirm... then I find out that the watchman has now informed us the car went missing for five hours from the garage!
At the gas station a man nearly gets knocked by a reversing car, it is the Olympic Steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi. We lock my car and Moses' lends us a car to have the drive home. It is now pouring, the roads are terrible, and it takes an hour to get back home. At 9 pm we go looking for food... I have some mails to answer... this is me working in Kenya.
03/23 Today Abel Kirui, the double world champion, came to visit with his wife Stella. He's back in training and aiming for the Berlin 25km. I am working on some things for our education program with him. We had lunch with Julien and Hassan who has been coming here for years and was #2 in the European XC Champs. Then also talking with politicians who were visiting on some other things, and sending in a proposal for building materials. It's a Sunday - no rest and I feel totally worn out. Dead tired. Meanwhile it is Mo Farah's birthday, so the kitchen are making him a cake.
Meanwhile in Kenya... the airline food got even smaller, good job I ate well before two flights.
Back in Kenya to do my Hospital (building) work. I walk into the club and Mo Farah, Abdi (Dutch), and Taoufik (Olympic 1500m champ) are there by the fireplace. First time I have seen Mo since the accident but it was me wondering if he was ok from his fall in NYC accident on Sunday. (he's great). Furthermore the First Lady of Kenya is here preparing for her charity run at the London Marathon. I was talking with her team of Doctors (one of whom whose wedding I attended a few weeks ago). Talking medical: Coming soon pictures from the site... Bills to pay, work to be done... (trying) Getting the Job done.
Then I bump into Pieter & Lornah and Douglas Wakiihuri - a former London/NYC Marathon winner and Kenya's first World Marathon Champion. In the old days the talk was on running; today it is about what we can do in other ways. Dealing with KRA issues.
I have been working on a number of interesting projects here - paint, tax, GE, leads and more. Plus, whilst here, I get to the do the shoe part! Thanks to all who have sent -- I see your names as I unload the shoes... a dusty dirty job where the reward is the image of the people running in them. Those who include email addresses I am trying to thank.
03/18 Where did the day go? I got up at six am and have been siting on the computer till now... 10:00 pm answering a line of emails. Never ending, everything I hit refresh there is more... my only break was running to the store to buy some broccoli to eat. Funny thing, this morning feels as distant as yesterday. AS usual a trunk load of things going on at the hospital site...
03/17 Firstly condolences to the family of Pamela Lisoreng who sadly passed two days ago in Eldoret. She ran in the Shoe4AFrica races and was in the top ten back in 2006 placing eighth.
Yesterday was the NYC Half Day. The night before we had a pasta party at Tony's house and it was great to meet our fab team and put faces next to the names of those who signed up for our team. I got home and jumped straight to work, tried to lie down but I was buzzing with jobs and worked the whole night.
Early in a (freezing cold) morning I went out to cheer on the runners and I stood with with my friend George Hirsch who is the chairman of the NYC Marathon, with Amy and coach Jon. Then we started cheering and stood til the very last runner (walked) past. Great to see all the runners zipping along, it was like going to a re-union in and seeing faces I hadn't seen in a long time.
Funny the day before I was with George up at the Dance School on 147th st and he asked me who I thought would win and I said Geoffrey Mutai based on a little coaching notion I had of thought, then on the race morning I told him Sally was the one to watch in the women...
I did have plans to go to the finish and watch with Lornah Simba Kiplagat (who told me about the sad Mo Farah incident hope he is ok #link) but because we stayed to the very last runner we missed that part! However that instead got us invited to a nice lunch with Susan McCue who had run her first half with us for S4Africa. Susan was Harry Reid's chief of staff and indeed his granddaughter was running on our team too in her first half... it was a nice lunch at the Marc on 77th & Madison. Congrats to S4A team - all starters finished. Meanwhile at the very next table sat These peeps! Diane Pernet who was dressed so bizarrely it looked like we were in the East Village where I was on Saturday morning with Global Kobal. ps: do not think I knew who she was... but she made a big entrance.PS: Technical probs.I have a 2004 Dell computer that is slowly falling to pieces. The space bar has now broken which is making this blog post much shorter than it is supposed to be!
Sally Kipyego, Haron Lagat Luke Kipkosgei and... random shot with a giraffe, in Kenya!
03/14 I like this quote: In each of our decisions lies our power to make a positive difference.....
So last night I was riding the subway home about 9pm, and I had a long day. I was up at 6 AM working on Hospital stuff, exchange rates, lack of promised support and all the rest of it. I had a long day and just had a nice interview with Ally who had come to midtown to meet to offer to help S4A in some ventures. A long call with my partner (all good) when I was almost daydreaming on the subway... a homeless guy came on and gave his spiel and he said, "I'm asking for help as I want to keep myself out of trouble. Anything you can give would be a help." Goodness is contagious - we were all pulling all sorts of things out of our pockets, what we did not need at that moment and what he did need - we all made a positive difference.
Back in 2010 when I finished the run from Mombasa to the top of Kilimanjaro these two young kids were waiting for me at the Eldoret Airport. They sang me a special poem and this picture has little fancy bits like grass stuck on the paper. Goodness is indeed contagious.
03/13 Harlem was full of booms yesterday, not good. You know when you are in a Swedish village with 160 people and you hear a boom you go to the window rushing. When it happens in Harlem you don't even glance when that boom happens. Then you read on the news that two five storey buildings collapsed! Wow. very sad and so often these things happen in the areas of need for good things (link).
Thanking my Shoe4Africa Half Marathon Team - a small but exclusive team! Anthony, Joy, Susan, Scott, Josh, Melissa, Sydney, Veronica, Raymond, Coach Jon, Nate! Hats off to you for running. I am not used to being the person who is not running on the team... but this year I will be. Planning to be on 110th ST with George Hirsch, a long time S4A Supporter, and the Chairman of the New York Road Runners. I will be supporting my PEPSI Shoe4Africa Shirt and shouting till I am hoarse.
Want to run the TCS New York City Marathon? Please do and run for a great cause!
Too funny! Liked this one.
Check out the new images on www.shoe4africa.org ~ Love it. working on the web today was starting with a call with Jon and Urban, then with Chelimo working on image pics, then photoshop ing and boom, you can check out the results with a great opening shot by www.mikekobal.com of those women run in Kenya.
On that note the First lady of Kenya completed her first half marathon in three hours ~ big congrats to her and she is running for Children's health. [link] and you can see the President greet her on the finish line.
Today I have an early meeting with another good connection - you know you have to push like the wind itself to get any results in the competitive world of charity work. In a way this blog is actually a story of doing the work, except I am lazy writing all the stuff down... life! PS: it is the computer that makes all the grammatical mistakes; not me.
