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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas with Catherine Ndereba 2009

Christmastime is a very important time for Catherine as she looks forward to spending time with her family. With such a large family and each member having many different responsibilities, it is very difficult to arrange for all 9 siblings along with their families to find time to be in one place as I learned while in Kenya trying to film them all together. And that is just referring to Catherine’s side of the family. Add to that Anthony’s side as well as the families of husbands and wives and you can see how difficult it is. Now factor in the roads and the travel time and it becomes even more of a challenge. Even so, it is a time when Catherine tries as hard as she can to bring as much of the family together as possible.

This year, however, will be entirely different. Catherine will not be spending Christmas with her parents or her siblings. She will not even be able to spend it with her daughter, Jane who will spend the holiday with Anthony’s parents. Catherine will spend Christmas day fulfilling a responsibility that comes with her appointment to NOC-K; National Olympic Committee of Kenya. The timing could not be worse but Catherine is a woman of integrity and she will honor her duty to the committee because that is the way she is. Even on the most holy of days, she will do what is required of her. You’re probably wondering what could be so important as to make her miss spending Christmas with her family. Well, as it turns out, it is quite important. Whether or not it is important enough to take anyone away from their family on Christmas is not my call.

On Christmas day, Catherine, along with other members of NOC-K, will be at the airport in Nairobi to receive the Queen’s Baton to continue the Queen’s Baton Relay 2010 leading up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Upon researching this journey, I’ve learned that it is very similar to the relay of the Olympic Torch. The Queen’s Baton Relay starts at BuckinghamPalace in London and is presented by the Queen to the carriers of the first leg of the relay. The baton carries a message from the Queen to the host country of the Commonwealth Games.  This year The Relay began on October 29, 2009 and The Baton will pass through all 71 countries that participate in the Games before arriving at the site of the 2010 Games on June 25 in Delhi, India. The members of NOC-K receive the baton on Christmas day, and on Boxing Day take it to Mombassa where they will present it to the President of Kenya. The baton will arrive from Camaroon and from Kenya will head to Tanzania. The route The Baton takes is pretty amazing and you can actually follow it at this website: Queen's Baton Relay  In addition to being able to view the route it takes, there is a small camera mounted in the end of The Baton and you can view actual video of the journey!

So it seems like this is a mixed blessing; it is very unfortunate that The Baton arrives in Kenya on a day that is so important to Catherine and many others, but it is also an honor to have been selected as a member of the Kenyan Olympic Committee and is also an honor to be part of the team that will carry this baton to its next destination. Catherine hopes to be able to spend some time with her family and parents before the New Year and before her daughter, Jane has to go back to school and Anthony resumes his evening school. I, too, hope she is able to get that time; she deserves it.

A rare occasion 5/29/2009 when 5 of the Ndereba siblings were together
pictured here (L-R):
Cyrus Ndereba, Anastasia Ndereba, Carolyn Ndereba, Esther Ndereba

4 of the 5 Ndereba sisters at the Prison's Championships 5/29/2009 Nairobi
pictured L-R: friend and athlete Jane Murage joins
Esther Ndereba, Caroline Ndereba, Catherine Ndereba, Anastasia Ndereba holding daughter Ruth


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More info on the football tournament sponsored by Catherine Ndereba

