Would You Be Willing To Risk It All To Be Great?
“Not sure how much money we had [when we moved to Kenya]. Cell phone, yes, training gear, a camera, iPod. No credit card. Within a month it would all be stolen. We found the guy I knew from World Cross but the training camp where he was in Kaptagat was all full, so we went to a cheaper camp down the road. It was just farmland athletes trying to avoid farm work. We didn’t realize at first that they were robbing us part by part. They’d take a T-shirt from the clothesline as it was drying. I came back from a run and found the iPod gone from my bag, along with the phone. After a month, we had one pair of training clothes, one pair of training shoes, and a pair of spikes, so at least we could race. Next day we found [Saif] Shaheen [world record holder in steeplechase] training in Iten. He heard our story and said, “That’s a poor life. Tomorrow I’ll get you a house next to me. You’re on me in Iten.” So we moved to Iten with Shaheen’s training group. He didn’t charge us rent….
“There were no Kenyan athletes our age. They’re all still in high school. Kenyans are older when they’re put in school, so by the time they’re out of high school, athletes are all in their mid-20s. That’s why you run into age-cheating. World Juniors is supposed to be 19-and-under, but in Kenya, if you don’t have a manager and you haven’t had an opportunity to race, you’re a junior. You’ve got 30-year-old guys in the junior race.”
– Jake Robertson talking in an incredible Q&A with Sarah Barker on Deadspin entitled, “A Decade In Kenya Turned Two Teens From New Zealand Into World-Class Runners.” This article is so good we used it as QOD two straight days.
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