03/10 Having missed the entire Winter Olympics on TV, did not even know the World Indoor champs were taking place, prove I am way out of the loop - running is back seating...Back to
03/03--- [had a time out] Twas a great week -- lots happening. 03/03 a day to remember [unforgettable] and the ensuing days brought a lot of fun. All over the city, catching up with good biz contacts and a big change in Shoe4Africa! As of this month we will be having two staff members, one of which being me, and the other being Chelimo. Here's a bit of her bio that I wanted to put on the S4A page but there is not (yet) space - I was born into a political family who fought hard for the Kalenjins in rural Rift Valley. My mother was the Chairlady of Kenya’s national women’s development – Maendeleo ya Wanawake; while my father was the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and spent 5 years in prison for securing 3000 acres of land for disadvantaged Kalenjins in 1973. So from a young age charity and human rights were part of my upbringing.
Anyway the S4A board fully supports this change and we are really excited - hope you will support us too as the major events of the Hospital Building opening start to come about...
Meanwhile in the running world, I have not a clue what is going on. I had a week of non-running. The weather is not conducive to such things.
Rather sad I met the man, Dan, who was my witness... he told me the story of how I was left lying in the road with cars swerving to drive round me. Such is life...
03/02 Good interview about Carl Lewis who is in Kenya right now. [link]
Carl Lewis had an absolutely amazing unparalleled life. I am sure many sports people can learn a tremendous amount from reading into his words. On Friday I went to meet a friend of mine who is a very successful entrepreneur and it was quite surprising she was asking me questions about myself whose answers I did not know. I don't think the Q's were very original, in fact I had heard them, but never really answered them for myself. In ways I was thinking I am in a transitional part of my life, but in others I am thinking when haven't I been. And isn't that journalism at its best? When you read an article and it makes you think, beyond the words.
Beyond words is an amazing story about the richest tenant buy out in NYC - apparently $17-million if you can believe it, by a self quoted man who "wasted his life." Read more [link]
And lastly on reading I finally finished the Rosa Parks biography that I really enjoyed. A very humble lady who stood up for what she believed in. The book got better and better with some insights to Martin Luther King and his Gandhi peace philosophy of protest only through peace.
02/28 There is a saying , like I will eat my own shoe or something, or is it words? Well what happened yesterday but it was a brutally cold day. I left the apartment to go to the bank. So cold that I started jogging - lo and behold I ran there and stopped. Did my banking and came home - I did the four minute work out!
I believe the truth of the matter is I am really getting fed up with this long, long winter and I hear more bad weather is coming on the way.
My favorite film is called Out of Africa, I think it is many people's favorite. I think I could watch this movie every month... for those who like it too, here are the out clips (link)Meanwhile in running Kenya names its team for the World Indoors (note in Kenya they never send more than a couple of athletes for these champs echoing the words of Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba "Gold is everything; there is just one medal to run for." Good luck to: Men
800m: Jeremiah Mutai
1500m: Bethwell Birgen, Silas Kiplagat
3000m: Augustine Choge, Caleb Ndiku
1500m: Viola Kibiwot
3000m: Irene Jelagat, Hellen Obiri.
02/27 LQD, who I was running with on the Lower East Side when 9/11 happened, sent me this link: 'From The New York Times:How to Get Fit in a Few Minutes a Week.
A few sessions per week of 30- or 60-second intervals so strenuous you
moan, followed by a minute or so of blessed recovery, and a painful
repetition or four, may be all it takes to keep fit.'
My reply to him; I don't agree; fitness is endurance, not an explosion ability of slight power. fads come and go, as fads sell stories... I don't see anyone these days
saying the 'three' times a week is the 'new' way to run the marathon as I heard... and I see less and less Barefoot runners - ha, but y'know they even said (once upon a time) to stop breathing through your mouth and just use your nose. -- I guess it also is 'define fit'. Of course intervals work (we knew that in Paavo Nurmi's time 100-years ago. So are you saying just a few minutes or are you talking about the endurance based around those explosion mins - yes you can run for 40-mins slowly and run fast for 4 x 100m, but you can not "Get Fit in a few minutes in the week".
Talking science and research - who funds these studies that are literally (no pun intended) re-runs of things we know already.
Last night dinner - at 15 Grammercy Park, National Arts Club... I did not eat the rabbit specialty. I was there actually listening in on the next planned surprise mode of SHOE4AFRICA Music.. we were planning the opening chords of a music event/benefit... coming to you in September. Some exciting names in the mix already.Paco De Lucia sadly passed today, a true legend. Two of his songs will never leave me... always liking Flamenco guitar.Great scoop for the NYRR - Mo more fire Farah is coming to run the NYC Half on March 16th! The biggest name in distance running in America right now...
02/26 I am yet to read it but I think it was in a recent issue of Runner's World - an article about Team Lifeline. A wonderful group of caring and compassionate people whom I am fortunate enough to be involved with -- if you run the Miami Marathon in the Winter you will recognize the shirts -- about 300 big hearted runners doing something amazing with the sport they love...
Speaking of doing what they love... I went with Kev from the Achilles to an Irish place on 41st St and we had a salad & chicken, apple pie and tremendous coffee. It was nice and quiet and I was answering Q's so quiet was appreciated... and who did I see at the next but one table - Gary Muhrcke who won the first ever NYC marathon, had (has?) the Super Runners stores.02/25
Meeting with Tony... on the run (old days?) - Nope, in the air! This is the Hudson from the plane. All frozen. Let me tell you I am living indoors and seldom out in the cold but we were scurrying from plane to car up in the frozen north - near the Williams Campus. We went to a cafe called Public. I asked for black coffee and after I drunk it she asked if I wanted another cup. So I asked if it was always poor quality and tasteless, she said yes. Good to know, I like an honest server. Tony ate something called a Reuben... not sure why but then again I do live in a country with BLT's. (And it took me three years to discover what those are).
02/24 Feeling good! You know things are going well - good karma! I like it when life swings in a good mood. I was listening to Al Green and a few words made me start thinking, make me happy, blah blah... I mean I spent the weekend (as most working hours) writing thank yous and the such from real nice decent people - I mean think of this, on Sunday morning a group of total strangers raised funds for Shoe4Africa because they think it is a "good thing". A positive thing, some thing worth while. I like it, and thank you to Team U YALE chapter -- great to meet the team. Just posted the picture on Shoe4Africa, and I was also posting many pictures of all the people who have stood up and run for us over the past few years; it is a growing number. And it will grow in 2014 -- we have an elite ACE team for the Half and one good friend, Joy, who was the first ever (and only) VP for Shoe4Africa board back in 2006 is back running with us!
Meanwhile Urban is coaching a group for Team Shoe4Africa in Berlin '14 and he posted this picture.
This is one of my all time fave pictures for the memories alone. I am running down the road in Northern Sweden leading a race and going the wrong way. I was flying, the wrong direction. The press man was chasing me in a car and took this picture. There were no markers and each turn I guessed. This is not an isolated incident; they just presumed the local favorite would lead the way and the field would follow. I added two kilometers, one going down the road and one coming back. I was not happy... but the adrenaline made me push harder and is that not the message in life. When the chips dig deep the performances come out. Keep on pushing; why stop. Meanwhile on that note I walked ten miles on Friday. Not really because I planned to, I just set off... Ironically the T-Shirt was a 'View From' -- do you remember that brand? I think I forgot my running gear on this day... that was never a first. I one ran a race in Central Park in a cotton shirt, pajamas another day (but that was planned)...
