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The good news is NYC is not too cold. I got an email from Starbucks, who is in Nairobi, and he says it is really rally hot over there. However tonight I froze when out coaching with the Flyers, I could not feel my hands. Saw Chubbs out there with Danny Dollarman who is going to Miami on Friday... ah yes I had forgotten that part - I go to Miami today, to stay at the Eden Roc that has been recently upgraded and renovated. It looks ace on the web site!

I went to the Supermarket to see Salad Girl and I happened to be in the area. Sadly I did not find her, but I found a new friend. I was planning on buying JUST 6-beers and had to go somewhere after so I had a small bag. But, they had biscuits on supersale - but you had to buy ten bags to get the super-deal. Hm, I could not fit them all in my bag - I looked like Billy Smith's ragman with ten bags of biscuits and a six pack - well who am I kidding, that's my diet for dinner anyway.


Yesterday I dropped by the Achilles Office. The doorman at the building asked for my ID, I said "I've been coming here for 8-years!" He said I don't recognize you. I said, "I have never been asked for ID before." He said, I asked you for ID last time you came here. I said, "I thought you said you did not recognize me?" He did not have an answer for that one.
01/26
Always take me a week to get back int he swing, and tomorrow it is a week; gosh time flies. I have not even unpacked my bags as yet. In fact I have been mostly just doing things like going through mails, adjusting the biz plan, talking web sites with Tony, then today we were talking the strategy along with Stacey, over at her apartment, in that very nice building with the tall ceilings next to the Dakota. I was once running in Central Park with Zoe Cassavete (whose brother directed the Notebook) when I mentioned I would not mind living in there, she mentioned she used to; good answer and I am still not living there.

Next off we went to that restaurant called Ocean that is decorated like a Boat, just behind the nat. history museum on Columbus - I ate tonnes of bread, the maki sushi, the seafood linguine and a tiny tiny slice of cheesecake, stellas and coffee. Urm 7.4/10 for food. Okidoki.


When I get back from Miami I am buying a fridge, I mean I have nothing in my fridge, bar coffee and beer! I need to get a wardrobe too -- I have one but I am going to chop it up as the make-up is impractical... unloading my suitcase and in Nairobi you can buy these DVD's with many films on, I have one with 11 James Bond films, on one DVD! I called up the Russian Rocket, as he likes Bond, to see what he is up to... He's off to Osaka, like all good secret agents should be... Speaking of which Tony's grown a beard, everyone asks him why, is it for a movie role, he says it is for attention, but we know he's going undercover. His new film is out this summer, called Flipped.
01/25
Another T shirt I like it!
To Central Park yesterday, I went to a local race, with 7,000 people in it, a zoo. It was great to see all the people and make new friends, like on the course when I was running along. I actually set off faster than I intended. My pre-run hope was to get a qualifying time should I enter the ING-NYC marathon this year. However I cycled five miles to get to the starting line and in running clothes, not cycling gear, I arrived as cold as an icecube. So I ran to try and warm myself up and for the first four miles I did not even feel my arms. Although everyone else was talking about what good weather it was, well for me it was terrible.
Sammy Wanjiru to break the world record in Berlin? According to one of his closest training partners he can do it IF he does not train the way he did for Chicago, where he was seriously out of shape until very late in the game.
More immediately we have the World Cross and the battle of Iten is heating up -- three ladies who live there all have a legitimate shot at winning, and this from a small village in Kenya! You have the reigning champ Florence, you have Linet Masai, the reigning world 10,000m champ, and you have the reigning 5000 wold champ, Vivian Cheruiyot who won the highly contested Prison champs on Saturday in Nairobi. Somehow I think Linet, so I am sticking with it.
Sleepy Sylvia is concentrating on the indoor and another reigning world champ from that village, Mary Keitany, is chasing a $100,000 bonus at Puerto Rico for the World's Best 10km. Coincidentally at the Prison's Edna Kiplagat ran well; good to see. She ran the Shoe4Africa 5k lat month, but dropped out of contention early on to finish mid pack. The woman that won that race, another won living in Iten, was third in Dubai, Helen Kirop - good news as she needs the money to finish off her new house she is building over there.
01/24
**Run for Haiti on Sunday the 31st @ URBAN ATHLETICS -- I can not say enough about these guys. What I can tell you is Cara & Jerry are always there, caring and thoughtful people, and they are opening up their store-- $20 donation for the run, bagels to follow and a 20% discount on all apparel. Plus, we donate an additional 10% of sales more to the red cross for haiti!

So, please fill up on your running needs for 2010 and help those who need helping!!


INDY 500 fund raiser coming soon for S4A!
Thanks to Trackman Dave and Sara Heard for the great fridge answers. Back into the old routine. Tony and I were hanging out at GIRASOLE, the top Italian on the East Side... when I was not drinking all the coffee in his house, but I think the wife is away.
For the love of the sport

Hilda "Airlines" Kibet, European XC Champ, and Sylvia "Sleepy" Kibet, World Silver 5000m, run at the Iten Promoting AIDS awareness 5k in Kenya this past December. This girl tried so hard it looked like she was going to stumble. As the picture shows she fought off help, and ran strongly to the finish. To run your first race along side such legends is an honor indeed, and it is the community atmosphere we create at our races. All runners were met at the finish line by Mary Keitany... now a world champion, but once upon a time (in fact in Jan 2006) she was exactly like that girl who stumbled (she fell, got up finishing 21st in the Iten Shoe4Africa 10k)... Dreams do come true.

MARY KEITANY, world champion 2009.

Mary Keitany running for 21st place, January 2006 at the Shoe4Africa 10km.


01/22
This is going to be the year of the "ask" so here goes -- if you want to help S4A what we need... lots of things. Prizes for races, school equipment, SHOES of course, even a vehicle if anyone knows of any philanthropic CEO's at Toyoya etc!

On the NYC side I need to buy a new fridge - why because my fridge is as tall as me and four times as wide. In fact I may save it as a coffin, but in the meantime I want a small energy efficient half sized one. I wonder if I buy if they collect?

I am super pleased with myself. My bike did not stop as the disc brakes did not work, but I learned how to adjust them, and they now work ace! kool beans as I was considering just going to a shop and having them do it.

Yesterday I spent the whole day writing a hospital proposal plan, and now I am finally happy with something that I might have got! Still need more details, but it is amazing what 12-hours straight work can do.


THE KIBERA EVENT DEC 2008


01/21
Gebrselassie to run the NYC Half marathon. He has won 9/10 halves - has Martin Lel ever lost one?? We believe Martin will be in Portugal. A race he has of course won a couple of times. The last time he wanted to run there, or was it the time before the last, someone paid him not to run there!
Jumping back into work; a great meeting today with the WEB team, watch out for our new web site coming soon. We had Indian from the place on East 83rd for lunch. Then Tony's daughter was playing basketball so we went down to watch the match before back to his house to cook dinner and brainstorm about making 2010 the year when the funds come rolling in. Shrimp pasta, red wine, and salad! How healthy. I also tried to stretch the legs, tomorrow I try Central Park!
01/20
Back in the US of A. Straight to work to make the presentation better, objective #1 to get funds. Thanks to Ed Fox of TAFNews for ordering 30-More Fire Books!

Am happy that the weather is actually ok in NYC and not cold at all. The flights were fine but they do not feed you enough. Next time I go prepared, you would think I would learn by now. Kenya was fantastic, I love the place and it is so hard to leave. In the meantime I settle back in to Harlem!


01/15
Spent the day with Robert Cheruiyot - I went to the place he was born, met his mother, went to the place he bought with his first money from Boston, then met his step mum, went to his in-town house, drank the traditional milk; a great day - Watch out Boston 2010! Life is Good. I met Jamjar only yesterday, we went for drinks. Wilfred Bungei had a small race, on the way home we dropped in to Rita Jeptoo's place and ate lots of biscuits and drank all her juice. She has a great compound there with Bush. We dropped by the home of Priscilah Jepteling the former World Silver, speaking of which bumped in to Sleepy Sylvia today, she foes to an indoor 3000 meet in Germany next week to try and Qualify for the world's. Went to see Moses Kiptanui to learn about his business ventures.. as well as spending tons of time at the Hospital doing my research. Just saw Gilbert Koech in town... and Benjiman who ran in Berlin World Champs Marathon team... Life in Kenya!
01/08
Pretty bad updates huh? That is the internet in Kenya. Am in Nairobi right now, in fact I just met Sammy Karanja on his way to Ngong, and last night at the restaurant with Pieter and Lornah who was there but Paul Tergat; good to see him, he is looking good and fit too.
Not running much, Nairobi is not the same as Iten - when I was there I was running with a nice American guy called Jon, and a group of Swiss and German guys - I heard one of the Swiss guys has ran 27 for the 10,000m, it is a nice group.
Today I have been in meetings all day long, in fact I sat in a restaurant from dawn to dusk as differing people came in. I also went, in a lunch break to escape the lunch break, to little Umi's school as school fees are due right now. Speaking of which THANKS to Wendy Ng for helping out in this department as we move into Medical students and a guy called William, more of him later. The weather continues to be brill, am dreading the thought of being back in the cold, I think I am designed for the warm.

Tomorrow it is back up to Eldoret and hopefully doing more stuff at the hospital, more Q's to be answered, more of the presentation to be fixed, I feel we are speeding up!


01/01/10
Happy New Year and welcome to a new decade! I hope yours was better than mine. I had a pre-wedding to go to for relatives of Martin Lel's, and a meeting with the Hospital before that. All day I was shaking hands with about 600 people, we got back late, then I missed all the transport home to Iten. I stayed with Claudio in Eldo, which set me back in my plans for the 12/31. Anyway, as I arrived back in Iten I fell sick, wiped out even now. However, like a workaholic I lay in bed typing out questions to be answered by the Hospital Staff.
Most of the runners are on holidays still, and many are also waiting for details on how to travel to Abu-Dhabi for the race on the 7th, stuff like visa, hotel, pick up are yet to be confirmed.
The good news is the weather here is nice and I hear that NYC is stinky cold!
12/28
Sad news X2 - Rita Jeptoo's house was broken into, but luckily she escaped unhurt, and Joseph Kimani is in very bad health.
12/27
I was invited by Janeth Jepkosgei to come to her race, in Nandi. Claudio came and picked me up the day before the race and in the evening he took me to a Chinese, or the Chinese, in Eldo. The next morning we went to the Kapsabet track where he was coaching Matthew Kipsorio, who won the Kisii XC. Matthew was in great shape and rattled through a set of thousands and 400's like nobody's business. We then drove to Janeth's rural home. On the way passing the newly built house of Pamela Jelimo.

The race was great, I donated a few sacks of shoes but want to get more involved next year, in fact I was told by Amos Korir, a famed coach and Chairman of the AK Nandi, that I was going to get involved next year!

Isaac Songok was there, in fact he has just bought a new house in Eldo, Japheth Kimutai who I used to train with, Martin Lel- one of my best Kenyan friends, and more of him later, Alfred Yego - who with Janeth is the only person to have medalled in the 800m for the 2007 worlds, 2008 Olympics and 2009 worlds! Both are Claudio's athletes! After the race we went back to Janeth's house for dinner, she is such an angel, and she took me to meet her grandmother who raised her.

I skipped over Christmas day - but quickly I had the most amazing conversations over Christmas Dinner with Disi, the Rwandan athlete and national record holder, 59:32 for the half, as he told me all about the genocide of 1994, losing 200 of his relatives and seeing his own mother stabbed to death... poor soul. He has invited me to help with the Rwandan Peace Marathon in 2010.


12/22
Here’s the story. In 2009 Stacey Kelly had become involved with S4A and joined our board. An ex Wall St mogul she now ran a charity called Small Voices that delivered Christmas presents to NYC children, and lots of them. For their tenth anniversary their goal was 10,000 kids. She asked me if I could help with 2000 over in Africa and gave a donation. At first I thought about footballs, then for finances I thought about exercise books and pencils. We narrowed the goal to 1000 kids. But then I thought if she is doing this then I should add too, the goal then went up to 2500.

2009 had been a rough year for Kenya, and in many parts the land had not tasted water for the entire year. My mind went back in Christmas 2008. Then I remembered the sad faces, how after waiting for the celebration, they realized that the day would be spent begging food. Near the Baringo to Pokwot district, best known for cattle rusting and AK-47’s, there had been dire hunger. "An international crisis and call for help" had come from the politicians. People here were eating just maize and then donkeys, and then dogs.

What if they could have a food package for Christmas? Chapatis in Kenya, unlike those in India, are a thick, sweet, doughy meal and a treat for any kid. You need cooking fat, flour, and sugar. So, from the supermarket, we got 2500kgs of sugar in sacks, 2500 clear plastic bags, and a cup that measured out a kilo. We got 2500kgs of flour, and pots of cooking fats, then also the same amount of little packets of tea.

The day after the race I worked with about six Kenyan volunteers, including Precious Boit, and a Tanzanian runner called Malack, and we packed the food. We unloaded the supermarket trucks, and worked like slaves. As fast as lightning we tried, the incredible Malack, who was a Maasai from TZ, was carrying 100kgs of sugar on his back and running from the truck. Following a break for lunch I asked Precious if she instead wished to swim in the pool, "No, let me pack sugar."

By six in the evening word got out that we were suffering with the magnitude of the job and for the last hour a slue of people came to help, the Kenyan way. European athletes like Oliver Hoffman from Germany, Reina from Holland, and the Simba.

The next day, extremely early the truck left, then Precious and her sisters Neema & Joy, Malack, and I, a local girl who knew the roads called Naomi, and two members of the church complete with a couple of members of the press who wished to come along, all packed into a twenty year old Nissan with no air conditioning and drove down the valley to the place where the rivers now were as dry as sand, where the cattle displayed every bone in their body, where the trees were so dry they cracked in the wind. The temperature was a stifling 40-Celsius and the hot sun pounded the bed of ground we stood on. We went to five centers where children came running, opened up the back of the truck and gave out every last drop of food.

I could not eat the entire day. When I saw the people who had not been eating for so long my stomach said no when we ourselves were offered food. It was a most rewarding day with the children singing 'May God bless you' in each center. Had I been born there I too would have been a singer instead of a passer-out. We had now changed the charity to add the dimension of feeding the hungry and I at once made a commitment, funding or not, to repeat the program.


12/21
The Shoe4Africa Promoting AIDS Awareness 5km. Although the field was supposed to be capped at 500 over 580 women and girls completed the challenging off road hilly course on Sunday, 20th December, run at 2400m altitude with Helen Kirop, who represented Kenya at the Berlin World Championships this past summer, taking first place in an outstanding 16:33. World two-miles record holder Daniel Komen flagged off the race, and Olympic Champion Matthew Birir and the current World Champion for the half marathon Mary Keitany held the finishers tape. There were celebrity runners in the pack including Hilda, European Cross Champion, and Sylvia Kibet, Silver medalist at the world championships 5000m, Lornah Kiplagat and others. The crowd, as usual in Iten, included the who's who of athletics. Following the race Birir gave a talk on AIDS awareness, followed by Ben Kogo from Athletics Kenya, then Olympic Silver medalist "the Eldoret Express" Janeth Jepkosgei awarded the twelve cash prizes. Janeth, Sylvia and Mary then handed out the 250-pairs of shoes that were raffled out to the race finishers. All athletes received a free T shirt, and as usual, with the Shoe4Africa way, there was no entry fee for all the runners. Race organizer Toby Tanser said, "For me to see the top athletes coming, mingling with the new up and coming athletes and passing the message of the importance of getting tested for this disease (AIDS), and knowing where you can get counseling from in this area, with free treatment, plus the women's empowerment, is inspiring. Furthermore Helen's new course record was simply amazing on this tough dirt course."
12/18
Gorgeous weather here in Iten! Today I have been printing up posters for the race on Sunday in Iten. We drove round town and of course the men are again asking, "Why not for us?" Iten is so big these days. I talked with Moses Kiptanui, Moses Tanui, and Ben Limo who will all be coming by, and Matthew Birir, and also to Sally Barsosio. Right now I am trying to reach the radio station. The course has been planned and it is a killer loop - NO one will run fast on this, the hills are massive, and the footing is mud. I also spoke with Claudio, Dr Rosa'a top coach, it will be good to see him again!
We went to Eldoret as well today, just for a very short trip, and the food continues to be good although I am yet to get a decent cup of coffee - I blame Starbucks for this!
12/16
Kenya is stunning. Am now in Iten organizing the race that will be run this Sunday. Funny to see the changes, all the time, here. The new guns are now building the houses in Iten. Florence Kiplagat has a shiny new blue house, Hilda is soon to build her house, the Masai's are building lots... Linet of course is Kenya's new golden girl after Pamela. And I can promise you Pamela will never shine to the level she did before, 100% never sub 1:57 again. Linet, is aiming for the World Cross, but will also take a gamble for a $300,000 distraction to run the Abu Dhabi Half Marathon - she already has the world record in the 10-miles... Also running Abu Dhabi are 20-Ethiopian sub 69-min running women, and, the big name (Also in Iten) Mary Keitany! We think Mary might have a small injury, but her physio is saying no. However the inside scoop was she was not looking super smooth running the other morning.

Should the world record go, and it probably will, there is a $1-million bonus. Watch the men's match up with Wanjiru Vs Kitwara Vs Tadese!! Amongst of course many many others. Race director Pius is saying 60:09 is too slow for an invite to the men's field (but if you have ran that 'slow' you can make your own way there.

Yesterday I went for a run with the Simba whilst we discussed the hospital project, and also her project - a school. We said 30-minutes but ended up running for 80-minutes as we talked so much. Out on the run we met Hilda Kibet. Small town, big world.


12/13
Since this morning there have been five powercuts. I am sitting in Java Adams making web pages for Shoe4Africa - the school project. Heavy rains last night. The flights were good apart from fog that delayed us in London. How come everyone rushes to get off the plane only to stand in the alleyway that takes you from the plane to the terminal? And how come in England everyone just stands on the elevators?

Yesterday I went to a nice wedding for Tunes & her new husband. I did one traditional dance in a field, ate chapatis and played with kids most of the time. Today is back to work. In fact I am soon off to Kibera, I was going to go straight to Iten today, but rain delays so instead I go manana. The upcoming race is coming soon! Watch this space.


12/10

A Christmas wish. In 2010 I can lay this Hospital Project to rest by raising the money... Ok, Anyone can wish because Hope is for free, as are wishes. When I think of how far we have come... In 2008 we started collecting, now we have over $650,000 (enough to build a clinic) as we push on. Still the only charity I can find that is building a hospital with a one person (unpaid) staff ;->
**Okay I wish there was pay 'n benefits but the job is the best in the world, every day I wake up being grateful for the day when I got this project handed to me by my good friends Pieter and Lornah who I am really looking forward to seeing soon. Fingers crossed for 2010.


