Overlooking Kenya’s Great Rift Valley at 2,400 meters (7,900 feet) above sea level, it’s just after 7 o’clock in the morning, and Eddah Jepkosgei and her Kenyan teammates are in the middle of a 10-kilometer fartlek consisting of alternating runs of 3 minutes hard/1 minute easy on rocky, red-dirt roads in the rural town of Iten, the dirt from their collective foot strikes creating a small dust storm around them. The athletes run twice per day in used, hand-me-down shoes on these challenging roads, with little food to eat throughout the day and no electricity or running water at home, dreaming of racing in America and Europe so they can win money and escape poverty. The Kenyan running epicenter of Iten is like a monastery, with running at the center of everything. “If you are strong, you can go far,” Eddah says.
The Kenyan runners are indeed very strong. They have to be, to live and train under their circumstances. “Suffer for a short time, or suffer for the rest of your life,” is a common phrase here. The strength and perseverance that come from hard, physical labor are highly valued traits in Kenya.
Named after the Swahili word for strength, Nguvu Running is a professional, non-profit Kenyan running group founded in 2023 by Dr. Jason Karp with the objective to help the talented Kenyan runners who desperately need an opportunity.
The mission of Nguvu Running is to develop the deep yet overlooked talent of the Kenyan runners and find opportunities and the financial support they need to change their lives.
The vision of Nguvu Running is to become a world-leading platform to show that anything is possible when talent and preparation meet opportunity.
To learn about the athletes of Nguvu Running, click here.
The runners in Kenya cannot succeed without your help. Please consider donating to help these runners realize their dream.