And, anyway, giving me a big smile I was e-chatting with my friend Claudio who coached the little known Dickson Chumba from being a complete beginner to being the winner of the weekend's biggest race; the Tokyo Marathon! Ironically I was downtown on Chrystie talking to a talent scout who wanted a European for a documentary. I told them I vote for Claudio; I hope they end up picking him, not just for the dollar compensation but he's got a story worth hearing.
The power of facebook - a friend made a comment that led to a phonecall - "Do you remember 19-years ago?" It was a time when I was first in Kenya, in 1995 and we spoke for an hour - Josephat Machuka (who was most famous for throwing a punch at Haile Gebrselasssie), Simon Biwott who won a ton of marathons, Paul Tergat who needs no explanation, Kirwa Tanui one of the many greats who never made it, Shem Kororia who was in the Navy, Simon Chemoiywo who was one of the best XC runners... there were so many... but when you talk about the gap so much has happened, wow.
Most of the runners moved from N'gong but there are still many there. We were also talking of the TV commercial with John Kagwe with HP - John was the star of that commercial and a sumo wrestler. That was the last place I saw my friend Muturi. The shack where I had stayed with him for a while in Ngong is a full blown slum, the owner was shot in a robbery, Muturi himself was terribly beaten by thugs in another incident involving four guys.. and life goes on.
02/19 Coming up -- September will be the 5k at Riverside park on a Wednesday night by the cafe (for evening drinks & socializing), then also we are looking at a Brooklyn Musical festival thing, with a snappy DJ and bands, hopefully the release of our T-Shirts and tomorrow I am meeting the fab fashion designers with an aim to get a beautiful bracelet... More on all to follow but it looks like it will be quite a year.
just posted a ton of pics on the FB and thanks for all the nice comments, and furthermore we have a group of YALE students running the Half this Sunday in Central Park raising money for us! Thank you thank you!
Also note soon we will be opening the Shoe4AFrica Pepsico Marathon team for the NYC Marathon! We have the Pepsico team for the half, and also for the Berlin Marathon. Woohoo, we are running. Despite the frigid weather.
02/18 Mo Farah's autobiography is out - here's an excerpt. Truth be known it could have been out a long time, just saw a clip in a newspaper (link)
I have a million favorite Shoe4Africa pictures, in fact I went to FB S4A page to look and was amazed at so many that I have forgotten. This picture is of Leonard who came when I was having Masai dancers for the S4A event in Iten back in December 2006 and they will be back at S4A Iten DEC 29th! Look at his cell phone tucked in the waist.
Also we are finalizing the date for a mid week September 5k run in NYC -- Watch this space it will be fab. Each year we sell out so I am thinking to announce super early this year - why not do both?
In this cold weather do people run with smiling faces? I walked two miles today and a mile was through Central Park and my walk is a jog to keep moving in the cold (I like to be active) and there was many grumpy faces; don't blame them.
02/16 Big congrats to Iten resident, S4A race participant, great runner - new world record holder Florence Kiplagat - 65:14 winner of the Barcelona Half - Eliud Kipchoge won the men's at 60
The first time I saw Florence was a long time ago, when she was a junior and running XC. She was not an outstanding school runner, a tough fighter and has come through to be one of Kenya's finest.
02/15 PS: yes I had a nice valentine's day... Actually it was a 'run' - two days in a row on the same Subway, going to midtown. It was as close as I have come to 'real' work in a ... long time! Could this be the start of a career? I was humming the 9 to 5 ABBA song as I swiped my metrocard with the suits, pressed a few buttons on my blackberry phone and tried not to check the subway station signs too often to let on that I was not really sure of where I was headed...
I am thinking of investing in a pin striped power suit, brushing up on my resume. I could get into this groove. Y'know being able to catch the morning news before heading off... the only stumbling block was the actual job description at the end of this paragraph. Well by the time this nano-thought passed I had noticed that maybe I should own the MTA as the subway was a crush. Standing room only it was not - I was squeezed between about 19 people in the space of none. I could not even move my arms there were so many people on the morning rush - how on earth was I going to operate my hands free when I could not even move my arms... to operate the hands bit? Then to my dismay, when I squeezed myself off the train, I discovered that there was no network down under the ground. How would I be able to answer emails if I was stuck on a train owning the MTA, but I looked at that carriage chocker-block full of $2.50 paying customers prepared not to read the fine print (Get a ride on the Subway; be a sardine, skip the seat, slim down) - and I really thought this was where the "is" was at. I think I could be joining the corp. world soon.
Upstairs, or what job seekers might call out on the streets, I headed for the nearest office. I was actually going to a meeting but decided to continue my research as I was five minutes early, by watching what I could do... at an office. I noticed a basket of apples. Obviously had to be filled by someone, so I ate the last one to see what happened next. Would there be an apple filler, or was it true... the last time I was "on the street" I heard everything was automated these days - maybe the apples dropped from the branch so to speak and the office branch being a robot? Unfortunately E (not to be confused with James Bond's M) then called me in to the meeting and my research was over...
To be continued --- John Coltrane, Blue train, better listening.
02/14 So I was downtown, and looking for an address. Now in the old days I would jump on the bike and be there. Now I am on the subway. I come up, up to ground and it is a left or right choice. I decide on left. After walking about half a mile I started to doubt my bearings [I saw no bridge]... Hm, no worries I had a new phone. So I pressed some buttons. Do you agree to this, do you accept that, can we share this? By the I had agreed to all these stop signs I was even more lost. (Trying to swipe a frozen finger over an ice cold touchscreen)
I thought I was in Chinatown but we ended up in Little Italy, in a place called Vincents that had baseball players all over the walls.. stranger things happen at Sea.
A bleak snow storm hit NYC and the next travel was to meet Stacey for breakfast in midtown. Not that is a destination I can find "Head South Boy". That is what I did, in fat from my front door to the restaurant (Brooklyn Diner at 7th Ave @ 57th) was only a half an hour trip (that is less time than it takes me to enter the Post Office and buy a single stamp...
02/12 Truth be known I am complaining like a iron hammer. It is ridiculous, the weather in NYC is un-live-able. I mean I went out on the briefest of trips to get food after starving for two days and I did not see one person who was not shivering and chattering. I can not believe that people have stood this kind of treatment for a period of time - I'm back two days and I officially hate it. And I hear the worst is to come:
To think there was a time that I did not mind the cold!
02/11 Insanely cold weather here in NYC. Can you believe people live in 16-F? That is way below zero for us Celsius folks and my mind is frozen. That is the issue when you have a head wrapped in metal plates!