So I fly off to Kenya! Some really exciting fun projects ahead that I am looking forward to! Also getting the hospital project more in line. The more I do the more I realize I need to do. That said today I felt we moved a big step closer and it is weird because it is pieces coming together, good to hear also that the people we are trying to sell the project to have heard about me and know of Shoe4Africa's work already. Anyway, not to jinx anything.

Lunch at Girasole, the top Italian on the Upper East Side, 82nd off Third - you should check it out, service, food n all is exceptional!


Heard from Sleepy Sylvia - it will be good to see her in Iten... She had a wonderful season with that World Silver in the 5000m.
Also talking to Mobile giving people today bearing in mind the text to give idea.
12/09
All in a day - Today a meeting with my board members Tony and Stacey at Alice's Tea Shop off Columbus at 73rd... hm, the coffee was a little too weak, but... then I shot off to midtown meetings - Michael Kaye Couture who is working on a Shoe4Africa necklace, then to see my mentor Michael who was telling me all the knowledge I never got in university. Also to the bank to deposit checks of $22,000!! Wowee, including Ryan Reynolds $15,000.

Talking of which... we are proud to announce, running with Shoe4Africa, in the 2010 ING New York City Marathon, the Dame, the former World champion, London & New York Marathon Champion, Liz McColgan!

THANKS LIZ!! Husband Peter is running too!


12/08
The little pic: Toby, Sarah Jones, Anthony Edwards & Tegla Loroupe.

A day in the life continues... of building a hospital! Today I had the joy of standing for half an hour in line at the Post Office to get five rolls of postage stamps. Half an hour! And then it took me another twenty minutes sticking all the stamps on, and resealing envelopes. I was inches away from tossing all the envelopes in the post box adn I noticed two holes 'local' and 'out of town' - Geez, then I had to sort out all the piles. This lasted for about 200 until I realized I was running late for coaching, so I dashed off and stuffed the remainder in 'local'. Oh well!

After coaching I went to check my mail, little hickup here - I don't have internet connection and do 50% on my work on the internet (do you know how many emails we get per day?), but have a place at 46th ST that does, so I am lollipopping between the two, five miles (about four times today - great for my bicycling skills). Speaking of which, don't buy a WII board these holidays, for the true reality get a bike and cycle in Manhattan. Ten points to avoid a taxi, 9 for a car service...

Speaking of which when I went to Vegas the driver on the way to the airport, from India, was a wanna be BollySinger.. he sung at the top of his voice, with booming India-beats (which I had no complaints about), but got so engrossed in the music we came to a grinding halt and smashed into the car in front in Queens. I had a Chinese driver on the way back, same ethnic music, less singing and no crash... Anyroads, so I was shuttling up and down all day. Went to lunch with Tony in midtown at a nice Italian at Broadway and 51st - we had Minestrone Soup as it was so cold, two beers, as it was so cold(!), and the rich vodka sauce Salmon pasta special, and Cappuccino. The sauce was so rich both of us declined the desserts - nice place.

Then I zipped back to have a conference call with the lawyers about a trademark infringement, of course another cycle ride as they wanted some papers that of course I did not have, another five miles back downtown, before an evening talk to a new group I am going to coach, who are going to run the Paris Half Marathon and fund raise for S4A, so I am there head coach. Got home at 10 to a pile of checks to enter into the data base, addresses and whatnots, sign and take to the bank tomorrow!

Tomorrow morning - coaching Central Park 7-8, and 9-10, I should also be at a meeting at 10 at the Little Cup on the West Side, of course I will be sweaty and on the East Side. I have another meeting at the Rockefeller Center at 11:30 in midtown, an appointment at the bank at 1pm uptown... And that is just the morning! Pass me another beer - if I become an alcoholic doing this please don't blame me.


Totally so sweet! Wendy Martin, in a short time, has become a good friend and a great friend to Shoe4Africa. She hass some amazing stories, been to Kenya blah blah, but... read this, "my daughter just got a big Christmas present from her grand-dad. unfortunately, my dad is terminal, he was diagnosed w/ ALS/Lou Gehrig's over 5 yrs ago. so it's a mixed-feelings thing. but she wanted to donate a part of it to S4A. actually, she wanted to donate all of it, but i'm trying to teach her the concept of planning, budgeting, saving..... ah, good luck to me. so, need to send you an additional $500 from a 13 yr old who wants to be a pediatrician someday in your hospital. that one's for the hospital." Wow, makes all my confused, mixed up, meddling, running around, hanging off lamposts worth it - Thank you Sweet Katie. Gosh, what an advanced Kid, when I was thirteen... Gosh..., that is the brilliance of this project, people all around are pulling together - Thanks so much Masami, to David Linn... so many! Inspiring!
PS: Over 650,000 now!!
12/07
3rd Annual Jingle Bell Relay www.mkcoaching.com 917-579-7307 3rd Annual Jingle Bell Relay
A Fun-Run Benefitting the Young People's Chorus of New York City
100% of Donations will go to YPC You can also go online and donate directly at www.ypc.org

For more info: call Mike at 917-579-7307 mike@mkcoaching.com When: Tuesday December 15th at 7pm. Where: the East Side of 102nd St transverse on the park drive in Central Park.

Please attend if you can.


Trip to Las Vegas. I stayed at the Hilton; not even a coffee machine in the room. What a blow especially as after I knew there was bad beans there so I brought my own. The Hotel looks like it was built in the 1920's and the people in it smoke in all the non smoking areas, smell, and wear cowboy hats. Can you believe? I thought I was on a film set. It was an In and Out trip to Vegas. I was coming to be a support member of the Team LifeLine Charity team, and amazing group of people with a charity like the Hole in the Wall Gang.

But, to be honest the whole entire time I was in Las Vegas I was either in the dining room (with nice folks) or in my hotel room. I am serious, the whole time (until Sunday). I sat the whole time from dawn till dusk writing thank you letters for all the checks we received for Shoe4Africa. Can you believe I wrote 489 thank you letters, 489 envelopes I addressed, 489 times I wrote my return address on envelopes! I tell a lie, I did go somewhere apart from sitting in my hotel room. I went to the business center to try and buy 489 stamps. They were like, "Are you crazy Sir? There is a stamp machine but it only accepts quarters. Y'all gonna be feeding that machine for a long, long time." I decided to wait till I get back to NYC and go to a regular Post Office. On Sunday I went out and cheered for the marathon for 5-hours. I froze as I stood there with a cowbell. The team ran great, superb!

Writing addresses; This is what happens when you don't have a staff. Back in New York I am having a few meetings this week that will further project me on this path; to be honest the hospital proposal is lousy. When you read it, not skim, you see it has more holes than a Teabag and anyone with serious money would toss it in the garbage. I have found a great new friend, Michael, who is going to help me get this all in line. He is also helping to look at what big companies might have a vested interest. I also have a meeting with Catherine who won the poker night, she is an architect and is going to help me with the designs for the school I am building. I am keeping this project separate from Shoe4Africa or people will think I am a certified nutter, but it is going great, and I think (hope n pray) I am at 25% of the funding done. I have a meeting that may get me to a lot lot closer in the coming days.

One of the big exciting projects coming up is a partnership with Small Voices - to give gifts to 2000 children. Well it just so happens that kids are starving in Kenya right now, the kind of starving that goes beyond what the word spells here in America. So it looks like we have a truck to go to the bad district, and then buy food Xmas bags of aid to give to 2000 kids... it’s a small step but I am still crying from last xmas day when I remember walking round in Kibera. I wrote about this on this blog last year, I was saying "Happy Christmas!" They were telling me no, no happy Christmas. This year we have no food, how is it happy? When someone comes to the door we'll pretend that we aren't in as we have no hospitality to offer. Imagine on the day you wish, all year to celebrate, instead you find yourself going out to have to beg... When I see things like this I too wish there was no Christmas.


An issue I am also discovering with this hospital project is I talk the idea to someone, they talk to a "Kenyan" to get another point of view, and then boom, "I think maybe our monies are better spent in another area. I talked with ___ and he's Kenyan, he has a better perspective. But you know what? The truth of the matter is, well let me explain better with the last letter of reply I sent (with names removed);

Thanks for talking today, and I look forward to talking in person. However to touch a little on what we were talking about today. 90% of Kenyans will directly ask you to invest in 'their' backyard. It is extremely difficult to get a partisan view of what is needed and where by asking any Kenyan Doctor a direct question. In my experience of years of doing business in East Africa the answer is invariably in the district where they own land/were born/have political influence.

Kenya is the most tribal of all east African countries I have visited, witnessed by the horrific ethnic clashes of 2007/8 that the Nobel Prize winner of Kenya (Wangari) called "Ethnic Cleansing."

With 42 tribes and land issues still being fought over, and at least 30 differing languages it is a nation of mistrust. Every single time you talk to a Kenyan about a project/idea they will tell you the goods/bads and then try to persuade you to do a project in their district. I am guessing, yet guaranteeing you, that the ____worker is not from the Western Highlands of Kenya. Just as the Minister of Sports was not from Nairobi when I asked her for assistance to help with a project in Nairobi. ("What are you doing for the people of my district?" She asked with her first sentence when I was doing a project involving giving out 12,000 pairs of shoes).

The real authoritative voice of Kenyan health surely comes from the Minister of Health, Professor Peter Anyang' Nyong'o. When I was researching the Minister's I talked with the former head of the Rockefeller Foundation for Africa, Dr. Peter Matlon, "You cannot find a better, more impartial man than Anyang." The Minister of health is backing this project, fully, and extends his belief this is the best place for this institution. Not in his home district(!)

Furthermore Khama Rogo, I posted his resume below, also endorses the project. He was so happy to hear that we are partnering with the MOI. (PS: Moi does not refer to the former President, as some people who tend to not like this project think, the word Moi means Heffer in the local language and the hospital we are aligning with was built in 1917!) I cannot think of two better references than Rogo and the minister of health.

I went on for quite a bit but the gist of it was healthcare is needed all over Kenya. But, beyond where you were born, there are areas crying out for help that have all the right components- Eldoret is it. The money in Kenya is in two cities, Nairobi and Mombasa, then comes Malindi and Lamu where the rich jet set go. There is no money or draw to the West of Kenya… and Eldoret is the fastest growing town in Kenya, with over 300,000 people.

Anyway, Khama Rogo's BIO:
* Chairman National Council for Population and Development
* Co-Chair World Bank
* Health Care Consultant World Bank
* Vice President for Africa
* President Kenya Medical Association
* President Kenya Obstetrical and Gynecological Society
* Chairman Centre for the Study of Adolescence
* Chairman and Founder Centre for the Study of Adolescence
* Consultant World Health Organization


Am I right, or am I right?
12/04
ANNOUNCEMENT: Sunday December 20th, SHOE4AFRICA WOMEN'S AIDS AWARENESS 5km. Iten, Kenya. Free entry, free T shirt to all runners, Shoe raffles and great prize money... come and run with the Lions of the Sport. *Limited entries!
Rita Jeptoo "Train Hard Win Easy" all da very best!"
Super sad news. Patrick Konchellah has passed away. The younger brother to two time world champ Billy, the uncle to world champ Gregory, the father to world 800m star Felix. It was coming. The last time I visited his area he was barefoot and drinking in the village. In the year 1999, when I was training in Ngong, Patrick had rented a house there and was training really hard. He had a Dutch manager and was planning to make his mark at the Olympics, he was the top 800m runner then. I really nice guy, very focused with amazing talent. I spent a long time talking to him as I was researching 800m running and he was more than generous with his time. So, in 2007, when I was hunting him out in the rural, I was super sad to see where he was headed.. and then he arrived. A great man, and that 44-yrs were lived far greater than many who live to be double that age.
12/03
I noticed today I write over 100-emails PER day, easily, for Shoe4Africa. I went to sent mail and went... yikes! Plus I am thankful for Joey from Achilles! He helped me fax over the form to the company who was requiring a W9. But guess what, I get home and someone has sent another form, something about compliance if funds are to be used overseas, so now I will have to get on my bike, cycle back, print out, fax out... a never ending process. Things are going well though. Breakfast with a man from Atlanta called Jim who looks like he is going to help big. Especially if NYU does not pull through.
Meanwhile London is ahead in the world and announcing its 2010 field! Great line up. First ever Virgin London Marathon.
12/02

The great Woldemar Kostre, the coach behind so so much of the Ethiopian Success.

Big thanks to DECO the football star in Chelsea FC who also plays with Ronaldo for Portugal, although he is originally from Brazil. We have a signed sportscap from him that we'll be giving to a special SHOE4AFRICA Supporter.. tonight!

"He is a genius, just like Zidane" - Jose Mourinho (of Deco).


I get a donation, but they need a W9. So I have to run down to 38th ST, go and use the printer, go home and fill out all the details. Now I need to fax it to the recipient. Who's charity can I use now for a fax? It is tough being a charity with sweet nada. But the funny thing is I hate asking for things for myself, but I am learning to ask for the charity. The only flip side is then, in the eyes of the giver, it becomes a personal favor owed. Still don't have an internet plan - imagine, we got about 1,000 donations on paypal over the past few months, and how annoying it is trying to transfer, reply, send the tax ID when you don't have internet.
Looks like we have to move our AIDS 5km from Dec 19th as there is a big meet in Kenya on that day in Kisii and I don't want to alienate the competition as I am sure the other race has no $$ for the women's field.
12/01
Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in Grand Central - Iceberg salad, Roasted potatoes & Tuna, and the bread pudding with three Heinekens. We went to the double quiet upstairs. It is actually a nice place in a busy zone that escapes all that. The food was so so. Cents did not like the bread pudding...
Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam on fire in the World XC season, and for the ladies, Linet Masai, of Kenya. The latter should defo be the world XC champion 2010; that is safe money.
WORLD AIDS DAY: Shoe4Africa announces its AIDS AWARENESS 5k in Iten, Kenya, on Dec 19th. Prize money, all entrants a free T shirt, and no entry fee! Running shoes to be raffled off.
11/30
I am loosing it. I was just shaving and instead of going for the beard I went for the eyeball. God knows why. So distracted. I have started writing envelopes to about 500 people, then I remembered for the thank you letters I needed an amount with the name for the envelope, at the same time I am just back from the bank, who accepted a cheque in pounds sterling, told me they submit it to the office to do a cross-thingey, they forgot, submitted as dollars, and are now sending me back the cheque AND charging me $20. PLUS, there were two cheques from the same bank and the second was actually in dollars, and they stamped 'foreign currency' on both. Of course this can be all sorted but what it means is a morning at the bank where I am nearly every day now. Plus I went over a pothole so I got two punctures, it was a virtual bomb blast...

So I was running around on foot, then it starts raining and I have all these cheques (others) in my hands. I am calling up a football manufacturing place for soccer balls because someone has kindly offered to help 2000 kids with gifts before xmas, at the same time as trying to organize my next race in Kenya, also before xmas, with ordering T shirts, getting the permission from Athletics Kenya and the District Office, and coaching someone, plus I had a meeting at the NYRR about the 2010 Hope & Possibility, a school in Kenya, and many other things, then I get back and I was thinking that I was running the Las Vegas half this weekend, (I needed a qual. time for something) and then someone tells me no you need to do something else there, right at this last minute... so in short it is no wonder I am killing myself softly with razor blades.. and this goes on 24/7. Right now I have to go and find a printer, oh and also find a W9 to fill out for another donation. Then I guess a scanner to get it back... Aiy.


11/27
It's a small, small world. In 2008, the spring of, I was in Iten with Sally Barsosio. One morning we went for a run and another runner called Lillian Lagat came along. The next day Lillian did not show, but instead a runner called Florence Ngetich came along. Now, I remember this because Sally rarely comes to Iten, in fact this was the first time in an age, and we only did about four or five runs there as she usually trains in Ngong. Anyway, here is the little story. Lillian ended up coming to America, going to a Div 3 school and she won the NCJAA Half Marathon in 2008 in Kansas. Then I get an email today from Florence, "Guess what, I have made it to America. I won a half marathon this month." And of course, yes, you guessed it - it was the 2009 NCJAA in Kansas!
11/26
You know I don't really post, but I should. I get some nice emails with donations, like.. "Toby, I read about you in Runner's World. I made a mental note to follow up. It took me a while. I referee youth soccer. This year I decided to buy no one presents, just to donate to charity. I admire what you are trying to do with an idea. I wish you success."
Janet N. from Los Gatos.

"I am very happy to be a small part of this wonderful project, and I send gratitude and applause to you for directing your time and energy in such a wonderful way. Here's hoping that you will enjoy a beautiful and a celebratory holiday tomorrow ! With warm regards, Steven and Helen." From Connecticut. Thanks so much!


Great to see Alemtsehay & Haron win Manchester road race! I was talking to Alemtsehay yesterday and she was mentioning that she was tired from running on Sunday in the Dominican, and now she wins, cool! Meanwhile I was e-talking to Haron as he is on his way to Kenya, via Manchester, so this is his last race before the xmas vacation! Cool beans!
11/25

This athlete recently won the World Championships, and has been unbeatable at the half marathon - huge talent, Mary Keitany.

In this Shoe4Africa race a few years ago, Mary finished 21st,and one place out of the prize money. 20th place was Sharon from Zimbabwe. Mary, however, fell at the halfway point. It was the start of an amazing career.
11/24
Usain Bolt and Sanya Richards are World Athletes of the Year - 2009 World Athletics Gala picks two of the century's best.
From Africa to India! Well nearly - in the a.m. I was in a meeting discussing the next year's Hope & Possibility race and it looks like we are going to have a race start at the same time in Iraq. i.e. the plan is your entry fee over here will also sponsor a soldier to run over there! And the p.m. I am looking at the feasibility of partnering with an established charity (unlike my own) and having a series of running races over Africa, so kind've to India, if we started on the West coast and worked East. Actually Senegal seems to be a key place.
Furthermore soap - is anyone an expert, know an expert? I am looking for a soap expert to help with the concept Beauty4Africa.
Running wise, the weather still remains fab in Central Park. A nice quote from Heather R., "Also, I started reading your book- the Kenyan work ethic is so inspiring! I had signed up for the road runners race this morning months ago, and i thought about skipping it, but when i woke up i thought about Kenya and I ran it and I got my fastest 4 mi ever- imagine that! Thanks for the book!!!!" That's More Fire to ya!
Next Shoe4Africa race - Dec 19th in Iten, KENYA, for ladies.
11/23
If you want to run the Empire State run up go to NYRR now to enter, limited time PS: it is easy easy, Much easier than 10-min son a stair climber,but no one does it! Imagine I had NEVER ran up a step in my life until the morning of, but I managed 3rd. If you can sign up, you WILL surprise yourself, but no body does. An in shape runner would kill this event!
ALL Sunday writing thank you letters, from dawn to dusk. Gosh, it kills - my social life is like licking a stamp. Not that I complain, it is the life I choose! And PS; Harlem still rocks!
11/21
Anthony Edwards hits 100,000 followers on TWITTER.
11/20
Big congrats to Jenny Ennis of Sheffield becoming UK's sportperson of the year-great city. Seb Coe's stomping ground, Peter Elliott the next door neighbor...

