Lineth Chepkurui, a two-time Bay to Breakers champion, has agreed to be part of the Daraja Race for 77! Lineth will be partnered with 11th grader Catherine Epur, a 17 year old student from a destitute rural town who has excelled in academics and sports since receiving her four-year high school scholarship two years ago. The two are exchanging communications in order to learn more about one another’s goals, passions and interests.
“I’m so happy to have the great opportunity to run races like this as a professional athlete. So, I am very pleased to be able to run today to help Daraja give Kenyan girls great opportunities, too,” said Lineth.
Lineth will run the 7.4 miles in order to bring awareness to the importance of Kenyan girls’ education. Lineth is from the Kispsigis tribe and Catherine is from the Turkana tribe both in Kenya.
“After the tribal election violence in 2008, sport was used as a way to bring people together,” explains co-founder Jenni Doherty. “Lineth and Catherine have a connection through sport, and we hope that by running in this joint race our Bay Area supporters feel further connected with the girls of Daraja.”
We are thrilled to have world renowned runner and proud Kenyan Lineth Chepkurui as part of the Daraja 77!
On May 15th, Mary P will be participating in the Daraja Race for 77 with her partner Sue August who lives in San Diego. Both of them participating because of their belief in girls’ education. Mary P wrote a mini-autobiography of her life and it reveals the driving force behind the determination of this particular student…
Mary P: In her words…
I am from a family of seven. I have three sisters and two brothers who love me very much. I am the first born in my family. My family is from a Maasai and Kikuyu tribe. My mother is a pure Maasai lady and my father is pure Kikuyu gentleman. My family is gorgeous, fabulous and amazing.
I was brought up in a place called M’aKunan in Dol-Dol district. I went to a nursery school called Kiwanja ndege, near our home. My parents are pastoralists so they kept on migrating from one place to another. Being at a nursery school was hard for me because I could not concentrate on studies. My parents would not allow me to go to school some days. Each time they migrated, I had to change my school and join another one.
Due to drought and other calamities, my parents moved from Dol-Dol to a place called Kimugandura, just a few minutes from Daraja. At Kimugandura, I went to a primary called Olgirgiri. Even though I did not fully understand the purpose of being in school, I had ambition towards it. I started my primary school with hope and hard work. My parents were not educated so they preferred removing me from school to help them do household chores. When I heard them saying that, I didn’t say anything, but stuck to my guns.
When I was in class six, things became harder and harder. My parents were not allowing me to go to school regularly. They would advise me to stay one week and go the next week. If I tried to oppose what they were planning, I could see fire at that time. I was ten years old, and all those experiences I had gone through since I was young inundated my mind. I knew what was right and wrong. My performance at school was very poor. I kept on trying, but I blamed my parents who were trying to remove me from school.
One day I just sat down and thoughts started flowing in my mind. I asked myself many questions that only God could answer. I thought to join a boarding school to minimize all problems that were facing me. I knew nobody would listen to me, but I believed God was my fortress. I decided to tell my mother who was my only hope. She was very glad to hear my suggestion, but she couldn’t afford to take me to a boarding school. She knew a boarding school at Dol-Dol that was controlled and managed by missionaries. My mother took me to that boarding school and asked if I would be allowed to join the boarding without any fee. Fortunately I was permitted to join that boarding school only if I could improve my performance at school. That was easy for me since I loved working hard and I had determination towards my education.
After some months, my performance improved and my teachers were astonished. They all saw my previous school results, which were very poor. I continued my primary school at Dol-Dol. I was competing with boys who were very good at reading. I kept on improving my marks and they were not happy about me. They hated me, but I knew my path was about expressing, exploring, and pursuing, and nobody could shake me.
When I joined class 8, my life was very hard and full of stress all the time. I knew all my classmates would join secondary school except me. I was thinking about it all the time. It disturbed me so much until one day I decided to tell my head teacher who had already started smelling a rat about me. He gave me a lot of encouragement to work hard because there was a girls’ secondary school that is starting at Kimugandura and it was Daraja.
When I heard Daraja would only admit those with 300 marks, it seemed very easy to me since I could score about those marks. I believed in putting my effort on my studies, many girls also heard the good news and they were working hard to join Daraja. We did a national exam. After getting the result, they were…WOW! Those marks determined who I was. I was the first girl with the highest marks at Dol-Dol. All the teachers were very happy about my marks. They knew getting 339 marks was hard work.
Achieving all those marks did not satisfy me since I was not sure if I was joining Daraja School. I knew nobody at Daraja to call through phone. I went back to my head teacher to narrate all my problems to him. He didn’t say anything since I was a hero at his school. He wrote a letter and took me to the administrators at Daraja. When Mr. D read my letter, a lot of happiness showed on his face especially after seeing my marks. I had performed with flying colors. He accepted me to his school where I am now.
I felt like my future had been brightened. I was very happy to join a wonderful school of great and amazing people. Daraja, you are my true love forever! I will make Daraja famous.
Folks, this is a Daraja first. As we began brainstorming ways to fundraise in the Bay Area, we thought “Why not get the girls involved?” Our girls always hear about the fundraising that happens overseas, but this time we wanted them to feel like they can contribute to their school. That’s how the Lap-A-Thon came about, and the girls have heard all about it. They will be running/walking 28 laps, the same distance as the Bay to Breakers race, on the exact same day that our 77 advocates will be running the San Francisco Bay to Breakers marathon. Now, we need you to help them fundraise. How?
The girls are getting updates on the race and listen to what 9th grader Teddy has to say about it! What you are doing is a lot more than just financial support:
You don’t have to be at the race to be part of the Daraja Race for 77. On May 15th, you can cheerlead for the Daraja racers in Kenya and California from anywhere in the world. How? Sign up as a Virtual Cheerleader…
1. Email Racefor77@daraja-academy.org to let us know that you want to be a cheerleader.
2. We will match you with one of the 77 Daraja students. You will receive her picture and biography.
3. We ask that you find 10 people to donate toward your participation in the race. We encourage team members to create an online fundraising page using Crowdrise
.com. Here, you can share why you are so passionate about this project AND we encourage you to share the story of your student.
4. In the week prior to the race date, we will ask participants to fill out a short biography and send a
photo. This will be given to your student on May 15th- when the Daraja students will be running the Lap-A-Thon, the Daraja version of the San Francisco marathon which covers the same distance. Why? Because no one is running alone. We are all one family supporting girls’ education and the power of this special project.
Only 14 cheerleading spots remain…
Don’t think twice about it…Email Racefor77@daraja-academy.org and get matched with your Daraja partner. This is something we want us all to be a part of! Do good, it’ll make you feel good!