02/10 Congrats to a person who is on the right track to doing something amazing - Mukhtar Mohammed takes another step in the right direction by winning the British Indoors 800 after training in Iten in January.
Pascal Croak organized a fun run in Dartmouth to raise awareness for Shoe4Africa - thank you! Hoping for pics & a write up... but Pascal, thank you!
Back to New York City. Mounds of frozen ice and a chill that could break the soul of Tarzan awaited me when I got to JFK. I took the air train and by the time I had gotten (See I am American) up to Harlem my metal head old and new plates had chilled me even further. The first thing I did was grab a pile of old tracksuits, coats, shirts that I have not worn in over a year and cart them one block to the homeless clothing drop. I felt guilty seeing the people around me shuffle as I climbed in a house. mind you I nearly got mobbed as I slipped and slid along the road to get there. This guy came chasing me, "Can I have that jacket? Is that Kenya for real?" Of course his pulling out a jacket that was smam-blam right in the middle meant that all the clothes came tumbling down. To make matters worse, as I hurriedly tried to deposit the clothes in the drop-drawer, I fumbled with the now frozen mechanism and almost broke my little finger on the lever. Gee whiz. Welcome back to the City.Next week is the RAK Half Marathon and the top ten men have Sub 60-mins clockings! Try getting in that field. In my day no one had even broken 60-mins for a half. Next the women will be there!
Leading up to the London Marathon Iten grabs the 'Mo-arathon' headlines. (link) Personally I have been saying this since... 1995 when I first went to Iten! In the days that is was no mecca. Blame Mo for putting the village onto the world atlas, blame Starbucks and Simba for developing the town - check out www.lornah.com and come and visit, for that Kenyan running experience -runner's view: (youtube)And to keep our links going... Edna Kiplagat talks capital. (link)
02/06 LINK for Abel Kirui as he prepares for Tokyo Marathon after being injured for a year.And another good Kenyan article from the DN - LINK This one on the great Mutai.
I know it is early, but plans are big - DEC 29th the Shoe4Africa 5k in Iten, Kenya, DEC 30th the S4A Children's Hospital Building is opened.
Wanna come to Kenya? Experience Kenya--Running focus will be there!
02/04 It is with much sadness that Shay Hirsch has passed from our world. The illness, the personal pains were long and one feels that now she flies up high, gliding through the wilderness and barren fields past and beyond Boise Idaho, through Sun Valley, gliding with power enriching the lives of so many in NYC, a true partner of partners for Dear George... boy, she'll be missed.John Feehrer doing good things with orphans in Kenya - check out his Grace Race up in CT and his long term commitment to a group of kids in Kenya - good for you.Arigawi is headed to the Stockholm GP trying to get the WR indoors record for 1500m and it is 5-secs harder than last year - the world of women's running needs rivalries - Sweden Vs Ethiopia (sort of) works better than Ethiopia Vs Ethiopia. Although Defar Vs Dibaba is big it would be a lot bigger if the names were better known - and by that I mean household likes as they are actually in Ethiopia... speaking of which few countries have more passionate supporters than the Ethiopians.
02/03 In Seattle, we were chilaxing when boom, boom, fireworks were going off. And that was how we found out that the American football team here(Seattle Seahawks) won the Superbowl.
Can't believe the World Cup is back again this year. 2010 was just yesterday. By the way I have seen fireworks all over the Globe at differing times but I can tell you there is no substitute if you want to see the best firework display - you go to Rackajack City on December 31st, find an Icelander to show you to best viewing point and see how Icelander's light up the world - like nothing else.
Running highlight of the week? Germany - Genzebe Dibaba got her first world record - women's world indoor 1500m @ 3:55! Great, and let me tell you her big sister told me many many yaers ago, "I have a little sister who has more talent than all of us."
01/31 Mo Farah by Elias Makori, on the edge, of the Rift Valley as the Virgin London Marathon announces the Marathon.
The London marathon is announcing the great field that comes with a large Kenyan twist to face Mo in April.
Priscah leads the women - LINK shows an amazing field.
Meanwhil, just around the corner - tickets are nearly running out now for the NYRR Millrose Games.
01/28 Nice facebook post - thanks John, more fire!
01/27 Went for a little jog today, 20-minutes. Wow.
Spoke with Tony who's back in NYC - he tells me the cold and I understand why Mr. Treadmill does such good business. Apparently it is 15-degrees (F) tomorrow in the Golden city.
More progress on the hospital. I would post pictures but I guess it is kind've boring to most people, more stones, more bricks.. to be honest I am not much of a construction person before but these days...Stunning results in Dubai - I saw no Kenyans in the men's or women's - usually you say that means no real race, but it obviously was... Ethiopia appears to rule Dubai. For me there are three big names for the media for the spring, Tirunesh, Bekele and the biggest, Mo Farah! Of course Londone gets the nod over Paris...01/25 I highly recommend watching 'The Butler'. A stunning performance by both Forrest Whitt., and also Oprah Winfrey. Wow, really good acting and a great film subject. I can not believe that as late as the Reagan era the wages for skin color were set apart in the White House. For real?
It really had a lot of memorable thought provoking performancesthat I hope galzanize people's thought processes.
I'm in Seattle. The difference from the last time I was here is that many people are wearing blue and green colors of the American football team (ironically a game not played with the foot or using a ball)... but at least the weather is fab - brilliant blue skies, a sun and some warmth away from the NYC cold.
01/23 Some time has flown by. As my old friend CenturyMan used to say, "We know when Toby is having fun, he never updates his website..." that should have been followed by a 'why' is he updating. The rantings of a lunatic? Il Pirate, from Exchange Place, used to say, "It is the ravings of a runner and his story." Wellt he problem is these days I am not really running very much. However, by default, I am in the loop by communications. And right now not.
Visiting the West Coast... having fun!
Got an email from a film maker doing a film project in LA in March, too many good ideas, I try to not get interested these days as I have too much to do with what I am doing. I have a job list of things up the yingyang that are to-be done before the 'new-un-heard of' projects - but if you are a Kenyan runner in LA...
Shoe4Africa is still going well, thank goodness and we are currently looking at Hand drying machines for the bathrooms, their costs (anyone want to sponsor a few?) The drive for equipping starts today - as I say if all the people who had mentioned they'd help had sent in pledges I would have a fleet of hospitals, but then-again, the big thing is I actually love what I do, so I would have probably found some more do-do to do, so the moral of this story, or the morale of this song, is one should never do (do) what one does not "belong". I mean, I don't see myself with a proper job for some time to come yet... Yeah, happy.com
Hey, good luck to my runners at the Miami Marathon soon! Team Lifeline - I believe featured in Runner's World by some facebook accounts. Although it is a great inspirational magazine, with good articles, I don't read Runner's World - my teeth nearly fell out, it costs around five or six bucks, for a magazine and it is typcially full of shoe reviews and twenty pages of car adverts - for myself, I don't buy cars, I get hit by them instead.Big race in Kenya coming up - The Discovery that my friend Claudio is involved with! Thanks to Claudio and Janeth Jepkosgei for helping with kids scholarships! Used to be the FILA Discovery - in the good old days...