Catherine Ndereba & husband Anthony Muhia Maina during a vist to Karatina, Central Province Kenya
I was curious about this event that Catherine is sponsoring so I asked her about it. She provides uniforms and balls for the players. But I wanted to know even more so I spoke with her husband, Anthony, about it because he is one of the organizers. This is not the first year they have been involved with this tournament. The first year was three years ago but there was no tournament last year due to a tragedy; the man who was the on site organizer and coordinator was struck by a car and killed. Therefore the tournament was not held. This year Anthony is heavily involved in the organizing. I wanted to know why he and Catherine were involved with football. This is what Anthony had to say:
"The soccer tourny is all about bringing the youth together and encourage them to be involved in active livelihood. In Kenya today we are faced with stiff challenges of unemployment and therefore the young guys get involved in risky behavior. One of the ways of keeping them active both mentally and physically is through sports and that's why the tourny. The tourny will be done in play offs and the semis will be done on 27th Dec and Finals on the 3rd Jan 2010 at Miiri primary school.(Not very far from my parents place)"
I was not surprised when I heard his answer; whether it is running, football (soccer), basketball or baseball, involving young people in sports is so instrumental in keeping them out of trouble. It is not unlike in the United States where involving children and young adults helps keep them from joining gangs and going down the wrong path. I recalled an incident in Kenya, (in the same area where this football tournament will be held), back in April just before my crew and I arrived in Kenya for filming with Catherine.  I'd heard that there was a clash near where Anthony grew up, and his parents still live, involving the Mungiki sect, known as Kenya's version of the Mafia. I was horrified and even worried whether or not it would be safe to travel there. You can read about the Mathira Massacre as it is known here: Mathira Massacre  It is exactly this type of group that Catherine and Anthony hope to help young men avoid by involving them in sports.When young people have enough to fill their time they are less likely to go out looking for things to do which often results in poor choices being made!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Catherine Ndereba to Sponsor Football Tournament

Catherine will be sponsoring a football tournament in Mathira East at the end of December. Please check back for more information coming soon!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

WinCatherine Fundraising Trailer on the Big Screen!

WinCatherine: The Story of Wincatherine Nyambura Ndereba will  have its first big screen event this Thursday December 10th at The Ambler Theater Open Screen Night in Ambler, PA. It is only the fundraising trailer but it will still be exciting to see it in a real theater!

Here is what the theater says:

"The Ambler Theater is proud to support independent filmmakers in their quest to achieve recognition for their valuable contribution to our culture.
Each film will be briefly discussed by the audience and/or your peers."

I don't know how many films will be screened but each is limited to 10 minutes. 

I hope people show up! Unfortunately, I just found out about the open night yesterday and learned today that they will screen WinCatherine.  It will be a great experience!

For those able to attend:
The Ambler Theater
108 E. Butler Avenue
Ambler, PA  19002

Monday, December 7, 2009

Putting things into perspective

Just a short post today; I really enjoyed this article from The Standard. No disrespect to Usain Bolt but I think the writer, Ted Malanda, makes a very good point here (click here)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Speaking Out

I spoke with Catherine on Monday after she returned home from Nyeri and I asked her how the half marathon went. She said it went well but that she was very disappointed that the turnout this year was much smaller than in years past. She noted that there were several other races too close to this one which prevented many athletes from competing there. She was interviewed after the race and she called on AK (Athletics Kenya, the governing body for track and field in Kenya) to do something about spreading out the events so they don't occur so close to one another. I don't know that she expected the reply that came from AK head Isiah Kiplagat today (read article). I will be sure to ask her thoughts on that the next time I speak with her! I can't wait to see the footage our crew filmed there!

You can see some of her television interview here: (love her new hairdo!) Catherine Ndereba @ Nyeri Half Marathon

Monday, November 30, 2009

Nyeri Half Marathon-Nyeri Town, Kenya

Only days after finally returning to her home outside of Nairobi, Catherine was off to her hometown of Nyeri with her husband, Anthony, and daughter, Jane to stand at the helm of the Nyeri Half Marathon. This is one race that she does not "run" as in compete; she "runs" it as in organizes the race with Anthony. This was the 13th year for the race and the event is held each year in the town near the village where she grew up and gives opportunity to runners that Catherine herself did not have when she was a young girl. It is a place where athletes can showcase their talents and possibly be noticed by one of the three organizations that employ athletes; the Prisons, Police and Armed Forces.

The race, however, is not limited to just locals, and athletes from all over come to participate.
Nyeri is located in the small Central Province of Kenya approximately 2 hours north of Nairobi. The course this year was more difficult than in past years and had more hills but despite the change, there were new course records set for both the men and women.  Ernest Kebenei (photo) won the men's race in 1:01:31 and he hails from Uasin Gishu district, which is the Rift Valley Province where Eldoret is the district capital and the training home to many elite runners. It is in Western Kenya. Gladys Kerubo, the women's winner with the course record of 1:11:44, is from Kisii which is the district capital of the Nyanza Province in Southwestern Kenya. (Here is a good map of the Kenyan provinces map)

Catherine mentioned that two boys she sponsors, Paul (her nephew) and John, did very well. She helps them with their training in Ngong and also provides them with uniforms. The boys ran 1:05 and 1:15 for the half marathon distance. Catherine's brother, Samuel ran the race in support of Catherine but he did not finish as it was not part of his training schedule at the time.