Big race coming up in Oz-land; "Melbourne, Australia - Germany's Irina Mikitenko has been added to the stellar line up to contest the women's division of 15km race around the streets of Melbourne on 29 November. The past two Olympic marathon champions - Kenyan Sammy Wanjiru (Beijing) and Italian Stefano Baldini (Athens) - had already been declared for the men's field.(IAAF)


Where did MARY KEITANY begin her career? Thanks Jeroen! In Shoe4Africa! Great pics coming later gator! Mary is the hot name on the roads right now!
How nice is Harlem? So I am in my new apartment and my neighbors come up and invite me to a thanksgiving dinner! In 9-years on the Upper East Side that never happened once; how sweet! I love it, I keep on getting shocked that strangers all wish you a good and pleasant day as you pass them on the streets!! In NYC? Harlem, my friend, Harlem! My new running club, Shoe4Africa Harlem! And great news my friend Diederik has moved in three minutes walk away; cool!
Lunch with Tony at the Indian - the food was really good, but the naam bread is not as good as Earthen Oven on W72nd & Columbus. This place is on E83rd and Third or Lex I forget which. I must add that Kingfisher reminds me of Budweiser too. But the food was very good, we were virtually the only ones in the place - so if you are looking for a quiet Indian lunch, here is your spot!
OH my gosh! I used to coach 'The Judge' as he was known on this site, now the Judge was judging the Bernie Madoff case!! Congrats to the ever successful Judge Denny Chin!! A great guy. Now I am getting my insider's. Funny actually, a lot of donations to a certain charity on the UES are Madoff money! I hear thru the grapevine anyway.
I received this letter, about MORE FIRE. There are some people who read your book, and then there are others who should have written it. If Michael can get this grasp and then go beyond. A full understanding and then climb a flight of stairs, well anyway, Kenyan running explained!

Gainsaid that I enjoyed our meeting last week. And, I read your book. I not only enjoyed that too (although it is written for real runners, not lapsed “thud, thud, thud” plodders like me). Moreover, I enjoyed it on several other levels: insights into the Kenyan worldview, anthropological and cultural studies (which I have been fascinated by since a mentor in college radically affected my life), I learned a lot about Kenyans (your caring for the people about whom you write is palpable), and the author (one’s choice of subject matter, verbs and adjectives, etc. reveals much about a writer: e.g., going hungry for days on the streets of Amsterdam is simpatico with Paul Tergat’s quote” I know what it’s like to go hungry,” “vortex of shame”, how Robert Cheruiyot “walked on the fumes of his last meal“, and, “I do not want to smear the shadow of these gazelles … .” come to mind.

Speaking of mind, as mankind has learned over the recent past (last few millennia), the seat of a human’s activity, his/her executive suite, is not the heart, but that ineffable epiphenomenon of the brain – the Mind! This is where the “fire” under discussion burns and is stoked, not the belly. It’s all in one’s mind. But not all minds are alike. A glass is a glass dimensionally, but what’s in it varies from pasteurized hormone-filled cow’s milk, to, mursiik. Reality is universal but refracted locally in discrete mind sets. This is something that has intrigued me with respect to philosophy, art and the modern humane substitute for warfare: sports, including running.

I was first aware of Asian martial arts years before Bruce Lee hit the scene in the U.S. I wrote my master’s thesis in Non-Western Civilizations on Bodhidharma, the proverbial monk who both started Kung Fu at the Shaolin temple in China, and, created what is known as Zen Buddhism. Of course, on its face, a runner and a kung fu (or later karate) fighter appears to be someone focused on the physical side. But this misses the true potential, and driver, of both. Physicality is but a means to conquer, not the field of runners or the adversary in a ring (or even on a battlefield), but one’s self. An ancient verse from India says that between he who conquers 10,000 men in battle, and he who conquers himself, the latter is the greater victor!

I witnessed this spiritual underpinning of the martial arts totally commercialized and eroded over the past 40 years in the U.S. It unfortunately didn’t just atrophy here. Your references to Kamariny as “a sacrosanct patch of ground” of the world for Kenyan runners reminded me of the Shaolin Temple. When I went there about five years ago, it had become what I sadly called the “Cirque de Shaolin”. An amusement park where the monks were wearing Nike sneakers! I had trouble (even with a Chinese friend) locating Bodhidharma’s cave where he (according to legend) sat facing a wall for six years, and tore off his eyelids so that they would not interfere with his meditation. The same single-mined doing whatever has to be done as he Kenyans!

With great effort I finally located the stairway to the cave and climber all of the 1,000 or so irregular stone steps (a humbling “Heartbreak Hill!”). Almost no one else was climbing this famously significant part of Chinese history; and, at the top I was virtually alone. Yet Shaolin also reminded me of Kamariny because it is the focus (no longer of using the body to perfect the mirror of the mind, but as a stepping stone for poverty-stricken rural Chinese kids to fame and fortune (as a Kung Fu movie star). There numerous martial arts schools surround the temple, with about 50,000 students, and they exist as an artificial dream fulfiller (for a very few). But, as with Kamariny, it is ground zero for a way to get out.

Despite this understandable but sad commonality, it struck me that the Kenyans have not yet succumbed totally to the “sportification” of their traditionally “life at risk” endeavors, and the requisite mental discipline to this scale of effort. I think that the professor from Moi Univ.’s statement is particularly apropos: “[W]e start life under attack; we fight for everything…. When Kenyans run they are hunters, they are fighters, as they did from the first day that they realized that life is a fight.” Isn’t that warfare, for survival? Didn’t this first start a few million years ago? There is a deep subliminal reason why the highest honor in Kenya is The Order of the Grand Warrior, and not the Grand Herder!

I found it very interesting that so many of the Kenyan runners you quoted (BTW, your knowledge is encyclopedic!!) referred to the desired state of existence (or its negation) as death. Truly, their (not the typical US runner’s) experience is closer to the shaman’s ordeal, symbolic death and then resurrection, the “eternal return” of anthropology. It seems to me that to a Kenyan, with his/her worldview (albeit tempered by pictures of Christ in most huts), running is not only culturally traditional, but also much more in tune with Nature and Reality than it is as a sport. The ancient Shaolin monks or the ancient Maasai warriors, weren’t training for point scoring events.

Running is primal. Unlike other sports, nothing is needed, not even shoes. It’s about a spirit between the earth and the sky: mankind’s thin realm. Running is as natural as standing, and a natural progression of such. I very much liked the phrase: “Movement is the awestruck joy of the body.” Putting the shot, javelin throwing, kayaking, basketball, etc. are all far down the Space/Time Continuum from the eons of pre-tool (and pre-weapon) evolution, which just happened to happen around the Great Rift Valley (coincidence? Or, material factor?). An argument could be made that man first ran in (or around) Kenya. It’s not so far from Laetoli where we have early evidence of late stage upright bi-pedalism (a family walking). Perhaps there a yet to be discovered set of footprints exhibiting long strides?

At any rate, and notwithstanding theoretical distinguishing (and to Westerners excusing and explanatory) factors, such as lean leg muscle, large and extra-springy heel bones, altitude advantages, oxygenation capacity, a hunter-gatherer’s (mostly, from what you say, gatherers) diet, etc, which are used to “justify” the disproportionate Kenyan winning stats, from my reading of your book, these are clearly secondary. The answer is in the Kenyan mind.

It seems to me that (and, of course, there is always an attendant downside), but with specific regard to running, their advantage is that their minds are more “natural” than their American and European competitors. By this I mean there is less post-modern white noise interfering in their lives (sleep, wake, run, eat, rest, run, sleep). They are actually blessed with so little TV penetration; Americans spend 5 hours a day watching the wasteland while Kenyans run. Importantly, and in contradistinction to most others, Kenyans run in space, not time. Time does not, as you point out, motivate them, either in practice or in a race. Rather, winning, that is, to them, “surviving” the ordeal of the “sacrifice”, the “burning,” the “fire”, and “more fire”, is what does. Diversion by luxuries (necessities to Westerners) is absent to these men and women who live (by force and circumstance) in the moment, a simpler more focused, natural moment, a moment not constricted by the clock). Who return, to the animal state and live, “here we live like animals” [Paul Tergat] to train. Training is more like ritual than practice, “Training is sacred…” [John Litei ]. It is where, Moses Kiptanui says, one must die in order to race well. They shed there unnecessary trappings down to their organic essence.

I found it important that there seems to be almost no ego among the Kenyan record holders and champions. Their identity is social, not individual (Harambee?). They are a part of their tribe or nation (not necessarily their political country); something bigger than themselves as individuals. I don’t know how much ancestor reverence plays in the Kenyan worldview but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was significant as the spirit that is common among a “people” is a strong motivating force. The goal is to achieve for the spirit of one’s people. It is the goal, not the gold, that counts.

I have come to know that everything in life is definition. I suspect that the Kenyans have a different definition of winning that we do. Kip Keino’s statement: “Whether one wins or loses over here doesn’t matter” is very ancient Asia. Breaking the tape is merely a confirmation that the ordeal has been successfully suffered through and that the goal has been achieved. Running is but the medium for such achievement and ribbons and trophies are merely tangible recognition. The race is run internally; the true Kamariny, just was the true Shaolin Temple, is in the mind.

My experience with running is negligible compared to yours. However, as with your personal stories in the book, I too have a couple of running experiences that stand out. I’ll recount to shorter and less spiritual. In the early 1980’s I would go to Europe often. I befriended the manager of Merrill Lynch’s Swiss business (in Zurich), who was also an ultra-marathoner. When he learned I was a “runner” (remember everything in life is definition, and his of “runner” was very different than mine – my PB was 10 miles – but a near religious experience) he insisted that I run with him. It was winter and his home was near a trail that one of the big Swiss banks had built as a community gift. My excuse that I didn’t have running shoes was of no avail as he had all sizes at the ready so that no fly might escape his web and imperative to run.

Of course, we did not run together along the path in the Alps. I soon lost sight of him as the course wound through pine trees and snow flakes wafted down through the crisp clean air. Magical! The Swiss are renowned for their almost military and mechanical three D’s, and Fred was a paradigm example, a “winner” by Western definition (ribbons galore). However, what the Kenyans have is, I think, over and above compliance with the technical 3 D’s which Tergat lists. Achieving these D’s is of course a Herculean effort and a laudable achievement, but something achieved by all elite athletes. It is the common denominator among elite athletes (in my opinion as one not admitted to membership in this group). However, come race day there is something special, intangible, immeasurable and unquantifiable that seems to separate those who somehow make the rest of the world-class athletes (not just runners) seem like it’s almost unfair! Like winning the Kentucky Derby by 10 lengths! How could this be?

Part of it seems to be that the Kenyans set the bar high above the test of the actual event (championship, Olympics, etc) and routinely run the test, actually more than the test event) each and every training practice. Belief is the center of their achievement but their belief is founded upon a knowing that they can – because they have already accomplished the targeted feat in the death of their training.

I found the book compelling. It gave me a cat scan of the Kenyan character. It even made me (momentarily) nostalgic about a 10K. I am sure that it helps many an elite athlete and serious runner. However, I note (and agree) that you never say the book informs as to how to be a Kenyan runner. I remember an Olympic coach once being asked “How does one become an Olympic Athlete champion?” His response was: “Choose your parents well.” I feel that if the question were “How does one run like a Kenyan?”, my answer would have to be: “Chose Kenyan parents.” While a non-Kenyan may be able to run “like” a Kenyan, only someone with Kenyan DNA is able to run “as” a Kenyan.

Thank you. Keep running. Keep writing.

Cheers,

Michael Spiessbach


11/18
ANOTHER Olympic Gold for Kenya - Bahrain's Olympic 1500m champion Rashid Ramzi has been stripped of his gold medal after testing positive for doping at the 2008 Beijing Games. It looks highly likely now that Asbel Kiprop takes Gold for Kenya. Has there ever been a country that has won the Men's and Women's Olympic middle distances? 800m Gold for Wilfred & Pamela, 1500m Gold for Nancy & Asbel. Y'know? That is a case of MORE FIRE!
I am sitting with an immigrant pen by a computer that is sending suspected fraud messages as we try to enter donations on Wall Street for the first, and maybe annual, Shoe4Africa Poker Night sponsored by Omega/Tourbillon. It was quite a colorful night. The pluses, really nice people and a very mixed group, having fun playing poker. Poker lessons from Harry Winston a pro who won 1.6 million I think in his first competition. The lady who won was from Puerto Rico and was playing her first game. We raised $10,000 which was excellent and really appreciated.
11/17
Downtown on First at the bagel store with Global. Still good bagels albeit grumpy service, that is a promise. Ess-a-bagel on 22nd is it? I only know it as the wrong way street coming from Second Avenue.
In the running world the IAAF has its athlete of the year event, though after last year's sham, where Tirunesh did not win despite being the first ever woman to get the Olympic distance double, winning the world XC and a few other things, who really cares about this year. Who won? A pole vaulter whose boyfriend is the VP of the IAAF.
Got a nice message from Lisa Buster, on a cruise in Japan after Catherine Ndereba's marathon. Again Catherine was on the podium, what a career.
Tonight, and tonight only - Poker Night at Tourbillion on Wall St! Our latest greatest fund raiser.
Gilbert Koech runs and wins at the San Ant Rock n Rock in 2:14. A good win for him after a long layoff. His wife Edna wanted to run NYC Marathon... They live in Iten and have just bought new land, beautiful views, over the Great Rift Escarpment.
11/16
Great review form BLT at the Ritz carlton on Central Park South. Started with the crab meat doodah thingey, then went to the best Black Cod I have ever tasted in NYC, the wine was fab, the table bread is awesome. The service was sublime. What a great place; highly recommended. I believe it is part of a series of restaurants and this is the French cuisine one.


11/15
Running news; over in Japan-1. Inga Abitova (RUS) 2:27:18 (17:13,34:36,52:10,1:10:04,1:28:06,1:45:39,2:02:51,2:19:56) 2. Kiyoko Shimahara 2:28:51 3. Catherine Ndereba (KEN) 2:29:13 11. Constantina Dita (ROU) 2:36:06

Baby Faced attacks the road - Tirunesh Dibaba broke the World record* for 15 kilometres at the Zevenheuvelenloop 15Km in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, today running 46:29


11/13
Bad Boy VI Cross Country Race Presented by Manhattan Track Club, Urban Athletics, Puma and Powerbar

Sunday, November 22nd Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, NY

Women's 5K: 10:30 AM Men's 8k: 11:15 AM Registration begins at 9:30AM

Entry Information and Online Entry at : www.manhattantrackclub.org $15/person until November 20th $20/person on race day

Team entries: E-mail roster to Michael Contopoulos at mtconto@gmail.com to avoid filling out individual forms


The Oyster Bar in Grand Central - great fish AND coffee. The latter a shocker, good cheesecake too. I was surprised on that. The Red Snapper & Steamed Veg was great. Highly recommended. The service was good too, we sat at the bar and it was quick too!

Earlier I had a great meeting with Michael who is working with China on how to get some of the $10B hallmarked for Africa into Kenya. A most interesting chap. Then we went for some legal meetings and met a really nice bunch of people, things are Smiley with Shoe4Africa!


Then an anonymous complaint, from Hank Occean, I wonder if he knows that is how Ocean is not spelled, or if he thought it was a good name to use. Anyway, Anthony wore a bib with Anthony on, and his number was on another runner, something to do with a security check. The "other" runner ran a Boston Qualifier, then the guys starts talking about people trying to get a BQ... Oh my Gosh, was Anthony really trying to do that? Me thinks he can actually be invited to Boston, and as for getting someone to "run" in his number. Laughable. Then the next part the guy says that runner #199 had some odd splits too and looked suspicious.... Oh my goodness, Tegla Loroupe (#199) is trying to qualify for Boston too! Actually she had 'no' odd splits as I ran by her side for 26.2 miles.... Too much.
11/12
Oops, with a capital O. I went to the Harvard Club last night to hear a speech, somehow I missed it.
I went in Starbucks yesterday, it was like Butellins' Holiday camp. Nobody drinking but all the tables decked out with computers, blackberries, novels, people slumped for the week ina chair as if it was a deckchair!

I needed coffee I was half dead, have only been sleeping for 4-hours of late. I jump up and there is so much to do, so many good leads to follow up on. Places to go, well not at 4 in the morning, but y'know...


Soon time for my next race. Coming off my Four hour marathon I have my duel with Chubbs. He thinks this is the time, weeks after NYC he can kill me at the Race to Deliver and No Excuses. Of course we'll be a mile away from the real racers but we'll be fighting in our own way for a few thousand dollars! Let's go! Which charity will win the spondoolies? The race is 4-miles, I begin my training on Monday!
11/10
Wonderful to see the running dynasty if Ethiopia's newest star is now winning in the big league - Women (4.825m) 1. Genzebe Dibaba(Ethiopia) 14:53 beating a highly ranked 2. Ines Chenonge (Kenya) 15:01 in Spain to kick off the XC season. Gebre won the men's - another family as he is married to Werkenesh. PS; we hear that Paula is going to Addis for the Great Ethiopian Run. Wanted to go myself to that one, plus Tegla's Peace race the same weekend! Lots going on.
Over in Kenya the season kicked off in Machakos, famed for being the home of Cosmas Ndeti. This is a 12km course and they won in 35-minutes. I ran this race back in 1995, along with Chris Kelong (we both came from Snow to the Equator) we finished middle of the pack, which is the best you can hope for in Kenya, and funnily enough he'd just won, in low 28's the Brit three A's 10km championships, yet we were miles behind the winner, Chelanga (who is still running). I wish I could see my time we ran, but my training logs from the 1990's were stolen (long story) so I can't. There was a flashback!
New Review - well the food was very good at 550 Madison Avenue at a Kosher restaurant called Solo. We had a number of starters, so that I can not remember what was what - the Tuna Tartar was great, and the salmon thingey was very good, the salad was a little wishy washy. The main dish, a third choice (a few Sir's we don't have later) was Salmon on a scant few Yukon potatoes. The Salmon tasted a little well done and dry, but... overall the food was good. I had my own dessert, three scoops of very good ice cream, have the chocolate dessert of someone else, and a but of the apple dessert of another. All were ok, but nothing to write home about. As I say the food was actually good quality. However the wait staff left something to be desired, one brought a fork on a plate using his thumb to hold the fork in place at the prongs, one pulled my bread plate away at the exact moment I was trying to put hummus on a piece of bread, another walked into the table and stood on my foot, til I managed to yank it free. Well with two bottles of wine it was a great evening with friends, so you can bypass all that.
Earlier in the day it was Begoylu, a perennial fave, a Turkish place on 81st & Third where you can not go wrong!
11/07
Up at Finger lakes for the Div3 XC nationals... If my young ladies team wear different t shirts under their singlets they get disqualified.. despite the cold - Jeez, I say let them be disqualified. I mean, why! If it is cold and they don't have matching tights? I mean, it is not as though there is TV, media, or anything here!