01/18 WOW, WOW - Go Achilles! So happy for Dick Traum, the founder and the force, as a charity car donated by GM raised $700,000 for the Achilles. VIDEO LINK. By strange coincidence Tony & I visited Dick yesterday, he was telling us he was hoping for 100,000... I texted him to tell him "well Done" and that I was jumping up and down, and with his usual humor he said "Me too, on one leg..." If you know Dick you will know he has put his heart and soul into supporting disabled people 'get running' (and of late some other sports) since 1983... Find him on CNN heroes.
So just when I was posting about being an expert in something I got called up by Kanga. He's on the otherside of the globe and sent me 20-things you need to know after having brain surgery. (LINK) Not sure if I agree with most, but I think it also depends on the medications. For the first four days I had a pain killer that is a hallucinogenic and the effects of that were huge. people's faces turned to stone,and worms came out of a canvas, but after that I went clean. Then a month later when I had the seizure (or the possibility that it was a seizure) I went on an anti-seizure medication which I am on to today.
The thing I can't work out, and perhaps it is my brain, is I get 120-tablets for $15, then when I go for a refill, get 60-tablets for $19.89
Public health - 4 hrs for a 5-minute consultation... at Harlem Hospital. People were moaning and complaining it was so ling, the wait. I was just thinking this is like the public sector in Kenya (waits) and then I opened my eyes and thought, "Wow, it is Kenya." I was the absolute non-Africa or Hispanic person in the entire waiting room! And let me tell you this was a large, third floor, waiting room - am guessing about 60-folks in there! The group next to me had the most illuminating stories, "Fust time I got arrested, drunk in a purb-lick palce, se'und tyme, caus-sinz dis'rup-sion." to another "Well me, I gone dyed. I was as good as shot. Eight teen times. that was in my right leg." to another, "hear me my brotha, technologoy. that is whY I su'vived." back to the First, "Have I ever served tyme? been 'hind bars more tymes than I ain'" And this continued, our dialogue for the next four hours...
In fact I was so over late I was rushing back tot he house to get ready for the Shoe4Africa board meeting where I went into mid town, to the offices of Jones Day, for a great board meeting...
Following which to Lever Casa on 53rd ST with Mike Sharp & Tony for further discussions. Promising myself I would finally get an early night I was talking on the phone with my other half till past 2 am... nice to back in the American way of life again!
PS; need advice on how to recover from Brain Surgeries? Advice given on both slow bleeds, fast bleeds, immediate care, prolonged care, medial shift, non-medial shift, large blood shift, slow seep, medicated recovery, non-medicated, steps after a seizure... geez, this stuff is going on my kaput never checked Linkedin.
01/15 From Monday morning 6 AM I was up, for the next 36-hrs I could not sleep. On Tuesday night (that would be 6 AM Wednesday morning if I had continued on the Kenyan time) I slept for 6hrs good sleep. After 19-hours I went back to try and sleep thinking I would be dead asleep within minutes... instead I did not sleep till 7 AM this morning!! 26hrs of no sleep. Then I slept for two hours... surprisingly I woke feeling very awake. To do this trick. To do this trick 36-6-26 I recommend using a strong brand of coffee and having a job list to think of the size of Texas.
The classrooms at the SHOE4AFRICA Moses Kiptanui School. Or half the classrooms, 1-4, we have another block that look identical to these.
Speaking of which we are pretty sure that the hospital will be opened in late December, 30th/31st ish 2014...
The London Marathon looks like the line up of the year (again). Mo is the most exciting name and will be a huge media draw to make this event the one in April. [link]. No matter what Bekele does in Paris there will be no media rival...
Watch out for London Marathon's press conference at Pieter and Lornah's superb track!
01/14 America! America. Bad flight from Nairobi to Heathrow - nearly 9hrs of extreme calf muscle cramps, could not sit still for a minute. Really painful and an old running injury(!) And I have not ran since October (world record). Imagine. The continuous cramps you get with dehydrated muscles that have just ran 20-miles cept you are sitting in a seat with other passengers snoring to your left and right. Go figure. I had to tense my (lack of) muscles every three minutes to stop myself squirming. I should be grateful it is a non running injury. This is me - the description! - (link)
And a little blurb to the below pictures:
'During a visit to the special school for Albino children in Kapsoya, Eldoret, a few months ago, I noticed that the children were squinting and disliked being outdoors. I made a pledge to bring special UV/UVA protective sunglasses for all the 40 kids to promote the children being able to participate in outdoor sports. Posting a picture on the Shoe4Africa site, at another event, I got help from a lady called Deborah helping us achieve this goal. She sent the New Balance glasses that I brought from America.
This January we offered all the Albino kids at the school free sunglasses in part of Shoe4Africa's ongoing program to work on Health & Education in Kenya. Here board members of Shoe4Africa, Dr. Kibosia, CEO of the MTRH, and Toby Tanser, CEO of Shoe4Africa, meet some of the enthusiastic kids.'
01/13 Two big names coming to Iten over the next couple of days, very big names. We have Steve Cram and Mo Farah. For a little village in Kenya, built on a hill, this is a own the attracts the running world, truly.
Remember, visit www.lornah.com to learn how you can come and stay here. Access to the camp gives you exclusive access to East Africa's most incredible running tartan IAAF approved track!
Meanwhile in the charity world I am really happy to say that Thanks to Claudio Berardelli & Janeth Jepkosgei we have added two more names to the scholarship role. take a look to see -> LINK
01/11 Numbers, things always catch my eye - when Michael Schumacher was in the accident I took a keener interest. When someone has a brain injury and it involves a crack against the skull I start reading, and was following the updates of recovery. He hit the ground on Dec 29th. Funnily enough that was the same day, Dec 29th, when I got hit in Zanzibar (albeit obviously in different circumstances. I read on his recovery, "This is the start of a long, long period, but thankfully less difficult now. The most dangerous moment has passed."Sitting doing some work and who wanders in but Guor from Sudan, the man with the amazing story.This is a very sad story - The prospect park runner. I had just sent him a get well message a couple of days ago. My thoughts are with his family.The Flying MP - Wesley Korir heads for Canada - (link)01/10 At the hospital site - we had a meeting with the Contractors, the Architect, the Quantity surveyor on the site. Thanks to Pieter & Lornah for sending me in a car from Iten to Eldoret in their nice car. It was a great meeting and I can tell you we move with the speed of a Kenyan runner through all the items on the agenda. The site continues to be a place where I like to spend time as the changes are constant. If I was feeling better I would be on the site all the time.Then dashed to the Albino's special school - when we got there nobody else was there! More on that later, then raced back to Iten as I thought they might be mising their car... lunch at the Iten Club with the District Commissioner and trying to sort out the phone issues. Replaced the phone but could not get all the old contacts and my phone was ringing every minute.