I sent a Kenyan crew to film Catherine and Anthony out among the locals to capture them in action and see how they interact with the villagers and athletes, and I can't wait to see the footage! When I spoke to Catherine, she said the event went very well however she was disappointed that the Vice President, who was scheduled to be their special guest, had to cancel and did not send an official in his place. I have found that this is a common occurrence with Kenyan officials; they are often canceling appearances and sometimes send a replacement but other times do not.

When I spoke to Catherine today, she was back in her home outside of Nairobi and is looking forward to time at home with her family which includes nieces, nephews and siblings. Her sister, Esther, also just had a baby girl named Maryanne and I know Catherine will enjoy helping out with her newest niece as well!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Farewell for now dinner...11/12/09

I really should have posted this a few weeks ago when it actually occured but I somehow missed it. I guess with all the postings on Facebook and twitter I neglected to post to the blog! Anyway, better late than never because I think everyone will enjoy some of these photos.

Three days before Catherine was to leave for Japan she invited me to dinner at the home where she lives while training in the United States several months each year (Norristown, PA). Most of the other athletes that normally share the house had already returned home to Kenya having finished their racing seasons before Catherine. There was only one other athlete still living in the house, Kellen. It was a great time for Catherine to spend some time with her best friend, Helen, who lives a few hours away in Maryland. They are extremely close (you may remember seeing Helen in some photos posted from our filming last year) and they used to train together. Helen is great; she's funny, smart and she and Catherine pray together almost every day and they can call each other any time even if it is in the middle of the night. They just don't get to spend much physcial time together because of the distance and Catherine's race schedules. Oh, and I forgot to mention, because Helen makes it so easy to forget, she is blind. You'd never know it though. She talks about "I have to see this" or "I loved the pictures; thanks for sending them" and she is an amazing person. She's also a very talented runner and has both bronze and silver medals in the Para-Olympics. Anyway, the point is not that she is blind, it is that she does not let it define who she is; similar to how Catherine did not let the village people define who she was as a young girl.

So, Catherine called me up to invite me and in order to entice me said she was making Mokimo; as if she needed to bribe me to come visit! Catherine's Mokimo is a real treat. It is her favorite meal and she doesn't make it very often while in the US so I was quite flattered to be invited! When I arrived, she and Helen were upstairs and when they came down, Catherine went to work making the preparations for the Mokimo.  
Catherine prepping the Mokimo



 only fresh ingredients

Making Mokimo the way Catherine likes it is hard work! It seemed like she mashed forever and her arm even got tired! (She said she's out of "Mokimo-making-shape" living in the US!)

I always have so much fun just hanging out with both Helen and Catherine; they are like two little giggly school girls! Don't get me wrong, I always enjoy being with Catherine but when the crew isn't around and we're not filming, there is a different level of relaxation and we all just revert into gigly schoolgirls. We had a blast and there were times that the two of them would slip into Swahili and Kellen and I would just watch them laughing and talking. I teased Catherine that we needed to take lots of photos for me to post on Facebook to tease her husband that the Mokimo was ready and make and waiting for him!
it's ready, come and get it!


Catherine and I shared a story with Helen (that I won't go into) but it had to do with an "interesting" day of filming a few months ago back in Catherine's hometown and the laughter was just incredible! We all know the public Catherine and how graceful, poised and humble she is but I wanted to share a more personal side of Catherine with the world which is one of the reasons I am making the film WinCatherine! I hope you enjoy the photos!