Oh, and our race banquet was web-cast, just in case any of us want to rush home and watch ourselves! I wonder if it capture me catapaulting a creme puff at Abby? Michelle side swiped it. And guess what? Abby's great-great-great grandfather is the original wet cloth - Mr Macintosh, who invented the raincoat. Go figure.


11/09
On the phone with my good friend Catherine Ndereba, who is on the cover of MORE FIRE, and today she heads out East to Japan to compete in her fall marathon - fingers crossed she'll be a winner. What an amazing career she has had, incredible, like Tulu's.

I also started writing a bit, I got a book offer, but not sure I want to do it. I have this visions of going into a phase of blankness and writing like crazy. But.. Life is bumping too much in the way. And in the most positive sense; two great donations this weekend of $2,000 from Rutgers Church, where I did a talk a while back, and $5000 from a really nice guy Eilon. More of him later.

I also dropped by the party of Anil where it was so nice to see the crew; his sister Monica (who replies to all his FB mail), Super Chubbs was there & the beautiful Cara, Luiz, ChuckyChina, Kev the commander, the Queen of the H Diane, Eve, Pat W, John W, Susan, Sir Alec, Gene... it was feeling like a 6th ST party! Great to see everyone as I have not seen them in an age and a half.

Prior to which I was up on the UES at a restaurant that did not serve Guinness, did not serve coffee, did not serve honey.. called Amber meeting the MDees and Eilon. It was most enjoyable. The Tuna Salmon roll was a bit below par but the edamame passed the test. The waitress was nice at the bar, but the waiter's were a tad grumpy, well one of them to be honest. Not sure why either. Usually there is a reason.

Before that I was suffering from Road Kill, or whatever you call it when you travel long distances in a school mini bus. There is a reason why the aeroplane was invented!


11/06
Great load of donations coming in on our wall, will probably slow a bit after the marathon BUT, from paypal I found out the more you give the lower the percent they take.. see... "A donation of $100.00 would have an effective rate of 2.5%. A donation of $50 would have an effective rate of 2.8%. And a donation of $25.00 will have an effective rate of 3.4%." So please donate $100 he he! Speaking of that thanks so much; we hear Ryan Reynolds is going to donate $15,000 - this after Michael Stipe donated $2000 - kool beans!
I read the NY Times article on Cheruiyot & Kwambai. Funny, Robert had decided on running NYC back in August, he was not a last minute replacement. Also Sammy is only a part of the group in management issues, his training coach/team is completely different. Claudio is the one who is training and monitoring the Cheruiyot & Kwambai side of things - an amazing guy/coach. The training plan is actually based on Moses Tanui's plan he devised back in the 1990's - and if you want the real story it is wise to talk to Moses. Will Sammy run NYC next year? I think he is running Berlin actually. Though I could be wrong. I know Haile wants to run NYC in the future when he feels the chances at a 'fast race" are gone. PS; Robert is not 6'3" either.
11/05
Check out this little film that Elvis did on marathon day. He is from Iceland, and ran as part of our team and filmed the moment. CLICK HERE

Tomorrow I am heading for the Frozen north, to a place called Finger Lakes. Sounds like they have snow up there?? But first I have an exciting event to go to in Manhattan tonight, to do with Africa and leaders. Should be very interesting. Meanwhile not happy with the ever increasing cold that is hitting us,and so dark, so early.


11/04
An invite!

Super nice email from team member Tony Ensinger, "Thanks again for an experience that has changed my life - marathon was a phenomenal experience but being part of your organization is something i will never forget."
11/03
Funny, we get quite a few donations when people are writing, "Please do not add me to your mailing list." I wish, gosh if I was advanced enough to think about having a mailing list! Good news, we are over $550,000 - gosh!

Rafael de Cardenas, in his debut marathon, ran like a lion and was a great team member for us!

from Michael Patent, "I ran with MORE FIRE and now have Achieved my PR with Sunday's 2:50:08. My times this year are 3:13:00, 3:10:56 (San Francisco) and now 2:50:08" Well done! Thanks for the nice email. Same to Betsy!


Oh my golly gosh, a few days on but in the park today the memories of the race linger. I was standing with R2 and Luiz from Mexico came running up, "When it got tough, I was "More Fire, More Fire!" "
Then I saw my good good friend from Sweden, the man I started running with when I moved to the city back in the early nineties, Anders Szalkai, Sweden's best marathon runner in the 1990's and holder of the Sparet club record in 2:12. My old training partner. Great to see him, I was just thinking about him then boom...

And then with Masami a man called Paul from Ohio came up and said hi, he's been reading the articles over the years... it truly is the place where the world comes to run. Thrice on the course (2 foreigners) came up and said, "Are you the guy on the Last Minute tips video?" and of course running through Manhattan thank you so so much to the local running community for so much support. Funny I was one of the few in our team without my name on the bib, or it written on the shirt, but I felt virtually every ten seconds I could hear someone yelling out "Go Toby" - it meant a lot to me as it was support for our cause.

The day was brilliant, I did not sleep the night before, apart from 3:20 Am till 5:00 AM, but was wide awake as we went out on the 007 bus to Staten Island. We all sat in the media tent till it was time to line up. Then we stood right behind the elite men before the cannon boomed. I tried to be a shepherd to keep the group together, but shortly after about 6-miles the group splintered. I was running with Tegla and she needed a toilet break, so we stopped and people kept on pushing in front of her, so much so I literally had to fight to get her in a port-a loo. No love for the former champ. She was in there about five minutes so we lost the already split up group. So when she popped out we had a surreal moment of flying through the runners trying to catch up the group. Running about 5:30's through people running 9-minute miling makes you really feels like you are moving, especially when a former winner, and a Kenyan, is on your shoulder!

We caught up Anthony and Sarah Jones. Sarah was telling Tony to take off his cap in an effort to try to make people recognize him, which he was doing when we hit patches of the crowd. We tried to pull the group together but in doing so lost Tony but caught up with Wams (Waweru) and Gabby (Salvado).

Michael Patent, James Legros, Samantha Tannehill, Gabby Salvado

Sam (Tannehill) was forging on ahead, with Eileen and Michael (Chambers). We caught up Michael and he looked super rough, I tried some words of encouragement but they did not work (he was later diagnosed with flu.

So Tegla, Sarah, Wams and I ran up First Ave (where we bumped into Lenny Mantz) all the way to 102nd when Wams got a bad back and slipped back one minute.

Sarah's goal was to break four and Tegla and I were pulling her along; she was up for the task - we crossed the line in 3:54:02 with Sam just two hundred meters in front and Wams a couple of minutes back. James Legros, from Mercy NBC, left us at the start and in the holding area at the finish I bumped into him; he'd done a superb debut of 3:29! He jumped on to our team in September! George Hirsch, wearing bib #75 to mark his age, was running in with Amby Burfoot (a legend of the sport) and Billy Rodgers (#2 legend) and George (on our advisory board) came in in 4:06, just ahead of Tony in 4:08. It was a resounding team success. I think we had about thirty runners with super stories like Roz's 40-minute PR etc! ("Hello Coach: So I just ran the NYC marathon for a team called S4A with a time of 3:51:34 - this was a new PR as my only previous marathon was Chai Lifeline last January where my time was 4:31. So I was just shy of boston qualifying and still have a bit of an itch for that. I was originally planning to run Miami half marathon.)

photorun: Victah sailor. On Fifth Avenue, three miles to go!


10/29

Today looking at the Cancer issues in Kenya. It is a disease on the upswing of late, especially in younger people. There is a chance that we hook up with Kenyatta Hospital for some Awareness events. Part and parcel of the hospital concept is to cover the bases of all diseases. Before the untimely departure of Paul Nichols of Team continuem we were looking at an Oncology Wing. I am now hoping that it is something that the Jeff Gordon Foundation might be involved with, that reminds me of something I have to follow up with.


Can't believe it is only a few days till the marathon. Many Euro & African friends now rolling into town. For some reason I don't feel it as much this year, there does not seem to be a buzz around the city as much as normal... wonder why? or maybe it is just me.
Super sad news for the marathon with the withdrawal of Martin Lel. Not just the favorite for the race, a superb man with qualities rarely equaled. This man will die a saint.

Hi,

Help, please; I am trying to build Africa's largest children's hospital!

Yes, on Nov 1st I will be wearing hospital scrubs and leading a group of runners including Anthony Edwards ("Goose"), James Legros ("Mercy"), Sarah Jones ("Bridge & Tunnel"), Tegla Loroupe (First African lady to hold the World Marathon record, 2X NYC winner), and a host of other heroes as we set off on a 26.2-mile Odyssey. NONE of us intended to run a marathon at the start of May. But the reason to do so is too compelling - Kenya does not have a single public children's hospital, and 80% of the kids who die do so without ever seeing a health care provider!

As most of you know my full time job is my charity I started in 1995, Shoe4Africa. What began as a hobby back in the 90's now is a job - albeit without a salary. I add this as I need you to know that I am working towards something because I believe in its purpose more than I believe in anything else right now. Since giving away a pair of shoes (and being arrested in Paris as a vagrant) I have moved to health drives, to women's empowerment (holding the biggest women's only races in both Kenya & Tanzania), to Education (sponsoring school fees and building a school!), to the Environment with a plant a tree campaign... We are now involved with Malaria awareness and teaching, and then there is also our women's soccer team in the heart of Kibera (the second largest slum in the world)

In fact it is mind boggling to think of how far we have come, on so little! From a completely personal standpoint this is also one month off my tenth anniversary of nearly being killed in Africa for a shoe; four separate doctors told me it was a miracle I survived... so all in all this year's marathon is pretty special for me. In fact my first race of significance back after brain surgery was completing the NYC Marathon ten months later to raise $10,000 for Fred's Memorial Sloan Cancer team.

Funnily enough that attack was on Dec 29th 1999, and on December 29th 2007 I nearly got killed again when the violence erupted in Kenya and people were being macheted, shot, and burned to death in the worse event of Kenyan history; the 07 Post Election Riots (600,000 displaced in one month!) Twenty miles from where I was staying a few days later, on Jan 1st, the 'rebels' drove 50 women & children into a church and torched the building... it was that kind of crazy. That was also the start of this event, the hospital.

I have too many stories for an email but it breaks my heart seeing things like a child arriving in a wheelbarrow to a hospital, seeing a mother explain that she wants 10-kids as she knows 5 will die, to know that the preventable disease of Malaria is claiming 3000 children deaths a day in Africa (not one in Britain for 13-years), and half a million deaths from measles per year.

I see these kids first hand, then a day or two later you hear they died, it kills you. Especially when over here in the West we spend more on "lifestyle" drugs than on traditional medicines, and America spends more on Obesity and "not eating" related medicines than Africa (three times as many people) does on health care. or should I say can afford to spend...

I know the economy is tough, and most of you plucked from my address book, have probably been hit up by marathon fund raisers by now but I am asking, in the true Shoe4Africa get-involved style, to do it one of two ways;

#1. If you have time, please donate ten dollars using the PAYPAL link on our homepage www.shoe4africa.org then forward this to ten of your friends that you think would help put a brick on our all of fame.

#2. Just give a donation.

Please remember that we are a 501 C3 charity, and all of your donation goes 100% to building the hospital.

Thanks for your time, and even if you choose not to support please try an option #3 of forwarding to friends!

~Asante Sana~Thanks~ http://www.shoe4africa.org

Toby 10/28
Moving to Harlem! What a time to move. I love it. People in Harlem say Good day on the street, they smile, they greet you and welcome you to the neighborhood. Did I ever tell you when I baked cookies and offered them to neighbors on the upper east side, just off Fifth, in the nineties? Let me tell you I was doing the Mary Antoinette and eating it myself!


How come the park is deserted when it rains? hey, the race will go on in the rain!
Working on a shoe idea, could be fab, could be a flop, won't be a flipflop! Speaking of which my sister complains that it is super hot in Israel right now... I wish!!
10/27
WOW I am honored!!
Thanks Nike!! How cool is this??

Woo, great article on Sarah Jones in the NY Times yesterday, not that I read it, but a few people mentioned it to me, and people were kind enough to send a link! Meagan the wonder from the achilles was the first and she also sent me the Anthony Edwards link too for the full RW story; had not read that either. On that topical note Sarah & I did 7-miles this morning. The miles fly by when we run, like that writer noted she is a joy to run with. Direct after I zipped home, dived in the shower and met Tony for breakfast at Sanct Ambroues - scrambled eggs, so so, but the coffee was okay. The toast is always terrible, always tastes like yesterday's bread, toasted. I have noticed nobody eats it. Hint?

So a few days left. I decided to quit the beers for the rest of the week, until I saw Beck's on extra price at Duane Reade, and just happened to have my DR card for the first time ever, I mean that is fate right?


Smelly Kelly is in town from CA. I have not yet seen her but... she came to Kenya with us for Kibera's fun run, very nice of her. But now I call her "upgrade" - y'know why? Well George Hirsch and I wanted to go Coach. So Tony & Kelly went Coach too, "All for one." I warned them. "No, if George can do it..." So anyway we do NYC to Heathrow, then when we land in Heathrow Kelly disappears. Tony tells me she has gone to get some food. She is gone a long time. When she comes back I ask her "What seat are you?" Same as you. She dodges the Q and her and Tony seem intent on me getting on the plane first. So I do. George comes to check in, "Oh, I am being moved. I heard something to do with a family seating." That is when I smelled a Kelly smelly. I go and sit in the cheapseats and do not see Tony or Kelly in the section... So just before takeoff I click out of my seat and go into business class and there they all are, smuggly grinning till I walked in... huh, so much for 'all for one.'

10/26

Hospital conditions in Eldama Ravine. That bed is bent permanently. Please help support our marathon efforts!

One week to go. OMG. I was hoping to adjust my diet accordingly, but last night it was an 18" pizza and five bottles of beck's. Lunch five cinnamon raisin bagels, and for breakfast, three slices of junior's cheesecake. Running fuel?


10/25
Funny, the video up above is last minute tips. I actually think it better than a few of the articles on such matters, but one man, one vote. Anyway - a rule is no new shoes. I broke this one when I ran the Istanbul Marathon and took a pair of new shoes out the box on the morning. Well these days, ten years on and counting... I have a marathon in a week; so I wake up and have no running shoes with me, but I do have a pair of hiking boots. Do I wait and run in the evening, or do I run in the shoes and risk possible injury a week before. Well, what dya think. Had a good run though.
Hours later I was coaching out on Long Island for the FIT team. Standing on the start line the "coach" came across (coach Omo from Q'boro college) and said, "You didn't bring a camera?" Nice of him to do the honors. I gave my prep talk, told them to steal handbags, go swimming, dart thru the bushes... and they were off. Goodness if they did not get third overall - what a shocker, those were the regionals! On the way back Hannah mentioned her mother had bought a dozen cupcakes for us, but lived in Cow Harbor, was supposed to come, but got sick. Time for a detour!
On Sunday I went to Central Park, not to race (are you kidding) but to hand out the Scrubs to James LeGros, Sam Tannehill, Betsy Fader, Tony Ensinger, Roz Feinsod, who else? They looked really 'real' especially when they ran off! I went up town to Avrita to meet George Hirsch, chairman of the board, for morning coffee and a couple of hours chatting. The coffee up there is excellento.
10/23

Today's dumb moment; I needed air in my tyre (tire) so I started chatting as I was filling, then boom. Kind of a good job as the walls of the tyre were falling to pieces so I was using duct tape. Call it an anti theft thingey.

Continuing to run up and down. I dropped by the NYRR for some stuff, and was nice to see the crew, can't believe it is one week to go. The Achilles still has charity entries if you need them... For me I am dreaming about mid November. Talking to Kenya, Sleepy is doing fine in Iten, Kibera is still as is. Biz goes on there - as far as the hospital I think I have whittled the architects choice down to two groups now. Martin Lel is also going to help me when it comes to the materials... looking forward to seeing him next week.

I have strapped an air horn on my bike's handlebars now, it is classic! Everyday is a new eye opener.


Thanks to the tonnes of people who continue to donate, our wall of fame is too huge!!
10/22

My new friends! Matt Goss, and just check out a video from when he was younger CLICK AND Robin from the PussyCat Dolls fame. Really nice people, and watch out for 2010 when we get our project together. BROS were huge, huge in the late 80's in Britain, and his voice is just beyond.

Still running like a madman, all over town, up and down, I covered 32 miles on my bike today which is a lot for inner city commuting.

Great article on George Hirsch in the NY Times today wit a really good pic. In fact last night I was also doing a photoshoot in Central Park, but (sigh) as a featured coach to another person, for a Dutch newspaper, albeit the biggest newspaper in Holland. kool beans, I have a lot of Dutch friends - used to live there a long long time ago, In A'dam! Erm, before my athlete days.


10/21
I met Shauna at Blogworld, and we talked..."What you're doing is really inspiring. I had a great time talking to you. So much so... that I got the co-editor of the No. 1 social media news site to do a "charity challenge" to raise money for you guys at the after-party. We got $1,000 (and now she got it up to $2000)!! Amazing, thank you so very much.

We are now near $520,000 and still climbing. No photos posted as late as I have been virtually living out of a suitcase of late. Born a Gypsy, die one too. Things continue to be super crazy, all converging to ultimate madness. I heard that when Tony was on the today show it was a big success. He is now in California for a couple of days.


10/20
Lunch at Girasole with Tony, he was sitting there Tweeting - now he has become an addict @anthonyedwards. I had a red pasta with tonnes of veg, really nice. The waiter comes out with biscotti when we said we did not want a dessert AND the free starters are amazing - check it out, best Italian on the Upper East.

Then we met the guy from Funnyordie.com is it? Anyway they do funny videos and he is going to do one with Tony. Following which I cam back to do some work, then got an email with a chance to meet Lauren from the Millennium Promise villages, so I went and we had a meeting at Bottega vino on 59th ST. A long talk about all our energies - looks like I might be relaunching the Beauty4Africa idea!

Set up a haircut with Rodney - Cutler Salon - best in the biz, he is back from Dubai (celeb haircuts out there).

Everything goes on!