Lots of foreigners here in Iten right now, including an Irish guy who came up and said "Sending greets from Noel Berkeley..." A name from the past. Half the day done and lots of good things to come.
A good meeting with the Governor of Eldoret County, the Deputy Governor, the MP for Moiben, the speaker for Uasin Gishu and also the head of tourism. It started off with Hospital talk. I had decided to try and take this week easy but I keep on getting momentum and that in itself is hard to turn down. I had planned on just two jobs out of Iten and the rest in Iten, now that has changed. Glad that we have the weather though that makes traveling around nice. I can't imagine what the weather in NYC must be like...
Talking dates -- looking ahead the 29th of June is H&P 5-miler in Central Park, as per usual. And believe me that date will be here soon. Time is running so fast these days.
Did I mention we have three teams this year for S4A - we have a group in the NYC Half, we have a group in the Berlin Marathon, and we have a group in NYC - what next, organization?
Starbucks is flying to Holland tomorrow - Simba & Starbucks have been really nice to me helping me whilst I have been the invalid that I am - he's going to Holland as they are soon to launch the new sports clothing line - Lornah - watch out, it has a great team behind it.
01/07 My thoughts go out to Michael Schumaker, poor man. His wife is asking for privacy, I really hope the 'peeps' listen.
In Kenya I have been using the same phone since 2004... it appears it is broken. Nobody can hear me but I can hear them. After about the tenth person I began to suspect I have a problem...
I am hearing NYC is very cold. The coldest weather for me, when I was a runner, was minus 40 near the artic circle (10-miles below)... that was back in the day... now these days I do not like cold.
Already I am getting questions about "Will you hold the S4A 5k again?" and that people liked it, but I am thinking if I do it will be a friendly running month - Sept or October. Maybe even an evening? Just something to consider. Planning.
Doing jobs this morning and it is amazing how much time something small like sorting out a school, uniforms, books etc for a student requires. I really need to start making a plan and time keeping. this was one of many jobs this morning - sending out invites to the half marathon, filing forms blah blah, then hsopital stuff, we have another meeting coming up, paperwork from Dec 19th meeting, reading over yesterday's paperwork photocopies, checking on the advisory peeps advice on what is being done - reviwing for the next meeting. It is starting to drive me crazy. Going over decisions that I made that are now being sent out as "items up for discussion..." And I have my albino's - more about them later!
Was at the Hospital this morning. I was there for a meeting with Finance, so the branch manager of the bank we deal with came. I spent the morning walking around with everyone looking at me telling me how sick I looked, should they call the doctor to see me, there is a Neurosurgeon right here, blah blah, you look pale (yeah, I am!). Then as I sat waiting for the meeting more people who had now heard the word started coming and telling me how sick I looked.
The good news is all the accounting, all the improvements and checks, all the numbers, are all together. This is one job I am checking on a daily basis. We also hope that the bank will be able to come in and give some support for the project -- when I groundbroke, back in August, the bank I am using was the only one on town that did not attend -- all the rival banks came. It is time that the first bank steps up.
Traffic in Eldoret is terrible right now, even the backroads are jammed - where is the corporate helicopter when we need it?
I got an email today asking if I would consider partnering with a NYC hospital... wow, that brought some memories. Firstly I tried NYU, I ahd a few meetings, then I was told they were going to consult an African expert. So the "expert" gets back to them and suggests the monies would be better spent building something in Mombasa (not Eldoret). So I said, "I will give $5,000 to the charity of his choice if he is not born in the vincinity of Mombasa." I never heard back; I googled his name - born in Mombasa. Next I tried Cornell - that went on for a few months, the Doctors seemed to liek the idea but it was turned down at the board level.
Next I tried Mt Sinai, their expert told me "It would have to be 100% right else you would make it so much harder for the next person to try." -- Ihad two questions - who is the next person so I can hand off the job and secondly is there a 100% perfect project in the USA that involves building a hospital?
I tried Mem. Sloan; they told me it would interfere with their own fund raising plans - they have a whole team of fund raisers, more than the number of beds working on that dept, so I could not argue (reason) with that one. Then I met a board who had contributed funds to the Columbia Kids Hospital they told me I had a nice story and asked if Anthony Edwards could sign some copies of a Top Gun DVD.. the journey has been long. But I won't waste too much time writing about my woes... in Kenya I keep on timing out when I hit "save" on this webpage so it deletes the last bunch of text... as I say, words to the wind, nothing more.
Here's a little picture of Brian Kibet, our New Shoe4Africa man! Thanks to Frank from Belgian for helping support another 'change one life' story.
Brian is six year's old and we are looking forward to supporting him throughout his schooling years. Brian joins a long list of names and the eldest ones have now graduated into the 'real world'.
I am also trying to pay school fees for Umi (thanks Michelle), Lilian and Mercy right now - I try to avoid the part of standing in line at a Kenyan bank for two hours as 30,000 people in Eldoret seem to have the same timing as me! School starts on Monday. Plus people have a bad habit of pushing in hence you often go nowhere!
Meanwhile in Iten - glad to meet my friend Mukhtar Mohammed, the man on the move... watch out 2016 -- he medaled in '13 too. I rarely make a prediction that is not right...
01/04 The year is starting a little bumpy. Actually been bed-ridden the last two days but thanks to the wonders of the Internet I have been able to solve all issues including one little mini-crisis. Funny, one thing takes four hours to fix and you would not even note it as a 'job' -- when you are sick you really notice how much time you put into things, even the simple unclassified things. However it is amazing the way you can keep on. I had to cancel my interview with the Daily Nation yesterday as I got that feeling I was going to collapse. I am now becoming a bit of an expert in such things. So anyway, if I am slow to update this is why...
01/02 There is the tradition when you give an animal you touch the gift. This is the daughter of Boston Winner Sharop Cherop touching the gift of the goat.
In Eldoret today and I was going to a meeting at a hotel. Yesterday I was feeling weak hence I was looking for a stress free day. The carpark was packed. I left the car and tried to get through the crowds to find a 'prophet' was inside the Hotel - famed in Kenya and called Owour. When I tried to get in I was blocked. So I was fine, not a problem, but when I turned around the security guards told me to go to the right and sure enough there was a group of foreigners going to enter to the side. Then a thought dawned on me; how could my friend get in? He was Kenyan. Then I spied MP Sudi's (my friend) car and his chauffeur. He also told the security, this man can go in, yet now this was the last place I wanted to enter as people were going hysterical. Plus my car was now blocked; since I had parked a convoy of Mercedes had now trapped my car. There was no way out. And the amplified music got turned up... gosh, what a morning!
Over in Africa we are nearly in the new Year:
12/31 In the last two days I have been to three weddings.