L to R: Kellen, Helen, Catherine

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chiba International Ekiden 2009

Earlier today, Catherine ran in the 2009 Chiba International Ekiden. Until I started learning about Catherine, I had never even heard of an Ekiden much less seen one! But, thanks once again to modern technology, I was able to watch the entire race last night live, online via my computer. Ok, I'll rephrase that because it really was not last night, it was very, very early this morning (the race ended around 1:30 am EST which was 3:30pm in Chiba). Regardless, it still fascinates me that I can watch live Japanese TV from my computer. Of course, I did not understand any of the commentating but every once in awhile I could distinguish "Ndereba" in the midst of all the Japanese!

For those of you who don't know what an Ekiden is, and for those who are just curious how this one went, an Ekiden is like a relay race. The entire race distance is broken down into segments and there are teams; each team member runs one leg of the race.

This race was marathon distance, was co-ed and there were 6 legs of the race; 1st was a 10k run by men, 2nd leg was women's 5k, 3rd leg another men's 10k, 4th leg a women's 5k, 5th leg men's 10k and then Catherine ran the anchor leg for Kenya which was a 7.195km leg. The Kenyan team came in third, Japan came in first with the Japanese Universities Team placing second. 

I haven't spoken to Catherine directly yet but I'm fairly certain that she ran within what her body would allow after running a full marathon just one week ago. The main thing is that Catherine LOVES to run Ekidens! She loves the team part of it and she has fun! She also loves running in Japan! 

If you'd like to read details about the race itself, here is a link to a good summary for those who are interested:

 (these photos were all screen captures from my computer screen during the live telecast on Fuji TV, Japan)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The REAL Story on Catherine Ndereba's 2012 Olympic Ambitions

I've been reading a lot of blog posts and online articles about Catherine's 2012 Olympic ambitions. Many of the comments just did not sound like anything Catherine would actually say: "Ndereba vows to be the oldest Olympic medalist at 40" or "Ndereba covets Gold....". These just aren't the type of statements that I could ever picture coming from Catherine so I set out to find the REAL answer. 

It may not make for such exciting headlines as some of the others but it goes like this: Someone asked if Catherine planned on retiring soon. Her reply was that she plans on running through the next Olympics if her body stays healthy.

Now that sounds more like the Catherine I've gotten to know over the past fourteen years. I was surprised to see the word "covet" in relation to her; the only time I would ever expect to see that word in the same sentence as Catherine would be if it were in citing a bible passage. It's interesting how things get twisted around for the sake of good headlines. Fortunately, I don't claim to be a "writer" and mostly consider my writings here as thinking out loud. 

(And for the record, when Catherine does run at the Olympics in 2012, she'll be 41!)

Post Yokohama Report

I spoke with Lisa, Catherine's manager, last night. Ahhh, the wonders of the internet! We chatted briefly via facebook before she had to leave for the airport to fly back to Philadelphia. She has been traveling with all of her athletes on and off for the past six weeks and is very anxious to get back home! Catherine will remain in Japan with her coach, Mostafa and travel to Chiba for next weekend's Ekiden. Catherine's husband, Anthony, left Tuesday night (they are 14 hours ahead of where I am in Philadelphia, PA)

Since Catherine had not seen Anthony is many months, I did not want to call her and take up time she could be spending with hubby so I asked Lisa how Catherine was feeling and how she felt the race went. She said Catherine was extremely pleased with her run in Yokohama, especially since she had not been able to conduct her speed workouts in the weeks leading up to the race due to a nagging hip flexor problem. She was being treated for it by her amazing chiropractor (Dr. Johnny King-Marino) and through massage therapy but had to back off of the speed work. I am happy to report, however, that she was pain free throughout the race and feels great afterwards! Many people wonder, and many also ask if she is disappointed if she does not take first place in a marathon, but those who know her know that she is never disappointed as long as she runs well and is healthy. She is always happy for whoever wins and is content to know that whatever happens was Gods plan for that day. This is what attracted me to Catherine's story in the first place. She doesn't just "say" those words; she BELIEVES them and you can tell it is completely genuine! She also never uses excuses and has never dropped out of a race; she listens to her body and adjusts. Rather than look at her hip problem as the reason she did not take first place, she is pleased that she has recovered from a common problem among runners, was able to run well and pain free and still take  third place. Not too shabby in my book! (notice I did not say she didn't "win", I said she did not "take first place" because first, second, third or 100th, she is still a winner in that same book of mine!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yokohama Women's Marathon results

The internet never stops amazing me! Here I was, sitting in my Pennsylvania home, watching the Yokohama Women's Marathon LIVE online via a player called Keyholetv that allowed me to watch the Japanese TV Asahi, while chatting on Facebook with a friend from Chile and talking on the phone to a friend in PA and watching the Pittsburgh Panthers football game on the tv :)  The resolution on the marathon online was not great, and I couldn't understand a word of the commentating, but what was important was that I could actually WATCH Catherine run a race on the other side of the world!