10/19/09
Great quote, "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels"
Congrats to Hilda Airlines Kibet, third in Amsterdam in a new PR. Gilbert Yegon, 2:06:18 won the men's in his debut.
TRIP TO VEGAS: So we are sitting on the plane and the pilot says, "Sorry folks, a 20-minute delay as there are fifteen planes in front us." Thirty minutes later. "Hi folks, just checking back, a bit of bad news another 13 or so planes have just snuck in front of us in the line, it looks like there is going to be another 30-minutes delay." Confidence in the pilot? He lets 13 planes sneak in front??

The flight took forever. How can it take 5hrs to get to Vegas? And no food on the plane? How nice it was of Tony to bring two sets of airphones! Luckily we'd grabbed a couple of grilled shrimps and a couple of beers at the airport. At the Tapas bar.

There is huge black blingmobile to take us to the hotel. The driver was really nice from Guinea, been here since the early nineties, was living in Tampa with family first, trying to save funds to go home.

The hotel was tinsel and hyper red; the Encore, owned by Steve Wynn. And we got in the Tower suites no less, so no complaints there I can tell you. APART from $14 internet access per room??

We then went to dinner, even though New York time it was now half over midnight. An amazing Social media guy called Brian Solus joined us, with Chrystal & Natalie. The wine Somnelier was trying to recommend wine that cost $200 to go with red sauce pasta, I was like are you kidding? Every type I asked about (Shiraz, Merlot) he'd find a bottle over $200. I mean two shovel full forks of the red sauce and you aren't going to be sniffing the wine. I was not content, then I spied a good Californian merlot from napa for $40. About 2:30 AM a guy called Dashel came who is an Internet whiz, about 4:00Am Tony was gambling $20, and about 4:30 AM we hit the sack (luckily only 1:30AM Vegas time).

The next morning we took coffee (can you call it that? No) at the pool side as the weather was gorgeous. The ambiance was only ruined by the continual love-boat styled music that followed you wherever you went. We then went to the BlogsWorld Convention.

We sat down at a table with Jane Fonda & Janet Jackson's media person, and Jermaine Dupree (who has a record label, produces music & has something to do with Janet). Then a guy comes over and sits down and I start chatting and I have a great conversation about Europe, America, Africa, we chatted about so much, he used to live in Tribeca, you could tell from his stories that he had done a lot in life, then he told me he sold 170 albums. A most interesting guy, very compassionate, humble and also wants to help giving me kids books for my hospital project. He was describing his and lows, how he was brought up and what not, his name was Matt Gos and he used to be in a band with his brother called Bros.

Also sitting at the table, who I talked with later, was a woman called Robin. Another really nice person, and our energy was she started a rock group called The PussyCat Dolls back in '95 at the same time I started S4A.

We took a taxi for lunch with another wizard, whose name eludes me now, but the driver was a real talker, he came from Greece and was a Spartan. He was like, "Guess my age guess my age?" So I did, 71, and he was "72" that ended that conversation but he switched over to buying a diamond ring for $4000. We ate lunch (I had French fries for a starter) and granola and yogurt for the main course. Then we went back to the convention to chat & I met loads of nice people and had a fun fun day.

We came back to the hotel and whilst Tony took a nap I went out and ran for 70-mnutes. It was so nice to run in the hot weather again after the shitty weather in NYC of late. I ran on the side of the road which was kind of boring, but better than getting lost or stuck going round in circles; the heat had all the difference; brill.


In the evening we went to Botero to eat, a restaurant named after the artist. It was not bad plus we met some great people there. Then it was off to the Palm to go and see Matt play a show. Wow that guy has super huge talent, and what a great band/show too. Go see it if you are there.

At 1am we went to meet some people at a nightclub called XS where we stayed till 4:30 AM. Hardly worth going to bed, but we woke at 6:10 AM by the limo service driver saying "You are late!" Down the room phone. Out flight to NYC was at 7:10! Unbelievably we made it and the whole day was on the plane. We met Jermaine Dupree again when flying through the airport, the absolute last people to check in!


Mark Webber donated 1000-sterling pounds to Shoe4Africa last week & this week he won the Brazilian F1 Gran Prix! Rama Karma.
10/16
Big land mark, we've just hit half a million.
10/15
I know when the stress levels are high, it is when I nearly hit about 15-cars on Second Avenue, or they hit me. The second test is how I react. I can say that I barely blinked as a taxi pulled out to cross three lanes right in front of me and my handlebar took out his wing mirror. I manouvered round and continued on my way. At the next set of lights I absentmindedly rode straight through nearly getting hit by a garbage truck... Life is getting even more crazy. There was a meeting this morning with Jean Oelwang, the CEO of Virgin Unite. The only time for the meeting, as she is based in London, was at 10-am. I had a training session from 8:45 to 9:45 in the park. The day before I condensed everything we do onto one page, as Mike who had set up the meeting, told me it needed to be this way. I don't have a printer, so I emailed the document to myself.

Dick Traum, the founder of the Achilles, is a very kind guy. He has always offered the Achilles doors if I need a printer etc. So I set off in the evening after coaching F.I.T. on the track. On the way I stop at a friends' house. She is moving, so I get caught up in helping there, and it gets too late. I try to print out the doc at their house, but it is in the latest version of Word and their Word can not open the doc! Instead I answer 200-emails and copy another 30-donations down. I get up at 6:30 and go south 4-miles, and do the print out. Then I go uptown, stop at my apartment, have a cold shower and dress as lightly as I can. The reason for this, as it is freezing right now, is I am going to run with the client for an hour, then it will be a mad dash to get from 90th and Fifth to 54th and Third in ten minutes, so I will not be able to shower and I don't want to go to the meeting (in a Hedge Fund Office) all sweaty. The plan works fine, I even get there a minute to spare, and for once I remembered some photo ID to get in the building.

The only drawback? I leave the meeting and not only is it freezing but now it is raining icey rain!

As soon as I get back uptown and shower I get a message from my friend who has left the keys at the old apartment and can I go down and pick them up, so I go all the way back down town. Before such I deal with a 'few' marathon team problems, have a nice chat with a New York Post journalist, talk with one of the girls from the soccer team, answer as many emails as I can from one account (I am afraid to open the other), fix my calendar for the upcoming, write in some appointments, realize that at 12-o'clock I should have been at a function for the Millrose Games... listen to 15 voice mails and delete all of them by mistake without taking down the numbers, sort out some RSVP's, and some marathon bus issues... and try not to think about the fact in 15-days I have to move apartment myself! Now there is another headache. In fact why am I writing all this? I should be opening up another computer where I have the pics and emailing our logo to the James Bond style fund raising team we have for next month! Oh yes, and of course not having the internet does not help the progress!


10/14
Omega & Shoe4Africa join in Casino Royale on Wall ST, Nov 17th!! Great prizes included like a James Bond watch & Casino Royale Poker set.. all to be confirmed of course!
Boston Champions Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (S4A ambassador), and Salina Kosgei are Late Additions to the ING New York City Marathon 2009
Yesterday at Sanct Ambroeus again and we were sitting facing a round table full of well dressed Italian business men. Very sharply dressed, to the nines. Anyway an American comes and sits at the table and begins the business breakfast, "Gentleman, I control the Beef Jerky market..." Then began the talk which involved the biggest market of the Jerky and Walmart! Then, as only Italian meetings can do, the mother arrived. Everyone was dressed in black and she walked in dressed in bright Orange, in quite a costume. The head seat was opened for her, and all came forward to kiss her as the meeting continued. It was like something out of a stage play. Meanwhile on the next table a Swedish family dressed as if in a Hansel & Gretel movie, added Euro normalacy. This time I ordered what Tony ordered, and it when it arrived it was not what we ordered, albeit what we ordered was not on the menu, but needless to say - continue to ask that your coffee is served very hot, and the salmon is excellent.
10/12
There was a day when running 2:07:01 would have been a huge headline. Nowadays it does not even make the news, especially when your countryman is running 2:05 and is one of many from that country with a 2:05 PR, and 2:05 is not even the national record... but this weekend 14 Kenyans packed the top 15 spots in Einhoven with Geoffrey Mutai getting the new CR.

In the women's race only two women beat 2:40; 1. Beata Naigambo, NAM 2:31:01 PB 2. Lydia Kurgat, KEN 2:31:26 PB


Of course the big news was Sammy Wanjiru's continued success in the marathon - a fantastic run to get the CR in Chicago. Sammy's training partner, Isaac, finished in 2:11 and may have been the first over the line with a full time job. There are always discussions - do you run faster or slower with a full time job. In Kenya the answer would be typically slower, so thumbs up to Isaac. In the West, where it is very expensive to live, let alone massages, health insurance, etc it is often better to have a job so you can actually support yourself beyond sheckles made in a race.

The Russian Rocket had a great day nabbing 1st & 3rd place in the women's division.


Funny thing at Chicago; the time difference between 1st and 10th was greater for the men than the women; that is super rare! However, the men were much much closer to the world record than the women.
10/11
Kenyan ladies outshine the men as they go, 1, 2, & 4 of course winning the team. Although the Kenyan men had five scorers inside the top ten, and naturally won the team, they did not run as well as the predictions suggested. Kitwara, the hottest half runner of the year finishing tenth. However it is not apples for pears on this one. It is a good time to remember the words of a famous multi world championship medalist from East Africa, "When I run for myself I make money not only for me, but that keeps my village from the starvation. When I run for my country the federation keeps the money, to do what."
10/09
Breakfast at Sanct Ambroeus - I had the hardest time getting my second pot of coffee. More annoying is that Tony asked and they came running with his! Aiy. I had blueberry pancakes which, to be honest, tasted very similar to an American diner, where this place does try to stave along the lines of a Euro Madison Ave cafe. The pancakes tasted exactly from one of those out of the box instant mixes. Where were the craps, or crepes should I say, you might ask.
Gideon Rachman, a foreign affairs columnist for The Financial Times, writes, "What did Obama do to win the Nobel Peace Prize?" "I am a genuine admirer of Obama. And I am very pleased that George W. Bush is no longer president. But I doubt that I am alone in wondering whether this award is slightly premature. It is hard to point to a single place where Obama's efforts have actually brought about peace - Gaza, Iran, Sri Lanka? "While it is OK to give school children prizes for 'effort' -- my kids get them all the time -- I think international statesmen should probably be held to a higher standard," he wrote.

Good article, and why the heck has Bob Dylan not got a Nobel prize yet, for literature OR Peace? And what about Gandhi? No prize for him my friend.

All about looking good, raising profiles, and playing the game.

I think Obama should stand up and give the award to someone a bit more rewarding, and if there is no one more rewarding we are in a sorry state of affairs for the world. I think think of awards that Obama should get but in the production of World Peace at this conjuncture of his career? The Nobel Prize committee show their true colors god bless the Queen.


I was at an Achilles meeting yesterday, it is amazing what that club does, off very little running costs too. Super commendable. Some exciting things coming up for them too.
I was at the gym yesterday when the fire alarm went off, of course I had just stepped out of the shower when the alarm started blaring. I was thinking do I go out onto Lexington in my towel or what?? I decided to get dressed so I was getting my jeans on thinking would I pay for the delay? It is amazing how many people are in that building, when we all piled onto the street (me soaking wet) the place was packed. I left as the Fire Engines arrived.
Alem & Alemtsehay need a ride to Hartford, is anyone driving up? It is the big race this weekend.

And of course the bigger one is the World Half. The top five men in the world this year all come from the same country. I wonder who will win the tam competition.


10/08
This lady is a good upcoming talent. I was talking to Elias today, the head of sports for the TOP Newspaper in Kenya, The Daily Nation, and he was also mentioning that Sammy, who is today in the USA for the first time EVER to race, is ready for a 2:04 the goal is to run for the world record next year in Berlin.
big big news for me is that we are now at 478,000 and actually another 5000 on top of that, 482,000! Imagine, last year there was ~0~ in the coffers.

Lunch at LAND. I tell you Second Ave is a dump, all construction from 96 to 82! The whole area is a continual building site, and has been ever since the city has become super-pro for developing. Buildings higher, taller, more, noise etc etc. the neighborhood has lost its neighborhood. Anyway LAND was a great Thai place but although the dumplings were great, and the Singhi beer (is it?) the Shrimp Pad Thai was a tad dry compared to what it used to be. The place has become much more popular than it used to be too.. maybe that is why, they are now hurrying the dishes. 6/10 for Thai on the Upper East.


10/07
Is it time for a new election already? And I see there is a new tax being issued for self-employed people MTA something... huh even bicycle users have to do it.

At EAT today on Madison and 81st - boy does it get noisy in there. I like the raisin bread they have on the table. We had a three hour breakfast, weak coffee and a fair salmon omelet. But as I say the bread is good, I wish I had just ordered a loaf of the fruit bread. Coaching the Flyers in the evening and it is so depressing that it is now dark! Gosh winter is here.


Thanks to the tons of people donating - have a look at our face book page!
Nice to see Nina K. in the park today, one of the greatest NYC runners of all time, well she was a Long Island lady, I think she won NYC twice and Boston at least once.
Congrats to the S4A soccer team over in Kibera, Kenya who listed the Amani Cup in Nairobi!!
10/06
Running around like a headless chicken, I had 25 jobs yesterday, and furthermore answered, replied, responded to 150 yahoo, and 237 aol emails (I was counting because I wanted to see if I was going to get kicked off how many I needed). We also had a conference call with the group that Allyson Felix is an ambassador of, and before that Tony and I went to Rosa Mexicana for lunch (guacamole, salmon fruit mole (v good), and the chocolate triple thing, washed down with an awful cup of their coffee (don't get it) and two Presidente's. Returning from which I needed to do the conference call, except I don't have a long distance carrier on the phone line, so I ran out in the street only to find the official S4A vehicle, my bike, had a puncture!

Then I had to go to pick up a special order of boots for our Nairobi Boss, meanwhile juggling the emails... well the day started out nicely enough; we ran in the park anad did 10-miles! Aiyah, I can't wait for all this to finish!


10/05

One funny thing is I am new to the charity work, also I don't fit in with the 'big' groups. On the day that Hillary Clinton was commending the Kenyan Government for dealing with the refugee camps in Kenya, and being able to successfully close them all... I was up in Eldoret Refugee camp with Dr. David Feldman, a S4A Board member, with approx. 5000 people still living in a refugee camp that seemingly does not exist. Flippin' mind boggling. Here's some of our friends there.


Geez, I cry to write it, October the 5th! We were talking Halloween with the team, by which I mean FIT up at Van Corts this Sunday. There was a NYRR event up there at the same time, so nice to see the crew up there, even Captain Alem out of Central Park a rarity indeed. Mike Frankfurt putting on his Millrose top, Bill Staab, Tony Ruiz...

Got me thinking, what with the passing time too, and then I suddenly realized it has been a decade since I first went to VCP for a race! How time flies. Well, give one month. The event was the NYRR XC Championships. I went to the race and was talking to Stuart n Stacy, and that was the first time I signed up also to run for CPTC. The gun goes off, and I am like where do we go. There were no marshals. So I ran behind this runner called Tesfaye Bekele for the first 5km. I was super surprised to see the stuts in the forest on the hills. He was short so it was hard to see them coming up too. Then I left him when we came out onto the flats and at last I could spy the finish area. Was it really November 1999?


After the race I took my FIT-ers to the cheesecake place on 238th, you buy it next store at the 7-11, the Zagat's rated #1 Cheesecake in the world. Then we walked to a nearby McDonald's for seating and drinks. Gosh it is nice to buy six drinks and for it to only cost $14 compared with the $25-35 it would have cost at Starbucks!
Thanks to Wendy Ng from out West who sponsored me $1000 to run the NYC marathon! We was in Kenya at a hospital in Bomet, so she sees the compelling need, this must be done. Good news, I was kicked off yahoo again for too much usage - that means sending, copying, pasting thank you notes to all our micro-donors for the wall. It is becoming a Bi-daily ordeal.
Anyway, the super news was FIT ladies finished as the second team!! Way to go. Good job to y'all!
10/02
Michael Vick... apparently on a product only deal with Nike? yeah right.
I feel confident that the marathon will be a ramble now (famous last words right?) Y'see I was not enthralled at the thought of doing the long runs but I have been running with my team member Sarah Jones the actress and today we completed our second three hours plus run,and you know what they say 'If you can waltz in the park you can fly on the roads. With a month to go that is completo-jeeto as far as long runs are concerned. So it is all downhill to the finishing line from here.
Nice to see also the donations for our team are rolling in, we are now at $475,000 odd dollars, not too shabby as in 2008 we had the big -)0(-
Buy a tree for Africa as a present this Columbus day!
10/01
The world's best marathon runner comes to NYC - Paula is coming back!
Hoping this is a rumor... Nike are re-signing Michael Vick?? Surely not.
Girasole - check it out, 82nd st and the best Italian in the hood. A change, Tony and I were both on the cranberry juices at lunch. For different reasons, he was getting a check-up from the Doc's as the rigors of the marathon training take place, and me? Well I could still taste the 4-earlier glasses of red.
Sarah Jones, who performed the other night at the Fountain House benefit, is training well - well did ten miles last night under the moonlight stars. Kind've nice running in Central Park after the world ha left it. We added two loops of the Reservoir and the little cherry lamps make it look so beautiful. Tomorrow we've got a three hour run - yikes.
Just heard we're going to Las Vegas, for a fund raising ideas trip... coming soon!
09/30
Classic quotes of the week. #1 Was Hotdog's, "Where is Queensborough college?" One would guess in the borough of Queens.

#2 At the Clinton Global Initiative I was not invited but went there for a few meetings. When I went up to the registration desk to get a day pass the lady behind the desk, "Ah, you must be the football mascot."

Talking charity today it was in mid town at the ever supportive Thomson Reuters. Thanks for a $5000 donation. Kiet the Pirate, who used to feature on this website a lot more in the old days when I character names Il Pirata, set this one up for us.

First off I gave a talk n running. Now I used to do this every week virtually for schools, colleges, clubs running & otherwise, marathon groups etc, but of late all the talks I do are S4A so it was a switcheroo back to the old days... then we showed the S4A film, and then Tony & I talked about the project. We were on the 30th floor of Times Sq which is eyeball level with the ball that falls ever Dec. 31st! Funny that it is there the year round! It was an amazing conference room with a view right up 7th Ave to the park, one of those I wish I had a camera days.


09/29

Sweet Haircuts: fast legs


Olympians Meb Keflezighi and Abdi Abdirahman Headline List of American Standouts in the ING New York City Marathon 2009.
So Chubbs the Flying Macaroon was at the 5th AVE mile on Saturday (my friend Haron came 4th in the open division!). Chubbs tells me to watch the video, so I click on a link and low and behold look at Smiley winning for Urban Athletics! Putting up his arm and waving. Was he obscuring the Chubbster? I looked and watched a few more runners come in, then a few more. Is Chubbs wearing a bandana? Is that Chubbs with a beard, then, and then... and then he came in. yup, we were hoping for a 4:40's, that was on the cards before his holiday in the sun (most runners sit in the shade, not chubbs as he claims he likes to warm his martini's up) and there was not a clock on the video, and I was far too lazy to find a link with the results on it, but either I was watching in slo-mo, or it was not the 4:40...