It has been a busy time; yesterday we went to the Kibogy farm. I was sat with Pieter & Lornah, then my from MP Oscar Sudi came. When he sat down, then the Govenor Of Uasin Gishu - just who I need to talk to for Hospital business. Earlierthat morning Wesley Korir came to visit, he's an MP (Member of Parliament) for another area. That was talks about Cherangani. (Another project).
Wesley & the NYRR's supporting Boston
And at Wedding #2 who did I bump into but my friend Simon Biwott - Rotterdam, Berlin and many others (winner) and was #2in the World Champs marathon.
I must say being in Kenya and traveling around with Sudi is good; he has a bling bling Range Rover and the traffic moves for a politician.
Surprising is that I have not ran since October; still taking it easy. And not missing it. Still have some side effects... a few!
At Moses Kiptanui's and we had a small party for some runners (celebrating Moses). I was actually there asking Moses for help with another matter - Ezekiel Kemboi, Edna Kiplagat, Sharon Cherop, Agnes Kiprop, Silas, Kitwara... Boaz Kimaiyo... there was quite a lot of running talent. Ezekiel reminded me the last time we went on a car drive we hunted crocs... Boaz's brother is Erik who I trained with in the mid nineties and talked about the other day, running talk? All this is possible in Kenya!
Moses and family - Ezekiel Kemboi, the world'd most medalled steeplechaser on the left.
Sharon Cherop, who won Boston started in Shoe4Africa, lots of "old" names from the running stories, and of course my great friend Moses!
Before that I went to Klique and a guy came up to me, Peter Kosgei from Arkansas -- I sent him shoes a long time ago (years ago). He is here to get married then back to America in January. Only in Eldoret... Hoping to meet up with Haron Lagat tomorrow - another who is based in the USA.
Team Sydney Thatcher, West Coast!
The day after Christmas day I traveled to the site of the hospital. I went and climbed over a fence, under a trench and entered the empty site... what a nice feeling. Nobody was there, as we broke for the holidays until the 30th. It was solitude and I got a chance to think about the past few months, especially the days since the summer when we really started to do work that could be seen. What a time... It was a nice moment.
Life in Kenya now is a lot of job lists with ticks and crosses. I still have much to do and meetings to attend. I am trying to keep a list of things grouped into "sites" for example tomorrow I am in Eldoret (As with most days) and I am looking to do my Iten jobs this day. If I had a hashtag it would be #workingonbeingmore efficient or whatever.
Pieter and Lornah are here right now - nice catching up, they are gearing up for the treack media/London Marathon happenings, here in Iten on Feb 1st and we hear that Paula is coming and Mo - I will be sad to miss them.
Can't believe the year is soon over. A few days away! Oops, just remembered, I have to go and buy some car insurance!
12/25 Two days ago I am driving, all day, with Moses Kiptanui (who is driving me around - good job because I am not fully recovered) visiting sites etc, schools, etc, and we come across a man - he says, "Recognize him?" I don't, it is a man I have not seen since the training camp of 1995! Erik Kimaiyo.
Yestetday I meet up with Ben Limo and this morning Holland's best runner, Michel Butter -- the only person to beat me at Table Tennis at the chamopionship series! (shoot). I was talking about Michel only yesterday - he surprised his wife to turn up here adn greet her in-laws! Great to see him on Christmas morning. Nice guy.
Yesterday I went to watch Pieter & Lornah's track ceremony for the new tartan track. There will be a big International launch, but this was for local churches, friends and family. Oliver and I gate crashed and sat at the back but it was nice to listen to the speeches - Starbucks and my friend Katwa Kigen gave the best. Here's Oliver the Fargo Marathon champion of Germany, a S4A friend and a Frankfurt relay S4A team winner, accoerdian German-folk music player, gardener OF Kenyan vegetables... or something. And he very kindly brought xmas bread to us!!
Mizuno Pace Maker Oliver Hoffman, Goat lover and Ugali eater.
Let me talk about the amazing tartan track - WOW, WOW, WOW. I told Starbucks that not much impresses me these days, but this does. What he has done is downright incredible!
Bottom line -- if you want to come for the Kenyan running experience you need to come to Iten and stay at HATC which now gives you access to the best tartan track in Africa. Equal to DN Galan in Stockholm for the soft springey-ness that a distance track gives you (most tracks are built for sprinters). Of course due to the fact 1,000 runners would use this track daily if it was public means you must be a HATC member to use this facility.
Toilets Projects! A long time dream, a small project, it started back in High School, around the age of 11, long story, but it is now happening!
The weather is bizarre in Kenya. At the site of the hospital we have a 'project office' and I was trying to make notes and my hands were so cold as I had not installed the Heater. I got a toaster, kettle too for the staff.
Next up was a meeting with the deputy director of the adults' hospital (MTRH) which is Kenya's second largest government hospital, RSPO-the people responsible to accountability for every dollar put into the campus (a lot of funds come to the AMPATH center, the Indiana research areas etc), also the contractors, and my (daily onsite) project manager. It was a good productive meeting with assesing where we are at, where we are going, what we need to do - lots. It is also a call to decisions for me. They ask for me to be more present, I counter with certain life happenings, they compare this project to another being done, I point out the huge differences... but we stumble on making progress. Most importantly crossing every single dot along the way.
12/20 On the morning of the NYC Marathon Mary sent me this picture - thanks! Tony Edwards & Mary at the start of the race. Hoping that I will be there for 2014. I heard the first lady of Kenya is wishing to run a marathon in 2014...
Tony finished and it was his third and last NYC Marathon.
We have a team for the Half and were full on the first day -- if we could be as lucky for the full. And with that in mind, if You want to run with the S4Africa team, please let me know, in any event.
Sunshine at least to Iten, Kenya. I am still wearing a winter jacket though.
First off thanks to AL JAZEERA for featuring Shoe4Africa in the Life of a Shoe -- to be listed here makes me think I have a real organization. Here was the final slide of their presentation. Thanks Urbs for the forward.
and very importantly I want to thank the people who have helped Shoe4Africa of late: Hendrik Zietsman with three boxes from London UK, Brittany MacMillan from Hardisty Canada, Urban Bettag, two boxes from the UK, Jon Lang from NYC, Corrie Arai, Sunnyvale USA, Allison Lee from Maplewood USA, Andre Schmitz, from Munster Germany, Ugo Savino from Miami, Beth Brady from NY, NY, Eric Gordon from Brooklyn NYC, L. K.Meade from Dover ME, and L. Maisonett, from Bronx NY. These are some of the names I see and I thank you greatly!!
Thanks to Larry Sillen who has sent this link of Photos from the Shoe4Africa T-Mobile 5k event. [link here]
There is a Turkish team training in Iten, but they look rather Kenyan! I hear the same for the 'new' Russian team. Mikael tells me the new team of Russia might look a bit non-Siberian for 2014.
Just heard from Sally Kipyego who is here now in Iten; the true area of champion runners.