It was an exciting race and for most of it she ran in her usual spot at the back of the pack. It was nice just like Catherine said before going there; the women got all the attention because there were no men so I didn't have to worry that the coverage would focus on the men and not the women's race (which happens all too often!) When the pack broke up, Catherine ran in second behind the Russian Inga Abitova until Japan's Kiyoko Shimahara caught her near the end and Catherine took 3rd. It was great to watch Anthony out there at the finish give her a big hug as always! The photos are not that clear but you can see exactly what I saw on my screen!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yokohama reunion

Catherine, her manager Lisa Buster and her coach El Mostafa Nechchadi all arrived safely in Yokohama earlier in the week in order for Catherine to acclimate to the time zone. Today, her husband, Anthony arrived as he is always there to support her for a marathon. It always amazes me how dedicated he is to her career and what an important part of Catherine's success he has been! He left Kenya on Thursday, arriving in Japan on Friday evening. Before his body adjusts to the time difference, he will be back on a plane on Monday for the long trip back to Kenya. It's quite a long way to go for a weekend! But he would never have it any other way; he re-arranges his work schedule, he misses classes at the university where he is studying at night, and he drags his tired butt across the world because he WANTS to and he loves being Catherine's support. I have spoken with many elite athletes over the past year and there is a common theme whenever I ask what makes them successful and what is most important about being an accomplished athlete. Each and every one has stated that it is a strong support system that is key to their success. Catherine is fortunate to have a rock solid support system in Anthony, Lisa and Mostafa!

Good luck to all the participants on Sunday at the Yokohama Women's Marathon and Go Catherine!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Catherine Ndereba talks about the Bupa Great South Run, her upcoming fall marathon and Ekiden in Japan

Today I spoke with Catherine from her training home in Norristown, PA  about the race she just returned from, the upcoming Yokohama Women's Marathon (November 15, 2009) and the 2009 Chiba International Ekiden (November 23, 2009)

Stefani: How did it go in Portsmouth? (at the Bupa Great South Run)
Catherine: Oh, it went great! It was tough though because of the wind; the wind was too much! I was like so much blown by it {laughs}. The first mile of the race and the last two miles, man, they were like, it was like climbing a hill, and I wasn’t climbing a hill!  Oh, my. By the time I was finished my shoulders were killing me because I was fighting the wind! {laughs} The rest of the days when we (she and manager, Lisa Buster) go there it was warm; warmer than here (Norristown, PA); Thursday, Friday, Saturday it rained, it wasn’t that windy but as it kept on raining it kept on getting windier and windier!
Even in the evening, after the race, when we tried to go out with Lisa around 4 or something, it was so windy I was telling her that I could go with my back looking front the wind was too much!

Stefani: So you were walking backwards?
Catherine: Yeah! It was that much windy!

Stefani: How do you respond when people ask why you didn't win; why you came in 5th?
Catherine: I ran a pace that was within my training schedule; I don't count it like I didn't do great. I am happy with myself and I just know that if it was a day with no wind in my face that I would have run within a good time bracket.

Stefani:  So you ran according to your training for the upcoming marathon.
Catherine: Yes, I started off and it was cold and I was wearing something underneath and I just needed to feel my way with the wind.

Stefani. So are you looking forward to Japan?
Catherine: I’m looking forward to Yokohama Marathon and to the Ekiden (2009 Chiba International Ekiden-November 23, 2009). The Ekiden is my favorite!

Stefani. Why is that?
Catherine: Because it’s FUN! It’s the only time you get to run a full marathon with other people!

