My journey to tell the story of how World Champion Kenyan marathon runner Catherine Ndereba has inspired many through her running and how her faith has guided her. This story will explore the many ways she stands as a role model for Kenyan women and girls and how she inspires others to pursue their education and dreams and not be bound by the traditional role women have been bound to in Kenya.
Check back often as I'm sure the scope of this will change and evolve through time.
I finally spoke with Catherine; I hadn't spoken to her since the New Year because I knew how busy she was with the holidays. She reported that she enjoyed Christmas and was even able to spend time with Anthony after fulfilling her official Olympic Committee duties of receiving the Queen's Relay Baton at the airport in Nairobi. The trip to Mombasa to pass the Baton on to the President was only a day trip so she was back that evening. Even though she wasn't able to spend Christmas with her whole family as she usually does, she said she was able to see some family for New Years Eve and had a nice New Year!
I asked her about the football tournament she sponsored in Nyeri and she was very happy that the tournament was going well and that she would be appearing at the finals to watch and present the winner with a trophy!
I then asked how her running was going and how she is feeling and she is feeling great and reports that she just received her training program from her coach, Mostafa Nechchadi and that now it is time to get back to "serious" training! She always runs, but when she is not in training for a specific marathon she trains much easier and runs to stay fit and keep her body healthy. Now that we are approaching spring (and I know many of us can't wait for the cold to let up!), she will begin following her designated program to get ready for a spring marathon. Hopefully I'll be able to post just where she may be running soon!
So things are good back in Kenya with Catherine. Her daughter is back at boarding school and she is very happy to have her adorable (and I mean ADORABLE) neice, Ruth, back at her house while her sister, Anastasia, trains for her post as a prison guard. It is very sad for the children of women who take jobs with the prisons, police or military because they have to go off to college and train for six to nine months and then they have to be posted at a location where they continue their job training. During this time they rarely see their family and if they have young children it can be very difficult.
Ruth & Anastasia get some rare time togther at the Prison Championships last May
Since Ruth's preschool is near Catherine's home, it is better for the child to stay with her while Anastasia is working several hours away. Like Catherine, Anastasia is a runner and being employed by the prisons will give her the opportunity to earn a living as well as run just as it does for her sister and other athletes in Kenya. Many people take for granted the time they are able to spend with their children but there are some places where the sacrifice is great for being able to have a career. You will see evidence of this with Catherine and her daughter Jane in the film when it is finished.
When I spoke to Catherine she was in great spirits and was sounding like a proud Aunt; she had just taken Ruth to her very first day of what she called "baby school" and she was describing how she took a photo of Ruth from her cell phone and had made it her new screen saver/background! I asked her to send me a copy but she didn't know how and hopefully Anthony will help her do it so I can see! (Ruth is now 2 1/2 yrs old)
Catherine & Ruth 5/2009
Stay tuned for a post on where Catherine's next marathon will be.......