As soon as professional runner and reigning Bay to Breakers champion Lineth Chepkurui agreed to be part of the Daraja Race for 77, there was one thing she wanted to do right away: Write a letter to her partner Catherine. Catherine is an 11th grade student at Daraja Academy who has excelled in academics and athletics since receiving her four year scholarship in 2009. She recently competed in Kenya’s national athletic tournament and currently holds the position as a Daraja Academy prefect given her exemplary behavior as a student. During the Daraja Lap-a-thon, Catherine ran extra laps to motivate the students that were struggling…a true Daraja girl.
Despite Lineth’s busy schedule traveling around the world, she wrote a letter to Catherine in just a few days. Both Lineth and Catherine have agreed to have their initial letters to one another. See the beginnings of a special friendship below…
My name is Lineth Chepkurui from Kenya Bomet District. Am an athlete working with the Kenya Air Force. I came to know you through your sponsors: we met at USA in a race called Bay to Breakers in San Francisco, I was the defending Champion and your Sponsors were racing too to raise money for Daraja Academy students. I too was once a student and being a student is quite challenging especially in our country and some other countries where there is poverty.
Cate, my encouragement to you is that one thing in life for one to be a successful student, is being DISCIPLINED. Our motto in high school was “Self discipline is the key to success” which is very true with my experience. God has opened the first gate for you, Cate. I was a talented athlete when I was in high school but due to lack of exposure I could not go far. You are an athlete too so make use of you talent wisely, it will take you far. In school I used to like sports, mostly athletics but my school used to value academics so I had too little time for sports. I could not miss games lessons and I could do well in class too. Overall in academics, my aim was to go up to degree level in medical field of studies, but I lacked school fees.
After school I had to think otherwise for life to continue, because I came from a family of five children, brought up by single parent ‘mum’ and life was not easy because we were all in school. Without wasting time I started training as an athlete and God helped me to this far, I went through hardship – “long story” – but I thank God for coming this far in life, successfully.
I didn’t forget my family, I had to sacrifice the little amount of money that I earned from running, in order to educate my brother who joined Baraton University. He graduated last year with a degree in Literature and now he is Pursuing a masters degree at Maseno University. I stabilize the rest of the family to a better living standards, because mum had exhausted all the resources to pay our school fees.
Cate, it doesn’t matter the situation you are now, thank God he has open the first gate for you and he will continue to open the rest and one day one time you will bring light to your family and the community. Pray God, be a good girl, let discipline take the lead and you will be successful. Am happy to know you as my little sister, as well as your sponsors. I hope and believe that some day I’ll see you face to face.
Thank you, Cate, and to your sponsors too for letting me know you and for their good work at Daraja Academy. I wish you and your fellow students a successful and a happy life.
Hello, how are you? I am fine. I was glad and overwhelmed when I received your letter.
I am from a family of six children, the second born. My background story is quite painful to tell, but since I am a woman of strength, integrity and hope I am not ashamed to share my past with you. I was brought up in family where it was hard to meet the basic needs. Dad was the only one working as a driver and his salary was little.
In 2000, I joined primary school near our village, a thirty-minute walk from our home. Studying was quite hard because back at home there is no paraffin, so I would go to school early or to stay back at school so that I could finish it. But this was still tough because I always had to go home in order to fetch water.
One of the hardest times I had in primary was in class eight. I was in a class of 21 boys and five girls. I was stressed not knowing where I would be after school. I wished I had a sponsor just like my fellow pupils. But my imagination was in vain. But one thing that really inspired me was the effort that my parents were giving me.
In 2008, I did my K-C-P-E exam and I managed to be among the top three in my class. Two boys were ahead. I was happy celebrating my success with my family as well as sad, because I still didn’t have any idea where I would be. Early 2009, I heard the former Baraka school had become a girls secondary school for girls who cannot afford it. I was so happy that I quickly applied for a place as a Form One student. To my surprise I was among the students. Surely until today I don’t know how to express how happy my family was, personally I cried. And I knew that God had answered my prayers. And here today I am working, hoping to see the light and change of my family.
Three years are about to end being in high school and you have said that being a student is quite challenging I agree with you dear. Failing examination is one of my biggest challenges in school especially when I have studied for the subject, it is painful to see my effort in vain.
Here at school I love sports from the bottom of my heart. It has been one of my favorite things since I was in primary school. I love football, volleyball and athletics. On May 11th, I was at provincial level in a place called Iten and I managed to be position four in long jump and now I am preparing for the ball games.
I am one of the LUCKIEST LADIES to have people like you and my sponsors in my life. You have really changed my life, the way I see things through your support. One of the favorite quotes that has helped me get through life is that MANY OF THE LIFES FAILURES ARE THOSE PEOPLE WHO DID NOT REALIZE HOW CLOSE THEY WERE TO SUCCESS WHEN THEY GIVE UP.
Much gratitude to you Lineth, through your letter you have acted as a role model to me. I hope to see you face to face since I have much to share with you.
Daraja, as the name suggests, means been a bridge. It is a bridge for me to know people like you who are amazing.
Loving & Smiling,