Stefani. So you and your team members each run a leg of the race?
Catherine: Yes, It is a lot of fun!

S: The Yokohama Marathon it a Women’s marathon; is there a difference to you if you run a marathon with just women?

C: No, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter but I think running a marathon with just women is unique. I think this is my second marathon that is women only and all other ones are with men too. It’s good though because in doing so the women get all the coverage.

S:  Are you referring to the press truck and how many races only show the men’s race?
C: Yes. This is good for women.

S:  I noticed in Philadelphia that when you and a group broke away from a pack of women that there were a few men that hung around and almost boxed you in; do you feel that in a women’s only race when you break away from the pack that there may be less people running close to you?

C: No, I don’t think about that. As long as someone is not stepping on you, it doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman!

S: How long will you be in Japan?
C: I’m going to be there I think for two weeks. I’m arriving on Tuesday the 10th and am not going home until the 24th.

S: Will Anthony (her husband) be there?
C: Anthony is arriving on the 13th.

S: Will he stay for the Ekiden?
C: No, it will be a very quick trip. He has school. He will miss Friday. He will leave on Thursday night and arrive on Friday and Monday he will leave again. I guess he’s gonna be in the air more than he’s gonna to be in Japan! {laughs}

S. You’re lucky you have such a good supporter!
C: Yes, I thank God for him!

S: Who else is going to Japan?
C: Lisa (Buster)and Mostafa (El Nechchaddi her coach)

S: When you get to Japan, how long will it take you to adjust to the time?
C: Uh, four days is enough. It takes me like a couple days. I don’t let it get to me too much. So when it’s like the morning there, I can make like it’s evening here when I go for my evening run..

S: So now that it’s getting colder here in Philadelphia, does it make you want to go home?

C: I can’t wait to get home! Today Linus (another Kenyan runner who trains in Norristown with Catherine) called me and he was home and I was feeling so happy for him that he was home and I was feeling like it was me that was back in Nairobi!

S: When is the last time you were home?
C: 9th of July. I feel like I’ve been here for a decade! {laughs}

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Become a fan on Facebook!

We now have a fan page on facebook; please click the "become a fan" button on the left of this page and join us! Feel free to pass it along to your friends as well!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


People have been asking me for quite some time now if Catherine will be running a fall marathon and if so, where will she run. I can now officially announce that she will participate in the Yokohama Marathon on Sunday November 15, 2009.  Catherine has a great following in Japan, has always been successful and she enjoys running there.  She will be running against her friend and competitor Constantina Dita who took the gold medal to Catherine's silver in last year's Beijing Olympics. I only wish my budget would allow me to be there to watch but I will have to find a way to view online. If I find a link, I will certainly post it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicago Updates

I'm sure it is obvious how much I loved Chicago but it wasn't just because of the beautiful city! I met great people and was able to get the key interviews that I was there for. It was not easy to nail down the first one but it was sure worth it!

Phil Hersh has been writing about sports and the Olympics for a long time and has followed Catherine's career for many years as well. His schedule is extremely busy, especially having just returned from covering the vote on choosing the location for the 2016 Olympics (where Chicago unfortunately did not win) but he fit us in after the elite athlete press conference for the Chicago Marathon on Friday. His insights on women in distance running and especially his explanation on how he formulates his lists that put Catherine at the number one position of all time female marathoners was very informative!

After the interview I went with Jon to the Health and Fitness Expo where he had a booth to promote his film Spirt of the Marathon. There were many vendors there and I wanted to look around for potential sponsors for the film. The Expo was held all day Friday and Saturday. There was a fair amount of traffic through but Deena Kastor was scheduled to sign autographs at Jon's booth and starting a half hour before, there was a very long line at his booth waiting for her! Many were purchasing a DVD to have signed and some already had a copy. Almost as big a celebrity as Deena was another star of Jon's film, Jerry Meyers who is a 70+ year old man who has completed at least 5 marathons; the first at age 65!
Deena Kastor signing authographs
Spirit of the Marathon stars Ryan & Colleen Bradley talking to Melissa Leggett at the Expo

I spent close to six hours at the Expo and afterwards felt as if I had run a marathon! It was exhausting, however, there were many vendors there and hopefully we'll find some interested parties to help out with the film!
these Injinji performance socks are awesome! They are SO comfy and are made for runners!
And how can you not like a line of clothing called RunGirlRun? These shirts rock!