Speaking of golden moments - it was Sid Howard's 27th consecutive 5th Ave mile, I think they should rename the race Sid's mile. I met Sid on Friday and he told me of the therapy he'd been through to make the starting line.. wat a warrior.


09/28
Could it have rained any more yesterday? Aiyah. I was up in VCP coaching the F.I.T in a XC meet and it was 100% yucky. Ryan placed 5th, Hotdog 9th (after oversleeping too), Pegleg was int he thirties despite not being able to see as her glasses misted over, then Hannah int he 60's & Catherine from Florida in the 80's - great to again field a full team. Next week I take them for cheesecake following the race to the place Centuryman taught me about, S&B's is it, on 238th ST. Can't believe it will be October, gosh, the marathon is upon us.
A possible S4A event in Sudan? The sister of the man who sold the Nets wants to put on a race there, and I am just checking with some Sudanese friends for January...
And the big marathon this weekend, no surprise a Kenyan won; "Kenya's Kenneth Mungara won the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon for the second consecutive year Sunday, covering the 42.195 kilometre course in the fastest marathon time ever run on Canadian soil.
"Mungara beat Toronto's rain-dampened streets in 2 hours, 8 minutes and 32 seconds to earn the biggest purse in Canadian running - $20,000 for the win and another $25,000 in bonuses for beating the record by almost a minute and pushing the mark under 2:09.
Wimmin? Amane Gobena of Ethiopia overtook defending champion and countrywoman Mulu Seboka over the last kilometre to win in race record 2:28:31
09/25
Well it seems everyone is in NYC this week. The other day we went to a private party at a hotel room and Goldie Hawn, the General who ran for president, Barbara Streisland, J Brolin, Usher, Paul Pierce, the head of Standard Charter, the founder of Ebay, Tom's Shoes, were all there, and Bill Clinton too.

Out on the street Ted Turner is standing at the traffic lights waiting to cross the road. In our little coffee shop Steve Martin is at the table. And these are the ones being pointed out to me, imagine all I am missing.

Crazy, I went to my gym and the locker rooms are all closed, why? Because the Prime Minister of Israel is there. That is a bit much, the gym was closed last weekend because of Jewish holidays, will be closed for more Jewish holidays this weekend. C'mon!

Anyway through all this we are making some absolutely fantastic contacts for our hospital. One with a guy called James who we met at the exchange could be unbelievable. Funny when I was going to the upstairs bit there was security, I walked bit but was asked, "Are you the mascot?" Hmm.


We had lunch at Via Quodronno is it spelt on E73rd. Pieroni's, Tuna salad (so so, 4/10) and the Primavera warm sandwich which is good but not too filling. One has to add a few bagels as a dessert.
We also met the sister of the man who sold the Nets, she gave us $500 for Tony running the marathon. I should have told her I was running too!
09/23

Another example of resourceful Africa. There is a drought in Kenya, and a food shortage. Okay, it is not the best, BUT... here you can see people are putting stems of Kale down into the street side drain in an Urban built up area of Nairobi to grow food to survive. Help Africa with opportunities that we have the overload of.


This is my fave song right now, wow, how she can sing!
Running on the Reservoir yesterday morning, doing two loops, was the President of Bolivia. He wanted to do three loops but his security team wanted two. He was wearing a soccer shirt, number ten. Don't know whose!
UPS - they tick the box, be in before so and so, an eleven hour window? Mind you I had lots to do at home, but it is then you remember all the things you have to do 'out' and about.
Tonight, Wednesday night, MERCY on NBC - check out James LeGros before he runs on the marathon course. Speaking of which we are sizing up the green uniforms.

Orlando Pizzolato is running again this year, to celebrate his 25yr anniversary. Fra After 15-years America's most successful Hospital TV drama, with over 120 emmy nominations, comes to a stop. At its peak ER attracted over 20-million viewers per week. Although the show has come to an end... The good doctor runs on, to build Kenya's first public children's hospital. Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) will be running the ING NYC Marathon this November 1st and asking, "Would you pledge $10 to get a brick for the hospital?"

Joining Edwards will be Tony winning actress Sarah Jones, "TV Doctor" (Mercy, beginning on NBC Sept 23) James LeGros, Double above the knee amputee and world amputee record holder for the marathon Richard Whitehead, and Two time NYC Marathon winner and United Nations Peace Ambassador,the first African lady to win a major marathon and set a marathon world record Tegla Loroupe.
***VIDEO***


09/22
Went to a luncheon today/meeting and the Presidents of Uganda, Senegal, and Malawi were there. Quincy Jones too! The first luncheon where cheesecake was served, but I did not eat it. I was sitting next to my friend Peter Thum, a great guy who founded Ethos Water (found at Starbucks).

There was a host of interesting people there talking,and it was my first time to hear the economist Jeffrey Sachs speak. The good part was I tended to be in line with a lot of what he was saying. What I was not in line was all these projects in Africa have such great partners for funding, well you can't have it all, and I did not have my cheese cake.

In the morning I clocked ten miles with Sarah as we progress towards our millennium goal of the marathon, now only six weeks away can you believe.


Back to reality with a thud! So after wining and dining with Kings, ok drinking coffee at the Luncheon I cycled down to meet Tony's PR team on 30th, and I got a flat tyre. It was 5:14pm and the meeting was for 5;15pm. So I had not time to go to a bike store, so I locked the bike to a pole and went to the meeting. I sat alone for 30-minutes as everyone was late. Of course when I came out at 6:40pm all the shops were shut so I had to walk all the way home pushing my bike.. Aiy, back to reality again! It took me forever to get back home.
09/21
What a beautiful weekend of weather, on Sunday I was up in VCP for college XC with my F.I.T (Fashion Institute) team rocked and rolled their way round the hills! We had six ladies and Ryan finished second overall on her debut, followed by Abby, Princess Pegleg (who has transformed herself this summer & is running great!), Leadership Kevia, who of course had every answer to everyone's Q (like where is Sienna?), then Lauren and Catherine finishing full of smiles (As is our style). Not forgetting Larissa who came up at the eleventh hour.
When I was in Kenya, last month, I met Martin Lel and we went to Moses Tanui's place where there was an interesting training conversation. One part of it was a "build-up" half marathon for the marathon. Y'know there was a article in the Brit press about the head-to-head for Lel with the Maroc runner, but people seldom remember that the good runners often race with a secondary purpose in these (big) races. But it is not media savvy to write about such things. To cut a long story short, I was so so happy to see a 59:32 for Martin!

Martin Lel, and the first man to run a Sub-60 minute half marathon, Moses Tanui.


Tyson Gay also had a great weekend, running & "tysing" his USA record in the 100m 9.69 the bar has been lifted as Ms. Jeter runs 10.64. Aiyah!
Over in Holland Hilda Airlines runs a great 10-miles to finish second over Linet Masai:
1. Moses Masai KEN 45:16 fastest time of the year 2. Charles Kamathi KEN 45:16 (same time) AND Women- 1. Linet Masai KEN 50:39 fastest time of the year 2. Hilda "Airlines" Kibet NED 51:21 3. Peninah Arusei KEN 51:26 - and of course Moses winning the men's, made it a family affair.
Of course you can read about these athletes in MORE FIRE!

Nice review, "This is Toby Tanser's third book on Kenyan distance running, the other two being Train Hard, Win Easy, published in 1997, and a revised 2001 edition. He is uniquely qualified to write about Kenyan running. He lived in Kenya for 6 months (1995) and is a professional runner himself. The East African dominance of world distance running remains unchallenged and exceeds the reign of other of history's national dynasties such as Finland, Hungary, New Zealand and Australia. This book explores the various theories on this dominance and rejects most of them. Altitude, poverty, genetics, performance enhancing drugs, all are examined and dismissed. Readers looking for the secret will not be disappointed though; it's the ability to focus in an uncluttered environment (no cell phones, TV's, DVD's, play stations), a love of hard training followed by more hard training, a belief in doing whatever it takes, and an inherently optimistic nature.

"All these characteristics are developed in a life that Paul Tergat, former world record holder at the marathon, describes as "sheer hard work and persistent hard struggle, especially to get the basic necessities of daily living." Mr. Tanser's treatment of his subject is thorough, if not exhaustive. The book includes chapters on a brief history of Kenyan running, training, diet, coaches and over 100 pages of profiles on all the prominent Kenyan middle distance and distance runners. Mr. Tanser has done a terrific job of illuminating this subject and book collectors should note that his other 2 volumes on Kenyan running, now out of print, are selling on Amazon.com for over $100. More Fire is not for collectors though, but for distance runners and anyone in that category will be inspired by Tanser's account of the ferocious simplicity of Kenyan running."
By Geoffrey J. Wilhelmy "Boxing Fan" (La Crosse, Wisconsin). Thanks, and PS - Don't forget that 100% of the author royalties go to Kenya, to support the building a hospital campaign.


Lion A Spy in the Den BBC America - amazing show on TV last night, I wish I saw the whole thing instead of just catching a glimpse.
09/20
Martin Lel wins the Great North Run in 59:32!! Back from injury in a fantastic way, Lel the Gazelle, next stop NYC!
Over in Berlin Haile won in 2:06:08, another great victory for the Emperor. 1:27:44 at 30km? That's shifting. Meanwhile in the women an Ethiopian won in 2:24, beginning with a B with one of the Russian Rocket's athletes, Silvia Skvortsova, in second in 2:26

The Iten Men's & Women's soccer team getting football boots from Shoe4Africa.


09/18
Today's factoid--In Singapore Every Citizen get FREE WIRELESS Broadband.
OMG - Oprah Winfrey. Oprah was in Central Park and I have never seen so big lines to see her show. She is simply the Western World's Number One. I really admire her because she came from making her own luck, developed something new, and is now the most influential woman in the... world?

I had just run ten miles with my training partner, Sarah, and was cycling back home through the park and saw this giganic line leading further than the marathon....

Dining - Begoylu always top notch, great food, good service - Tony and I were out and about looking for a parking space, buying his daughter a bike, dropping off clothes for charity, and eating a Veg Platter, two grilled shrimp plates, a couple of Effes beers, and loads of Turkish Bread.

Next up it was OTTO with Mary down on 8th St off 5th Ave. Thumbs down for the rotten cheese doorway smell, amazingly planned? The air conditioning was on Planet Greenland, but the PIZZA was great - I went for the Funghi albeit that it reminded me of the lobby smells. Service was so so nothing to write about... The sparkling water was as flat as Holland, the Arugula salad was pretty one dimensional, in fact the cherry toms that made it two should have been omitted as they looked as if the chef had sat on the box....

09/17
Good news for Kenya - Kitwara gets a place in the Kenyan team for the World Champs Half - guess who is going to win? looks like a Marakwet! Thingey is also in, whatshisname 'red' as they call him in Kenya who was also banned from the WC team. What a shame Kitwara did not face Bekele in Berlin huh?


Marathon Entries still open with the ACHILLES club - if you want to run then contact them asap! 212-354-0300
Here is the scoop in OUR fave Kenyan newspaper, the DAILY NATION, on the Kenyan Half team.
09/16

Over crowding often leads to a kitchen, living room, and bedroom being the same place in the Kenyan slums. Hence a young child falling into the cooking fire, as was for this little cheerful one!

Shoe4Africa soccer team update; Report from Cantar, "The girls soccer team played JOHN PAKARD FINALS and managed to retain their title by defeating Riruta environmental group from Satelite by 4-0 at Undugu ground.Scorers are Lucy Akinyi-2 and Judy Akinyi-2.The matches attracted a huge audience and the girls got a strong support.Have a nice time and enjoy your time." WAY TO GO, they are such a wonderful team!!


Candle 79 - I had the paella dish. A black berry drink, and the peach crumble dessert. My main crumbley complaint was the paella. Hmm, not the best, kind've tasted like a bag of weeds (not weed). And dried out at that too. 4/10. However the berry drink was cool, and the dessert was nice. It is on 79th at Third. Anyway the good part was the conversation. We met someone who used to trade a billion dollars per day, wow. Imagine the stress in that job.
At my gym, on the third floor, I always take the stairs and I have noticed that the only others (80%) are women. Seemingly all the men use the elevators. Aiy. Mind you my usual visitation time is 10-am morning... but that would not affect sexes right? I continue my observations.
09/15
What wonderful weather here in NYC, albeit for the time being, we have already had the first dim of a cold front. CP is purely wonderful for the runs right now. I did 6-miles this morning, still thinking about my marathon plans... Gosh I am going to suffer, but I did do one 20, and we have SEVEN weeks to go.
Lunch today was at Girasole - the salmon special, three bottles of pieroni, and that was that, but they bring normal bread, Italian bread, vegetables etc as starters... Tony & I had a meeting with Jim Hancock who is the man behind the Race of the Champions and in fact Shoe4Africa is going to be a benefactor of the ROC's - they have an event in Beijing in the Olympic Stadium with Michael Schumacker in November.

Then we went down to an ID-PR meeting, more shoe4africa stuff on trying to plan for PR around the marathon...

Good news - Serena & Venus won the doubles!


Four Jamaican athletes have been suspended for three months after admitting taking a banned substance. Of note... "Commonwealth 100m champion Sheri-Ann Brooks also tested positive but this was thrown out because her B sample was tested without her knowledge."
But the biggest story... Carmelita Jeter women's 100m star clocking 10.67!!
09/14
Serena Williams was robbed! That was the most ridiculous disqualification in the year of sports. If I had been Kim C. I would have refused to accept that as a win. A foot fault at that stage, impossible to be sure, then the lineslady crying she was going to be killed... Geez. Poor Serena. Also if you notice nearly 100% of when Serena challenges she is always right.. call a footfault in some sure fire situation where a place in the final is not at stake. Gosh, can you imagine that lineslady if John MacEnroe had been playing? She'd be in therapy after the first serve.
Great running from Rotterdam - 1.Sammy Kitwara, KEN 58:58 PB, course record (previous 59:12 Evans Kiprop Cheruiyot, KEN, 9 Sep 2007) (splits 13:37; 27:44; 41:54; 55.59) 2. Jonathan Maiyo, KEN 59:08 PB 3. James Kwambai, KEN 59:09 PB 4. Bernard Kipyego, KEN 59:10 PB 5. Wilson Chebet, KEN 59:15 PB 6. John Kiprotich, KEN 59:23 PB 7. Robert Kipchumba, KEN 59:32 8. Charles Munyeki, KEN 1:00:18 9. Samuel Wanjiru, KEN 1:01:08 - How many Kenyans under the hour for the half??
And in World Athletics - Ezekiel Kemboi proves this is his year and that he is a championship runner with another fine victory in Athens. Paul K. Koech must go down as Mr. whats-his-name Fernando from Portugal - the guy who used to run at Carlos Lopes' time who once set a WR at the 10,000m. The women's 5000 was great with the world's top four women with Sleepy Sylvia Kibet battling it out. This time the Ethiopians came out on top, but history will remember this as the Kenyan Ladies victory.

Talking of great Kenyans I heard from Great Tegla Loroupe, the legend of all Kenyan ladies, she has been in England running in Newcastle, and is now back in Germany, her home from home.

Glad to see that Kitwara says he will not run a marathon for a while, it would be fab to see him develop as a 10,000 runner instead of doing what most doing and trying the marathon as 'Bekele' is seen as unbeatable. Going on the theory of the great Haile, which I agree with...


Did not make it to the race this past weekend in CP, why? Chubbs cancelled and why would I bother to run otherwise?
09/13
Did I hear it right? I was listening to the radio and I heard, surprise surprise a Bloomberg for Mayor ad, "If you are going to community college and working part time so you are able we've got help for you, We've got help for the middle class." If that is the middle class what about the working class, or whatever they call it below middle?? It was the same in America with Obama, the middle man, the working man, the Joe the plumber? IS the generation to forget the poor? Why is nobody talking about what is below 'middle america?' and also who is in touch with this portion. Walk a mile in their shoes...
09/11
Winter is here. And on this day. I started the day with a run in CP with Sarah, in the rain and cold, in the wind. Got home making breakfast and Tony told me we have a meeting in midtown, so I jump on my bike just as the heavens reopened the trap door. I got drenched... However it was worth it for the meeting!

But 09/11 - how eight years has flown by. I remember that day, it was oh so sunny. Down in Wall St Prudential have a building with their trademark umbrella and for some strange reason it was lit. Linda, my friend who I was running with, pointed it out, "How odd." It is unlucky to have an umbrella up when there is no rain. We finished our run going to the World Trade Center area, then back up to 4th ST. Then I was meeting Lieng Seng and half an hour to kill, so I thought about going to Century 21, but by the time I was passing C21 I thought I would be rushed, so let me go east.. and a mile away, half an hour later with Lieng Seng - boom.

What a day, so sad and meaningless in the harmony of the world. Terrorism, the worst of the worse.

I had an apartment on West Broadway, maybe 200-meters away from the site, and I was not the official signed resident (was looking after it for a friend whilst she was in Switzerland), and going there was like visiting a war zone.

A year later, on September 11th I organized a peace run in Central Park. It was a beautiful evening, over 100 of us ran together for six miles. NYC is a place of resilience, and I remember thinking of that night about the empowerment of running, and how it is an oxymoron even to imagine that the people who planned 9/11 could have been runners,a s through running comes so much hope...

09/10
What are you doing on Wednesday 16th? Mark your diaries & support one of the nicest guys on the NYC running circuit... Our own Terence! read on, Vince August & Terence --
From Terence "Show info: Carolines on Broadway, address is 1626 Broadway between 49th and 50th Streets. Please call 212-757-4100 to make reservations. When you call tell them you are seeing me "Terence Gerchberg". Then the show is only $5 per person plus a two-beverage minimum. Showtime is 7pm on Wednesday September 16th, (show up by 6:45pm if you want a good seat), show should be done around 9pm." Go on, go for it!


Speaking Terence I saw him & the group down at the 6th ST track last night. It was my first time this year to go down there! Imagine, that is a first ever since I have been living here. I was going to coach my Fab F.I.T. Tigers (as they call themselves) - great to see the Princess Pegless & Kevia making returns, Hotdog was probably caught at the Police turnstile lines like last year, and the Pirate? She's probably in Florida... but we had newbies by the names of Ryan and she comes from Rhode Island, Melanie from Kansas no less, Abby from somewhere I presume, Kathryn ditto, Josh from Cincinatti (spelt wrong but I love spelling it that way)

But the very big superdooper news that had me smiling all day.... Thanks, thanks thanks to Hal & Stacey Kelly for their $30,000 donation to Shoe4Africa's hospital fund. Wooooweeee!


