In the summer of 2019, my family and I spent two weeks in Iten, Kenya. Ever since reading Finn's "Running with the Kenyans," I had been dreaming of spending time in Iten (EVERY runner's dream, right?). But how was I going to bring my whole family to Kenya on such a limited budget? Really, it wasn't a dream; it was a fantasy. Then came the perfect storm. I found a huge sale on airline tickets, an Airbnb for $10/night in the heart of Iten, and the excuse of our 10th wedding anniversary. So we got a bunch of vaccines, loaded up on anti-Malaria medicine, ignored the advice of our local pediatrician who warned us unequivocally NOT to take a 1-year old to Africa, and flew to Kenya.
Living in Iten for two weeks is an experience my family and I will carry with with us forever. To be sure, I was the slowest runner in all of Iten, but what did I care? I got to run for miles and miles through the same Kenyan countryside where the greatest distance runners in the world either are from or train. I got to chat with Brother Colm and meet Rhonex Kipruto, and I happened to run into two of the top Israeli runners who were there training for the upcoming world championships.
But it wasn't just about the running. It never is. As I have discovered in my short time as a runner, running is only the threshold act to the greatest experiences life has to offer. My time in Iten, Kenya was no exception.
Now is my opportunity to give back to the people there who welcomed us with such open arms, and who my family and I now consider our family in Kenya. Please help me support the people who have given so much to the running community.