On Saturday morning we met with Kathryn Switzer. She is an amazing woman who has been a pioneer in women's running since becoming the first woman to officially run in the Boston Marathon in 1967. She was instrumental in getting the women's marathon into the Olympics and she has known Catherine on a personal level for a long time as well. She was fantastic to interview because she has SO much information, is lively, animated, fun and I just loved hearing the personal stories about her and Catherine. This is what is at the heart of this film; many know about Catherine Ndereba's acheivments, but it is "off the field" so to speak that most people do not know her. It is the human and personal side that I want to show the world; not just the running machine that her body has become!

After spending a few hours with Kathryn and she had answered all of my questions, (many of which she even answered before I could ask!), I took an architectural tour via boat and got some beautiful Chicago b-roll! The buildings in this city are truly amazing! views from the boat

Gotta love lighthouses (shame it was so overcast and drizzly)
The race on Sunday morning was c-c-cold! I felt so bad for the runners out there but they seemed to block out the cold and use it in a positive way. Everyone seemed to have a great time running and besides being 33 degrees at the start, it was a gorgeous day! Jon and I scrambled to the finish area to capture the end of the race but since we weren't network we were stationed in a photo corral that didn't give us optimal position. However, I was not there to film the actual race so it was fine!
plenty of potassium for the runners!

After the winners' press conference we were able to talk with the second place winner, Irina Mikitenko. She has won quite a few major marathons in such a short period of time and like Catherine, she is a mother. She was very sweet and fortunately we had an interpreter.

After lunch, I was able to interview Deena Kastor, the top female distance runner in the United States right now. She is so lovely (as was her family who were all there with her) and was also very generous with her time! She has known Catherine for awhile and had some great stories to tell. I really believe that all of the interviews during Chicago will make this a better film!

view from the top of the Chicago Hilton; it was a glorious race day!

On Monday I took some time and went to the Sears Tower (now known as Willis Tower but everyone still refers to it as Sears!). It is amazing what went into the construction of this incredible structure and the view from the top is incredible.views from the top of Sears Tower

I'm sure it would have been even more spectacular if it had been a clear day but even with the clouds it was pretty awesome! After taking in the sights a friend picked me up, we had lunch in the suburbs and then he took me back to Ohare. I really did not want to leave so maybe it was meant to be that the flight was so over booked they needed people to volunteer to be bumped from the flight. I volunteered and got one last night in the windy city! Fortunately, I made it to my hotel in time to see the last part of the Phillies win their playoff game so all was good! That was just the icing on a very good trip!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Today I left gorgeous weather in Philadelphia and arrived in rainy Chicago. An old friend picked me up at the airport and gave me a ride to my hotel (okay, he's going to read this so I will clarify that HE is not old; I've just known him for quite awhile!) Let me first state that Catherine is NOT running the Chicago Marathon this year; I am here because there are 4 people that I want to interview and it was cost effective to be able to get all four in one city rather than have to travel to each individually. Also, Jon is in town promoting Spirit of the Marathon so I didn't have to fly him in to shoot either.

After checking in and grabbing lunch I set out to explore and scout locations to shoot the interviews. I've never been to Chicago before and I am really impressed with the city! Even in the rain it is beautiful! I started at my hotel and walked down to the Hilton which is where the media center for the race is. There are so many parks and so much greenery that it almost makes me feel like I'm not in a city.

It was really cool to see a busy city street right next to a marina and have the cars and boats almost look like they were right next to each other! But, reality soon set in because even though I walked around for several hours looking for the perfect location for one of my upcoming interviews, I wasn't able to find a spot where the constant buzz of city traffic wasn't overwhelming! I'll check out more locations tomorrow when it is light out again and hopefully the rain will end as well.

It is evident that the city is geared up for the marathon on Sunday; there are banners lining the race route and porta-potty's are quite abundant!