So I was supposed to be racing Chubbs this weekend,a nd I have been sick as a parrot in a grinder's mill, so I email him (don't want to give away a raspy throat) to ask if we are still on... he emails back and thinks there might have to be a raincheck... ho ho ho. So I am not sure, I could be racing this Saturday for the $$$ or I could be not. With my 'busy' training schedule what does it matter anyway.
09/09
A special day - 9-9-9, and it will not happen again for a century, but next year we have 10-10-10 to look forward to.
I went to Sanct Amb. on Madison & 78th to meet Mary for lunch. I was feeling awful, like bunged up, half dead & worn down. Actually this has been for quite some time now, not sure what it is, but for weeks I have been running on two cylinders... but, not here to moan - I had the pasta with the seafood, it was good but the portion was somewhat junior in size. The bread, wholewheat and with fennel, is great, but again you get two tiny pieces. The coffee again good, but at a temperature where you have to drink it (well good marketing so you don't sit all day as real estate is prime here). I had an odd looking, but very tasty, cheesecake. It looked like a poached egg, but was very rich. Two pieroni's (it is an Italian and little surprise I found Georgio in there!). All in all a nice place though.
We hear Suzanne Africa Engo will be in Central Park on Friday night doing something for the homeless, and this weekend also kicks off a series of FREE classic films at Sweet Emily's restaurant, second floor old-fashioned movie room. Check it out Casablanca, around the world in... tons of classic movies for a nice cheap date!
KARUNESH is back! A friend of Shoe4Africa, an amazing musician...
"My new album 'HEART CHAKRA MEDITATION 2 - coming home' will be released in September (Europe) and October (USA). This is the follow-up to my successful 'Heart Chakra Meditation'.
"The movements in this meditation are a bit more advanced but also based on a similar structure like 'Heart Chakra Meditation'. This means, that you are able to 'inter-change' the movements of the first album with the music of the new one, and vice versa. A third album of this series is planed for end of 2010, which will give you even more freedom of choice.

The album is available at Oreade's website: By clicking here**


09/08
Gosh I am getting so healthy, in the morning it was 14-miles at Sub nine minute miles with the famous n fabulous Sarah Jones, then in the afternoon I did a 12-mile social bike ride with Jason chewing the fat and nattering about the passing summer.
Beer of the week: La Rossa, it is Italian as a hint. Speaking of which I went to PT212 for the first time in over two months and they had a Heineken waiting at my table before I even sat down, now that is class. PLUS they have a new sushi roll that is the bomb, and beyond.. forgot its name but it started with a 'D' and was about three syllables.
And talking the bomb... JAMES LEGROS will be running for us in the marathon! Plus he is starring in a new series starting in September called Mercy... On that note the producer of Glee that is starting on Fox is also running with us -- aiyah!
Cos I used the word running... Big big race coming soon in Holland, the Rotterdam Half with Sammy Wanjiru Vs Sammy Kitwara -- More Fire!! The road match up of the year over the half distance!

On that subject - Lille, where Virginie F. comes from(!) who is a sub 2 800m runner from a decade ago (I wonder what she is up to now) LILLE HALF- 1 KIBIWOTT Stephen KEN 59:37 2 CHANCHIMA Jairus KEN 59:43 3 KIPLAGAT Evans KEN 59:56
Women 1 KEITANY Mary KEN 1:07:00 2 ERKESSO Teyba ETH 1:08:39 3 WANGARI Myriam KEN 1:10:47 - does Kenya rule the half or whaaaa.....

Funny story that the Simba had with Mary when Simba was setting the world record (and Mary came #2) that was in Udine, Italy. Anyway, Simba was not in shape that fall after resting for 7-weeks and thought she'd try a road race to check her form.... a long story, but a fun one, and one that resulted in a WR for Simba. And Stephen Kibiwott, great to see him doing so well! How many Kenyans have run a sub 60? Toooooo many.



09/07
New African record, by MORE FIRE RUDISHA! Don't believe the text, he is now 1:42:01!!

DAVID RUDISHA RUNS WITH MORE FIRE Get the book at Urban Athletics in NYC or online at AMAZON.com now -- ALL proceeds go to charity, the author does not make a penny from the sales of this book. On the day of the Olympic fial I was talking with David about the WR and I can tell you he is going to get it... without a doubt.


Out with Michelle the other day, we walked along the WS, so beaut out there - I wish this weather could last forever!
I saw Mary D. in the park looking super and ready to pop a good one in Chicago this year.
Meanwhile n Hyde Park -1 Vivian Cheruiyot KEN 15:11 2 Linet Masai KEN 15:12 3 Aberu Kebede ETH 15:13 4 Inga Abitova RUS 15:23 5 Kim Smith NZL 15:27 6 Grace Momanyi KEN 15:35 -- Me thinks Sleepy Sylvia would have been #1! That was a 5k. The Simba and Defar HOLD the WR in the 5k in 14:46 -- the record books show Defar, BUT Carlsbad rounded up here time from 14:46 Point something and when the SIMBA ran 14:46 in Holland they rounded up to 14:47 as is required.... Hence they both should have 14:47 (by IAAF laws), but y'know how it goes, anyway Meseret agrees that she shares this record with Simba,a nd Simba says... "Hey, I just run..." GLAD to see the athletes rise above politics on this one. Thus the SIMBA holds WR's from 5km to 21.1km and that is quite a breath!
Peter Kamais, 27:09 for a 10km - have you heard of him, no? Kenyan? Of course! Amazing, another sublime performance over in Tilburg, where Greg Van Hest (2:09 marathon) has a store. Now Greg was a training partner in 1999 and hewas a great guy. In Albuquerque at the time Benoit Z. thought he was the hot stuff setting all the course records on the training runs, though Bob Tahri go the academy circuit. Well Greg came along and blew Benoit's times out of the world - Greg RULED Albo-running. I mean the guy ran a 61-minute half marathon in Holland with 7km on sand(!) He had great parents too (Ad & Marie)who made up the team... so if you are ever in Tilburg.
Ten dollars, then forward the request to ten friends...

Please help build the first public hospital for children in Kenya.

09/05
The Year of Kenya, (again). Wonderful to read that Augustine Choge considers this team world record as the greatest moment of his life. A lesson in there about the truth of the Kenyan Running. You can read about Choge's story in More Fire, a tough life, but also learn much about the spirit of Kenya through that small quote. Forget the fact he won the Commonwealth Games 5000 in front of 80,000 screaming sports fans in Australia, it is a team effort that makes his moment, and that is... Kenyan running. William Mutwol, Olympic Bronze, said the same thing, it is all about a significant bond that goes beyond individual medals and runs into the glory of running and flying a flag for a country called Kenya.
Down at Le Pain Q on Saturday morning with my friend Morley - she who is the singing voice of the Ralph Lauren commercials. The coffee is good there but they serve it in such big wide-rimmed bowls that unless you gulp it down the coffee goes cold, aiyah! Since I have such a diet that is so poor I too a granola thing too with berries. First fruit for the week - yeehar.
09/04
Back into the NYC swing of things - at the Boathouse drinking a beer with Tony, or two, going to Blaggards Pub for a salmon, glugging red wine, and working like a dog on a treadmill on 100 things relating to Shoe4Africa & Co.
Very good to see the announcement of Tony on people.com that he will be running the NYC Marathon. In fact we ran, with Sarah Jones, 11-miles this morning in the park.

Talking NYC I was on the streets with Global stopping village people to get their photos - he got a couple of Gems. That is the East Village for ya!


09/03
Today I hope to see the new C-IN2 Shoe4Africa underwear, soon to be launched! Would you buy underwear 'supporting' charity? I think it is going to be big as we are partnering with a GREAT company here.
Moreover I had a great meeting at Starbucks with Melissa Sosa of NYU Medical.
With more meetings coming up with some big players things are starting to look exciting.
Also I am looking for a part time worker, like a secretary type person, work from home thing (as there is no office). Let me know if this is you!
09/02
I saw that Tesfaye from West Side ran a 60:37 half marathon making him perchance the fastest locak club runner yet. West Side Y have a slue of fast runners who have run for them over the years but this guy has to be the fastest we think. Khalid Kariouni was another legend...
No race in CP this week, in fact the NYRR is closed, but the big race is the 20k at New Haven which quite a few are traveling up for.
Rumors abound the Reservoir Run will be held again later this year, with the same prize structure as last time.
Hear from Sleepy Sylvia who is soon on her way to Europe to compete again after coming home to Iten with the Silver medal; what a star!
Isaac Macharia? Perhaps the most qualified academic in the elite field in Chicago? He has two degrees and a 2:07:16 PR
09/01
The summer has ended and here comes the Winter. Good news - I did my first long run for the marathon on Saturday. I was hoping to do the NYRR long runs but they were SO early this year I had not even thought about lacing up the shoes. So, in the wind, wet and cold, at 5:30AM I met Sarah and we did 20.1-miles in 3-hours! At mile 17 I was dreaming about a black coffee. Right now I have Dormans coffee from Kenya. Not as good as Swedish Zoegas but what can you do eh?
Looking at the IAAF Golden League I was wondering why, in these days of athletic equality, do we have 10-men's events yet only six events for the ladies? I sent an email to Seb Coe & am awaiting a reply.
I ventured over to Jersey this past weekend. Most odd for me to go overseas. It was for a birthday party in the Marina and I saw (Newport) that nice fusion Asian restaurant is still there.
Bad news; Michael the boxer Olajde can't make Sept 12th for the four miler. Apparently he can run a 5-min mile which is pretty snappy for a 46-yr old former #1 contender for the Middle Weight title. Chubbs is always harping on about how he could win the Golden Gloves... I thought I'd give him the Opp to get a try out.
08/30
Quite a Mindboggling Story

Over in Kenya Pastor Steve and his ministry in the Korogocho slums just outside Nairobi is something out of a movie. Steve is a reformed thug whose ushers and choir girls are former prostitutes. Pastor's who stand up and speak are also reformed criminals. It is that kind of place. The congregation is just as colorful. They come, they cry and they weep. When they confess it is not for the usual sins, when I was there (sneaking in at the back stepping over a kid with a glue bottle stuck to his lip) a lady came forth and asked for forgiveness. There was no crime she had not committed, including the biggest. Recently she had seen her children burn to death and had been in a drugs stupor not really caring for their torture.

Other's came forward and talked about drinking bottles of rat poison to try and end terms of misery. But here is the story first of the Pastor, in his words.

"My name is Pastor Steve and I would like to share my testimony about my life before I was a pastor.

Pastor Steve in Action, Purity, an Usher, behind.

"I was a thug brought up in a slum area of korogocho a place where poverty reigned, a place where many things used to happen. The korogocho slum is a slum well known in Nairobi, and that is where I was brought up. In my family, we were eight children, and while growing up, we were very poor. My father had no job and my mother also had no job and what happened is that my mother used to sort out the trash at the dumpsite, because where korogocho is there is the Dandora dump where all the trash (and toxic waste) of Nairobi ends up , and this was about 50 meters from where we lived. Because then of its proximity, my mother used to sort out the gunny bags and soap which she would then resell for her to be able to feed us. But that was not enough as apart from food, we had other needs like clothing and this contributed a lot to our poverty status in our home. My father was a drunk whose work was to sell changaa (illegal alcohol) or to cook changaa and get paid for it but bring nothing to the home.

"I and my brother, who was younger than me, loved going to school but could not afford it. A good Samaritan paid for our school fees and we were able to go to school, but he could not afford all our needs. I attended a school called ndururuno primary school where I was able to study until class four, but could not continue as my school clothes were torn and I had a lot of shame in my life, and as I hardly ever ate, we used to struggle with hunger even in school. I decided to leave school, but before this my younger brother left during class three, and why he left was because of hunger and poverty that had arrested us in our home and so when I got to class four, I also decided to leave school, and when I did leave I decided to join my mother in the dump, to collect the same trash she did.

"When I got to the dump, I became a parking boy, thirteen years of age at that time and I primarily collected plastic bottles and anything else that could generate income. I used to sell this and get a little money which I would then take home for use, but also spend a little on myself for my own uses. My goal was to help my mother and help our family because I used to pity myself and pity us at the life we were leading. We were living in a single room, eight children, and if you add my father and mother, we were ten in that room.

"What happened was that while at the dumpsite, I started to eat there, until I was sixteen still collecting trash and thought to myself that it was better for me to join a group that was at the dumpsite. Around the dumpsite were various groups with names and this groups were so formed because the lorries that came to the dumpsite to drop food, or to drop other stuff to be trashed. The group took up a whole lorry to empty because as an individual, you have no rights to a lorry unless you are part of a crew. Each crew had its own time to service a lorry and I thought it was a good idea to join a group because I saw that they were earning money. I then joined a group called "yamacheezy". There were many groups with different names for instance "macheezy," another group called "mau mau" and many other groups with different names in that dump site. When I joined the "yamacheezy" group, I was sixteen years, and I was welcomed and became a part of the family and worked together with my other group members.

"I discovered when I was working with them, that amongst them there were thieves, or thugs and their work was to go to houses and steal. They used to go to estates, steal from the houses and come and hide the stolen property in Dandora around the big forest (now it's no longer there as the land has been developed). They used to hide the stolen property there, and us like the young kids in the group, would be used as couriers to ferry the goods from the hiding place to the thieves homes in korogocho or in kariobangi, and through this whole process they used to pay us.

"I discovered with the work they used to give me I would earn more in a single trip than what I would get a whole day collecting trash at the dumpsite. I joined them and we started working together. They used to go and steal and we would then take the things like televisions and household goods, and bring them to korogocho where they would then be sold. As we worked together, I discovered that even among the group were gangsters who used actual guns, and I envied their lifestyle, because where I used to live, I was desperate and everything around me was desperate also, and so I had to do desperate things.

"Another thing that motivated me to follow these gangsters was that if you looked at where I was born and brought up, if you looked in front of me you saw drunkards, if you looked behind me you saw prostitutes, if you looked to my left there are gangsters and if you look to my right there are drug dealers. That is where I was brought up. I know that what you see around you is what you become and so I was sure I would become one of this four sides. I longed to become a gangster because I found myself in cahoots with other gangsters, and I asked them to help me so that I could raise the standards of living in our home. My goal as I had said was not to raise my own living standards as I was still very young at sixteen years of age but to see my whole family living comfortably.

"To this effect, I talked with one of the leaders of the gangs, and asked me whether I would be able to do the work and I told him that I would. I told him it would be good for him to come and visit my home to see the abject poverty that we were living in and see where he could be of assistance. He agreed to do so and when we went home with him and saw how we lived, the single room and the eight people living there, and the poverty staring at us in the face he decided to help me. He told me that he would help me and that was the end of the conversation then. The following day, at the dumpsite, I met with him and asked him where he had reached regarding my concerns to join his group. He told me that he had sat with his group and after much discussion they saw that I was not a match to the group but, he would give me a pistol and he wanted me to use it and work and lift my family to riches.

"So he gave me the gun, and he told me to "Take the hoe and start farming for your family" and when I took the pistol (please understand I had never stolen) I had wanted to learn with the group and so I was very confused as to where to start. I took the pistol and wrapped a paper bag around it nicely and I went and hid in a toilet that was near my home. For nearly a week I did not touch the pistol as every time I wanted to carry it, I was defeated as to where I would be able to use it, where I would begin because it was very new to me and if I had started out by joining the group it would have been easier for me. But now I was given the gun, told to go farming, told to make my family rich and I did not know where to start.

On a certain Saturday, I remember very well I had gone to the dumpsite, at Mukuru, and I was doing some work collecting trash, and when I did I was paid seven hundred shillings and my wish was just to buy blue jeans. I decided on that day that I would go to the market, and buy a pair of blue jeans so that I could be able to wear them. On that same day an evil spirit came into me, and I found myself taking the gun and carrying it to the market. I was not going to steal but I found myself carrying the gun all the same.

"Understand, I was wondering how to do this new work with a pistol, and I even went to the extent of going to watch videos at the local video houses for five or ten shillings. I watched mafia films, theft and army films to figure out what I was meant to do with this gun, and at the end of the day I found myself carrying the gun and off I was to the market. I found myself at the market and it was a busy Saturday called "Soko Mjinga" and I stood and looked around and my eyes landed where women were selling potatoes and putting the money away into plastic containers called "Kasukus" and when I saw that money, I felt a voice talking to me (and I know this voice was for the evil one, the devil) and it said to me "you have been looking for wealth, wealth is here". And at that time I had the pistol, and I said to myself that I had to take that money though not immediately, as I went to and fro, trying to decide how to take it. I remember very well it must have been during the third or fourth round when realized I had removed the pistol and had shot into the air above the people in the market place, and when I had done that, I told everybody to lie down. It was only good luck that nobody refused this command and all of them lay down and I took the money putting it into a paper bag.

"It was a line of 'kasukus' of women selling potatoes, and also some men and I went down taking the money and putting this into the paper bag and everybody was still face down as I did this. On the other side of the market, there was commotion as everybody was trying to run out of the market, you know the retort of a gun has a certain effect, and everybody was running. I continued putting money into the paper bag and hid my gun and started my journey back home.

As I was going home I witnessed that everybody in the market was acting seemingly confused, and nobody knew who the gangster was, or who had robbed them because even as I was walking home, passerby's were asking me what was wrong and I was telling them that I had no clue as to what was happening. So I found that I had reached our home, and counted the money and found that it was more than thirty thousand Kenya shillings and I called my mother to tell her, "Mum, I want to tell you something. And what I want to tell you is that today I collected money. I went to the dumpsite and I have collected money." Because my mother did not know I was a gangster, she knew I used to collect trash at Mukuru the same way she used to collect trash and she could not for the life of her think that I had entered the life of a thief. When mum counted the money (she has passed away) but I remember very well her saying "God bless the work of your hands," that's what my mother said and I gave her the money. Mum said that since they had never had a bed or household furniture, it would be good to buy this household items and I remember on that day we bought chairs for the house, and the house looked like it had had a face lift, it actually looked like a house.

"We were staying in one room then, but next door was another room (by the way the rent on these rooms was Ksh 200 (less than three dollars per month) but we were unable to pay for it. I remember before I brought home the money we were in arrears of three months rent and we were being chased away by the landlord. What happened was that mum paid for the room and took the next room and so we had two rooms. From there the evil spirit found dwelling in me and it said to me "you see, this is the only way you can raise your parents. This is the only way you can help your parents. Look at how you did not have furniture but now you have bought, had one room and now you have two".