Heavy rains here, mist, and extreme cold - we needed to get a heater for the 'office' - the Boss's orders:
Kenya is very cold right now. Well sort of anyway! Met the Director of the MTRH for a biz lunch and we were joined by a man called Arap Sang - he told me he is well known in Kenya and it tuirned out he is the "KASS FM" reporter who is now at the ICC trial in the Hague -- obviously having an adjournment. Much, much much to do at the hospital, but I did get the chance to go and see Moses Kiptanui and to talk of further plans of quite a few things - he is looking good.
One sad piece of news Kiptalam Keter whose picture appeared on this site earlier this year, one of the first Nandi Kenyan runners, the trail blazers, who I visited in August has passed away sadly.
Coming back to Iten, I see two smiling happy faces walking towards me - Sylvia & Hilda Kibet! Glad to see all the friends; all of which have not seen me since the accident; I get a lot of funny looks!IS this guy really recovered or??
12/16 Sorry, sorry -- it has been a busy week! Following the Shoe4Africa T-Mobile 5k race on Sunday I literally flew (same day) to Kenya. Arriving at 11pm the next morning Chelimo and I went to Eldoret, via the roads of Kenya. It was a beautiful drive even though it was a rainy day. The good news is I had no problems driving; in fcat it gives me energy.
The next day we went to the farm, the next we were (have forgot) the next opening classrooms, the next meetings... it has been a whirlwind. Plus my Kenyan phone is not working which is causing a few issues (but my American number is working). Am off to Eldoret today to try and sort all things out and meet Moses Kiptanui for lunch, and go to the hospital site of course.
A highlight -- Chelimo opened the SHOE4AFRICA classrooms in Kibugat for (a) Marjorie & Malcolm Myers and (b) William Arap Morogo Saina & Ruth Jepchirchir Saina.12/08 Interesting web page - link here - about where Britain has invaded around the world. Well interesting for me is the clip, "The telegraph lists Iceland, invaded in 1940 by the British after the neutral nation refused to enter the war on the Allies side. The invasion force, of 745 marines, met with strong protest from the Iceland government, but no resistance."
The reason being was is you go to the National Museum in Reykjavik Iceland you will see the Cap from the German Officer in charge at the time (not sure what his title was), but it was my Grandfather's job to arrest him...
MANY thanks to all who came out and supported the race today inlcuding a whole team from Odyssey House!
It was a very very cold 29-degrees and I can tell you I do not like the cold at all. It was so nice to see so many familiar faces and friends, great support and good people. I am seriously thinking that IF there is a 4th edition it has to change months to something decent. Thanks to the sponsors, we had a big group of T-Mobile runners from out title sponsors, and many other folks who pulled together to make this a great day. A personal friend, Anthony, came and picked me up in the morning, then took me to lunch after (with his three daughters) to a MExican place - I was so cold that it took hours to thaw out. Thanks to Urbvan Athletics & Jake for the race day activities - it was great, apart from the weather. Really, too many people to thank and people who have stayed with my story since the year 2000!
Another Shoe4Africa hero - Bernd Erpenbeck. Saturday PM - East Coast - meanwhile over in Hawaii: Can't make the Shoe4Africa race as he is just about to line up in the marathon, so he texts in a $200 donation and says' "Here's my virtual entry."
Thanks to David Brinker & Emily, thanks to the NY Post, and thanks to our sponsors - it was announced in the New York Post, in a half page ad today, and listed yesterday!
Thanks to every one who is a part or participant of this year's [sold out] event. I am really grateful for you all. On behalf of Shoe4Africa; thanks. So many endearing stories - take for example Raymond R. who tried to enter, the race was full... so he sent in a $1,000 donation. The world is full of amazing people.
Nice message from Jon,
"The 10 year old son of a friend of Summers has given up his Christmas presents for the last 4 years to raise funds for digging wells in Africa. Through his efforts (under the auspices of Charity: Water), there are now wells in Malawi and Ethiopia, as well as a drilling rig that continues to expand access to clean water throughout Africa. He is giving up Christmas again and I would love to see him have another success (Summer and I just donated to support him).
Not sure what this translates as, but I like the look.
Went to a film screening to see 'my dead boyfriend'... directed by Anthony Edwards... Check it out, future dates will be of course promoted. It was just for friends and it will be a while before it hits the screens but... there are some really amazing performances in there. Heather Graham is the lead role and as I watched (sorry I don't know other names, in fact I only know Heather's as Tony had told me she was in there)... but the point is I am not a film person, or critic, in fact I rarely watch more than ten minutes of any movie without losing interest, especially comedies. But this one has a great plot that you don't guess, it has strong characters that you are waiting for them to return, and it does have people who I think should be axed. Would I go and see it, would I stay and watch it? Yes. It is a film with some gems for sure with some great performances - An Australian woman and a Broadway male actor for me were the 'strongs' although they were not the leads.
The plot was rich and no film has all the answers... it is set in the heart of the East Village and I always think of my own experiences when I see a film that is set in a classic location (which is wrong) but does color one's view. it is a really ambitious project and I think (an)Tony does a tremendous job in providing 90-minutes of clever entertainment of originality and isn't that what the film business is about?
12/05 Shoe4Africa - based on the principles of charity. Each day there are choices. It amazes me, and it never ceases to amaze me how people continue to dilute the purpose of what business must be to make it "not for profit" and mission based. And where the fine line falls between stepping on the toes, and pushing a margin. Anyway, you do your best and I must say there are many things that inspire me, and others that don't... but that is the gem of a life. today I am inspired by a driver in Kenya who was begging for a few pennies when he was jobless.
He came across a group of dope smokers, he begged for a joint, one asked him, "have you ever tried giving?" Our man frowned. "Me? Give? I am penniless!" So the dope smoker said, "You are a taker then..."
Pretty hard words... he changed his life thereafter. And the rest is another story, a happier one.
In the meantime here is a quote; "The greater challenge in any life isn't merely extracting the highest price for your soul; nor safeguarding your soul while opportunities pass you by — but earning, with the coin of mattering, a life that has counted in the terms that make us not merely "rich", but whole, worthy of the privilege of having lived." U. Haque.
What a difference a month makes to your business -- here was I in mid September... two weeks later, boom. And at the end of November I was shaven. I quit the odd half-head shave look.
If anyone knows how to read catscans/mri's let me know - I have my reports and it is mumbojumbo. There are things I recognize, like this time the brain had no midline shift. Last time (1999) I had a big midline shift. I should be soon awarded a degree in understanding brain trauma.
12/04/13 Going through the mail - have a 30 cheques for Shoe4Africa, entering them in the database, going to deposit tomorrow and I hope I will thanking 'you' soon! That is the business cheques, then I have personal stuff, then tomorrow I also have to go to the Shoe4Africa mail box, down in the 80's and check that mail! Lots to go on with... plus spent the morning at the hospital (did another Catscan)... plus last minute things for the race -
09-26-2013 till 12-04-2013 has been lost (internet woes). This was an intersting time for me also, sorry the stories have gone - the main event was a Brain Surgery October 7th and the story of the recovery!