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The Kenyan Athletics Training Academy in Thika just launched today the KATA hunger project helping potential pro runners from poor families

KATA (Kenyan Athletics Training Academy) announced today (Oct 4, 2022) it has launched a new project.  The KATA Hunger Project is going to help potential Pro runners from poor families.  Additionally the project will help struggling women farmers to be better more efficient farmers year around.   

"Our Kenya Fresh Farm Hunger Project (KATA Hunger Project) is going to provide 8.8 pounds (four kilos) of home-grown fresh fruits and vegetables weekly to Kenyans in Need for 13 weeks," says KATA director Bob Anderson, MBR publisher and founder of Runner's World Magazine (1966-1984). 

Bob and his wife Catherine built and financed the Kenya Athletics Training Academy located in Thika Kenya.  The 23- room academy was officially opened Sept 4, 2021.  

KATA is a one-of-a-kind facility and its focus is on training runners to become pro runners.  KATA does not manage runners and does not ask its athletes to share any of their prize money.  

Kenyan athletes are not charged to live, eat and train at KATA.  "We mostly seek out runners who need our help," says head coach Joseph Ngure, a senior coach with over 30 years of experience.

As an example, Peter Njeru Mwaniki was one of the first potental pro runners who came to KATA for help.  His family did not believed he could make distance running a career. They basically kicked him out of their house.  He then moved in with his brother but that was not working either.  

“He had run a 32:30 10k but his hope of making a career out of running was slim," says coach Joseph. "We took him in, feed him and trained him.  Within just a few weeks we knew he had great potential."  

On Oct 2, 2022 Peter won the Telesia half marathon in Italy clocking 1:00:29.  It was a good pay day for Peter and his new KATA family made it happen for him.  "We are very proud of Peter and all our KATA athletes," says Bob.

"It would be almost impossible to train hard without enough to eat," says KATA manager Florence Kimiti, as a junior ran 1:59 for 800m. "A 32:30 10k is not bad for a recreational runner but not for a pro runner.  A lot of Kenyans make a living from distance running, the most famous being Eluid Kipchoge who is making millions for his efforts.  He is our hero. The goat."

Peter will be running several more races in Italy before coming back to KATA to keep up his training and to help support our Kenya Fresh Farms Hunger Project. 

"All KATA athletes staying at our academy put in 20 hours per week of work," says operations manager Elam Wangwero, a top runner himself and who have known Bob and Catherine since 2014. 

"The work might be cleaning, painting, working on My Best Runs website (posting results, checking links, photos, etc) and now KATA Hunger Project.  But of course the training always comes first along with three meals daily."

"It seems to me that doing something other can training, eating and sleeping is helping our athletes run so well," says Bob. "So much of running is mental and you need a sharp mnd." 

"Without the support of KATA,"wrote Peter from Italy, "my dream would not have come true.  I am feeling the happiest ever.  I never thought of running such a time at this age."    

The KATA Hunger Project was officially started August 1, 2022 but unofficially started in 2020.  "Since we are going to provide home-grown fresh fruits and vegetables for our potential pro runners we needed to set up our own farm," says Florence.

Bob leased two acres of land outside of Embu on August 1.  It was idle land but it did have 40 fruits trees (banana and mango) that just needed care.  Additional land can be easily leased when needed.  

Vegetable beds at KATA's Fresh Farm have already been planted.  "We dug a well for water, we set up solar and are building a barn, thanks to Brock Hinzmann (2:19 marathoner back in the 80’s and 90’s) contribution," says Florence.

Runners can also train with the team by just coming to KATA and soon other locations.  And when approved, will be given four kilos of Fruits and vegetables at the end of the week starting Dec 23.  After or during the 13-week program the athletes with the most potential will be asked to live at KATA at no expense for them.

Potential pro runners outside of Kenya will be able to join the program starting November 1, 2022.  "Our guest runners will receive all the benefits as our Kenyan athletes," says Bob.  "Same food, same training, same duties with one difference. Our guests can have their own room."

Minimum stay is one month.  Cost which covers everything is $1000 not including airline ticket and visa.  

"A single month is not a lot of time," says coach Joseph, "but at least you will see what we do here.  Our program is more than going for runs and doing some speedwork.  We can get you ready to set new PR's."

"Our KATA Hunger Project is a keeper.  We want to reach a lot of Kenyans in need but we need your help," says Catherine.  "This is how the program works: for every one US dollar contributed, one pound of home-grown Fresh fruits and vegetables will be provided to a Kenyan in Need.  8.8 pounds weekly."

"There is so much talent here in Kenya," says Elam. "I am glad Bob and Catherine have set up these programs.

(10/04/2022) Views: 616 ‚ö°AMP
by Lisa Wall
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