"My heart trembled. I was young and I still looked at the concept of family the way we can stand together. I believe we were very poor as we lived in a poor neighborhood and our neighbors thought we were very poor and so you can see how very poor we were. So what happened from there, I became a gangster original, and I started forming my own gang, and I remember very well that I started to form the gang of four people and from there we started stealing from people's businesses, we started following business people and we started stealing a lot of money. It reached a place where we started joining other groups of gangsters and moving into town (Nairobi city) to do robberies in town and in short this is how I then came into my salvation.

"When I entered into this life and became a gangster, (in fact today if I went with you to korogocho or the place where I was raised you would be amazed because most of the people, even though you see them coming to church, many came to confirm that it was true I had gotten saved, not because of anything else). Many of my followers even today, follow me because seriously they know me, the way I was those days. I remember during the New Year in korogocho, I used to stand outside my house, say happy New Year and shoot my gun into the air and so people knew my life history in korogocho very well. They know how I was a gangster, how I used to do many things, until I reached a place when I was one of the most wanted gangsters in Nairobi and the police reached a conclusion that they would gun us down if they ever caught us.

"I remember one day we had a mission at Serena, and we were meant to snatch some money from a certain person who had Ksh 1.5 million ($19,230), and we were meant to do this as a gang of four. When we were told all of this, it happened that we arranged to get into town at four pm so that we can grab the money at around five pm. I was coming from korogocho and my fellow thugs (who had invited me to help them as they were the ones with the contract) were coming from Githurai and so that day I spent it cleaning my gun in preparation for our meet. I had never used drugs in my life and God had helped me throughout even in my dump days to keep away from them. The way people inject themselves with drugs and indulge in drugs was no reason for me not to act or go where the other druggies were going. You would have thought that I was on drugs too by the way I used to behave but that was not the case.

"On that day whilst getting ready, (I don't know what happened and that is why I say that when God does come, he comes in many ways), I found myself indulging in drugs. There was a base near where we lived, called level killer base, and they used to sell all kinds of drugs. I went to the base and drunk a drug called Hitler and it was a pill that you would divide into two to take twice. I wanted to go on this mission when I was high. I took the pill, carried my gun and I was off. When I drunk the pill, I remember becoming confused because I looked at my watch and saw that it was four thirty but the truth was that it was only two o'clock. The drugs I had taken convinced me that I was running late. I called one of my sisters who was studying at St Georges (I was the one funding her education then, but she dropped out when I got saved as I could no longer afford it and so we brought her to our lady of Fatuma where she finished her education) and she carried it for me in the matatu, from Dandora to town and before long I found myself in Uhuru park.

"When I was in Uhuru Park, please note that Serena is only a few yards away, I discovered that I had arrived very early and it was only two thirty. I was meeting the rest at four o'clock to finish preparing for the mission. We did not know this at the time but the mission of robbery was a set up from a rival gang. If I had continued hanging around Serena I would have looked suspicious and I was armed at that time. I told my sister to go home and I would see her later and looked for a place where I would wait out the remaining hours to the mission. When I looked and saw many people at Uhuru Park, I thought that this was an advertising campaign going on as the stage looked very large. At no point did I think that it was a crusade. I decided it was a good place as any to wait out the time, and I went towards the back of the crowd trying to blend in though there was still a crowd behind me. I discovered that this meeting was in fact was a meeting for the evangelist Teresia Wairimu who I had never heard of or met in my life. This was in the year 2000.

"As I was sitting there, I saw a lady going up to the podium and she started prophesying. This is what she said. "Amongst you there is an armed gangster, and God is telling me that if he is not going to get saved today, he will die today. He is a man of God." When I heard this I trembled as I had never heard nor witnessed anything to do with prophetic words. I was shocked and started wondering who the lady was talking about, even going to the extent of thinking that there must be some other gangster in the congregation she was talking about. Seated behind me was a group of ladies who started talking in the vernacular language saying, "If this man only knew, that whatever this lady says God talking through here and she is never wrong, he would present himself to her". When I heard this, I became very uncomfortable and I decided to flee the crusade. I started heading towards the front looking for a way out, and throughout all this time, Christians were crying and praying to God all around me that the gangster would show himself. I was still trying to find a way out when the lady on the podium called me by my full three names "Stephen Gichuhi Mbugua. The person refusing to come up is called Stephen Gichuhi Mbugua". When I heard that, I knew that today was the day. When I looked at the ushers and the security team, I thought they were members of the flying squad as they had worn suits. I started thinking that this had been organized by the government and they already knew I was here and I knew that I was trapped. I always knew that I would never surrender, I would shoot my gun in the air then take off or find another way but I would never surrender. I felt a voice telling me to remove my gun, shoot in the air, have the crowd in a panic and dispersing and find my way out in the process. Another voice was telling me to accept the situation for what it was and to believe in the evangelist and surrender to her at the front. And that is what happened. I found myself walking to the front where the podium was. Before I got to the front to climb the metal barrier just before the podium, the evangelist looked at me and said "Yes, it is you," and she came down from the stage, took a hold of me, put me in a Mercedes Benz back left and then accompanied by other pastors, she took me straight to the central police station. I surrendered my gun. I was actually on the floor and in a daze during this period and I heard the cops asking, "Where have you gotten this gangster who we have been looking for, for a very long time?" I heard the lady speaking and telling the cops that I was not a thug, but a pastor who would be working under faith evangelical ministries. Clearly it took time for the evangelist Wairimu to convince the boss that I was changed in my ways and that I would stop being a gangster and lo and behold I was being released after signing some papers.

"Later on I learned that my fellow gangsters had all been fatally shot. It had been a set up by a rival mob. I was then taken by the evangelist under her care (she did not allow me to even go back home) and I was sent to Mombasa with other young elders of the church, for one month for training purposes. During this month I was taught how to pray and I remember thinking that it was the hardest thing to do as I had never prayed before. We were staying in a PCEA owned hotel and looking all around me from morning, I would see people in various forms of prayer and even talking in tongues. I was very confused and very baffled and all I could do was to just tell Jesus thank you, for having saved me repeatedly. That is how my work for God started, with a thank you. We stayed on for one month and during this time, I felt I had a burden to preach to others, to reach out to others, and God talked to me specifically about reaching out to gangsters, prostitutes and drug dealers as I understood them because I used to be one of them.

"With this path in mind, I started training under evangelist Wairimu for four years and my work at his term was servitude. It ranged from wiping of seats for the service, washing the wet areas, sweeping the church, helping out for the crusades at Uhuru park etc. what was really happening was that every prophet who came to the church, be it international or local, poured blessings on me to be knowledgeable, and they all said to me that God was calling me into the ministry in a way that had never been seen before in Kenya. My ministry would be aimed at finishing crime and prostitution in this nation. I did not understand what God was saying to me as I was still very young in my salvation. Every prophet who came in always had things to say about me, and they saw the big things I was intended to accomplish.

"After four years I did get the calling to the ministry and this became a burden to me. I shared this with the evangelist Wairimu and she told me to go back to my base in korogocho, and to start a fellowship. Through this fellowship God would start showing himself to me and leading me in what I should be doing. The first fellowship I led had many challenges. The evangelist Wairimu had been kind enough to give me a sound system and a worship team, but korogocho slums was still a place where at that time the police did not even patrol. I remember thinking that I would have been killed. I held the fellowship in a hall I had rented and everybody in korogocho came to see me preach in that meeting. My challenge was not in the people of korogocho but in the gangsters who I had worked with, as they thought I would betray them and give them up. They did not understand what church or fellowship was and because to some of the gangsters I was their former leader, and to the other gangsters I was a friend, they decided to kill me before I could do any damage.

The service was amazing in this way -At the end when I made an altar call, and asked people who had been touched to raise up their hands and receive Jesus, the whole congregation raised up their hands to receive Christ. The spirit of God was in the church and God's presence was felt by all. It was a humbling experience. On their way to steal and kill me, the gangsters got into a fight amongst themselves. Turns out there was a group supporting me, and another one wanting to still kill me. Because of the indecision amongst the gangsters they left me alone and I was not harmed. The fellowship continued successfully for a time on every Wednesday until God spoke to me to have a place of worship for Sunday. We then built a church which evangelist Wairimu opened and this stands here to date though it is a little small for my growing congregation. (a corrugated iron hut on poles).

"That is where my ministry started. My congregation consists of ex prostitutes, ex gangsters and ex drug dealers. This is the ministry I was chosen by God to come into, to change lives here and to seek his blessing here. May the name of the Lord be praised! (thx to Karte for the transcribe).


08/29
Vinyl Jim sent me this picture along with an article that was on the cover of the Queens Chronicle. back in the days when I used to race... and it is now only two weeks when I return to the roads to race thew Chubbs who is in fighting shape and promises to retire if the result does not go his way.

Rumor has it the five kilos he has lost are a result of him stopping his "nightly tipple" of vino. Hm, that is quite some tipple.


08/28
Last night I went out to the Hudson River to see the Suds n Soap 5km. It was a really fun event, and brought back a lot of what running should be for community events, it was almost like an episode of cheers. Nice to see the 'old' crew out there. Looks like it is going to be a great series. The free beer part was a big hit, and the ape-swings post race activiities were pretty impressive.

A legend of the two laps - Pamela Jelimo.


08/27

World Champion Shorty runs with Sleepy on her shoulder, as happened in the World Champs.


Okay, another video! Here's one over in AFRICA that we did - Shoe4Africa. I was learning about Malaria and how kids are the most vulnerable, then I thought, What if you can't hear the mosquito? Or move from it... Hey presto! *CLICK HERE*

AND talking community service I heard that the Harlem 5-miler is short of volunteers. They only need ten and I have said Hakuna Matata we'll do it... So, please help out the running community, if you are able give me a shout for Saturday 19th- please!


Talking of which The Chubby Boss has his race on Riverside Dr and 105th tonight, the Thursday night swig 5k with FREE beer - all welcome, ring 212-828-1906 for further details.
08/26
WATCH THIS LINK! My ace friend Mike who knows how to shoot a camera - marathon tips. great feedback coming on this one!
Downtown with Mike today eating bagels, and glad to say the humor, taste & dry of Ess-a-Bagel on First is still there.
My running partner these days is non other than Sarah Jones, the Tony winning actress. She'll be running the ING NYC marathon in November - we are hoping for a 3:45-hr run. Should be a hoot, I am planning my first long run for this Saturday. 20-miles.. and a couple of pebbles.
08/25
YAMA on Irving place, around 17th ST. A great little sushi place with fresh rolls. recommended should you be in that neck of the woods.
Mixed response in Kenya to the worlds... Actually it was a great Games for them. Also when you look at all the Kenyans who competed for France, Bahrain, Qatar, USA, Uganda, etc you realize what an amazing dominance it is. Take away one Ethiopian, baby faced assassin... suddenly it does not look like a rivalry.
Thursday is URBAN ATHLETICS WEST SIDE 5k with free beer! What a deal.

Speaking of racing! Big bucks - Thanks to Masami who is backing Shoe4Africa (me) with $1000... if I win this race it will be a minimum $3000! BUT Chubbs has given up alcohol, training and looking in good shape. I begin m training on Thursday! or planning to!


08/24

Meet the top scorer of Shoe4Africa. Lucy. An amazing person.

There was a family. First mother died, then the father. Then the elder brother from a sickness, then another brother from sickness. the last brother looked after the three girls. Then one day when he was walking in Kibera he met a friend. The friend had stolen something. A mob came by and recognized the thief. they stoned the 'friend' to death and, as fate would have it, the brother got caught by the flying stones and died.

Now Lucy looks after the remaining two, and yes, also her niece too. Lucy hopes that I will build the hospital, as then she can have a job.


08/23

Sleepy Sylvia Kibet just after qualifying for the World Champs.
I texted Sleepy and asked, "Please bring back a medal."
She replied, "I will."
She did, Silver in the 5000m! So happy for her!



08/22

The Shoe4Africa Women's team in Kibera. Photo by Elvis.

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Bolt continues to make the rest of the world look pedestrian. Best wishes to Sleep Sylvia who looked fantastic in the women's 5000m. And to Robert Cheruiyot, running on Saturday!
08/21

THE KONCHELLAH LEGACY CONTINUES...

If you look at it this way, Konchellah, who won the 1500m was born and was bred a Kenyan. He has a Bahrain passport, lives and trains in Kenya... As far as I see it Kenya went 1, 3, 4, 5 in the men's 1500! Can Kenya run? Ok, a little different for Bernard Lagat, but would he have won if born Bennie Lagat in the Bronx? That is for you to surmise!


Congrats to one of the nicest women in the sport, Janeth Jepkosgei!
08/20
CONGRATS to Ezekiel Kemboi, featured in MORE FIRE - find out his story n training!

The Flying policeman, finally getting his World Champs Gold.


Back2 Kenya trip: Is Kenya a failed state? The question came about the other day here when people were talking about how Mrs. Clinton was visiting seven distressed countries in Africa, and Kenya was one. The country is facing a severe hunger problem, no one has water in a lot of parts, and the electricity is being rationed so at least three days of the week you do not have electric from 6am to 6:30pm around the country. This of course is having a devastating effect on the small businesses. But what about the politics? Things are difficult here but one thing is for definite and that is that the coalition government is simply not working one bit. Things are slipping to an all time low. A great example was the recent expensive wrangle with Uganda that should have been a UN issue.

There is much good in Kenya though, and the spirit of the people is tremendous. The church in the East Leigh Slums where all the badness of Nairobi is condensed, yet in a simple structure. Wooden rough hewn posts with corrugated iron nailed loosely to the poles. There is an array of broken plastic chairs where the guests sit and a makeshift altar at the front of the church. Entering the church you step over street boys who are half passed out through sniffing too much glue. Purity welcomes you at the door, she is an Usher and takes you to a seat. She is stunningly beautiful and smiles with angelic charm. She later tells you that she used to live from Friday till Monday in Nightclubs �taking advantage of men.� The pastor, Steve, is a reformed thug who used to rob people with guns, �Here all people find a home, they know there is no judgment on them from the Lord and they feel they have a home. All my ushers were prostitutes, the choir too. My male men in the choir? They were gangsters like me, there is nothing we have not done.�

In the service the Pastor asks if there are any open confessions, a woman comes forward and tells that there is no drug she has not touch, or any crime that she has not committed, �I was the worst gangster, and, (she starts crying) I let my two children die, burn, in a fire in my apartment.� She gets the church�s blessing and returns to her seat.

�Is there anyone who has been feeling suicidal?� About ten women come forward and the Pastor recognizes at once a couple, �You, again? I remember when you drank a bottle of rat poison! What is the problem now?� The girl, young and in her teens like most, faints on the floor falling back onto the startled front row of the church chairs. All ladies are crying. You sit there taking in the scene wondering if you are in a movie, and a wink and smile from Purity makes you realize this is everyday life. Twice a week the congregation who barely have two stones to rub together meet to feed the orphans of the slum, �Don�t ask me how as we never have the money on Tuesday, somehow we manage to collect enough to buy food for 400-orphans twice a week.�

Orphans, Kenya is full of them. The other day we visited one of Kenya�s most famed runners who has taken a boy from the East side of Nairobi, in one of the poorest orphans homes and is giving him the chance to live the life of luxury and try and become a runner. The boy is so humble, and polite, you cross your fingers he will make it. He feels that he has already made it.

Meanwhile an orphan in the wild, meet Mary Wambui. She is just twelve and was going to school in December 2007 until the post elections violence. She was chased from a burning home in Burnt Forest. Since then she has not been to school as her parents were not so lucky, they were killed. Today she walks to the nearby town and washes clothes and pots till she makes enough money to buy potatoes. Nobody pays her much, she�s 12 for god sake. She walks back from town to a tattered white canvas tent donated by the Red Cross back nearly two years ago. Temporary living, right? The tent is way past its sell by date. She cooks a meal for her two younger siblings who have been playing at the camp with the other young children. This is daily life with no foreseeable change for Mary who has graduated to mother & father at the age of twelve.


08/19

Two of Kenya's finest - Robert Cheruiyot running in Berlin on SATURDAY, and Duncan Kibet, running in Berlin in September.


Just back from a most amazing trip to Kenya - looking back at the 1223 photos I took it seems like I was there for a lifetime. Very productive! Thanks to CRISTIANO RONALDO for signing a copy of MORE FIRE! I got Sally Barsosio to sign it too, I will get Simba, Starbucks, and Tony to sign it too, then give it away to someone.
Hey, I am looking for an apartment in Manhattan if anyone has any ideas... Also looking for an apartment in Nairobi (buy not rent) just in case any one has further contacts.
08/13
GREAT DEALS at URBAN ATHLETICS! Get downtown after the Half Marathon finish to Urban Athletics for super discounts, party, fest n food! When you finish the half it is JUST there at the World Financial Center - go and visit the store that has ALWAYS supported Shoe4Africa & running! THIS SUNDAY, ONE DAY not-2-b-missed!

Today in Kenya I was at the Java Coffee Shop ALL day with Sally, just sitting, eating talking, and planning S4A things in Eldoret!

08/16
The Shoe4Africa women's football (Soccer) team won today in Kibera. 2-0 and Mueni won "woman of the match" and a signed Cristiano Ronaldo shirt.

The day before we were running in Ngong. So beautiful up there, peaceful as well - it is athlete town, almost like Boulder in the USA there are so many runners. So my stay in Kenya is coming to an end. Soon I will be back in NYC. Speaking of which I heard that Paula Radcliffe won the half this morning, hm, I guess she will not be running Berlin Marathon. Big celebrations here for Linet Masai of course, Linet lives in Iten, along with her brother Moses who will run in the men's 10,000m tomorrow. Kenya is expecting great things, and they barely survived the drama of Janeth falling in the 800m - thank goodness they reinstated her!


Is anyone selling a Harley Davidson? Or a Yamaha XT500?
08/12
Tomorrow for Robert Mwafrica? 3 x 5000 HIGH speed.
Power cuts in Nairobi! Now we get about 50% of each week with no power to save the country's energy. Today I went to see Sally (Barsosio) and after breakfast I took her over to Robert Cheruiyot's house. Robert lives only about 7-minutes walk away but she had never been. We all took lunch together and talked about how many Kenyan's face hardships to 'make it' with Sally & Robert both having a great story. Even this man Ben who will run a week on Saturday in Berlin at the World Champs - He has come FAR! Until recently he was a taxi driver and had to foot miles for mere breakfast.

Good news - Rita Jeptoo, the Boston winner in 2006, has given birth yesterday to a baby boy. She has some incredible stories from the last couple of years, forget even growing up!

After lunch we played darts in Robert's garage. I threw only one good dart! Talking Berlin, the man who is running the 5000m whose name I have forgot, Ebuya, used to be a cow herder till he was discovered by a former OLympic Champion, "Can you run??" The rest, as they say, is history!

OLDER NEWS CLICK HERE