Colorado Springs runners work together to make a difference

UCCS runners working on raising money for students in Kenya. UCCS Cross Country and Track Team

The UCCS Cross Country and track teams hope to lift children in Kenya out of poverty by improving their educational opportunities. That’s why they created a non-profit organization called the Harambee Foundation.

Harambee means pulling together for a common purpose and the track and cross country runners at UCCS are working together to help make a difference in a village in Kenya.

For the few years, the cross country and track athletes from UCCS visit Kenya to train.

“It was a great opportunity to train with the best and learn from the best,” Luke Dakin, runner and Graduate student at UCCS.

After their first trip they wanted help the village, so they started the Harambee Foundation.

“Most families do not have enough to send their kids to school,” David Kimiyo, UCCS Runner from Kenya. “Some families have six to 10 kids and maybe having four kids in high school is too expensive for a family to have,” Kimiyo.

Their goal is to raise money so kids have the opportunity to go to high school.

“Putting a kid through high school can change the life of an entire family because that kid can get a job they wouldn’t normally be able to get, and it lifts that entire family out of poverty,” Dakin said.

And during their trip they met a kid named David Kimiyo who took them on all their runs so they wouldn’t get lost.

“A couple years later, here we are, we were able to bring him to school with us at UCCS,” Dakin said.

“Coming over to America might be the best opportunity for me because it’s hard in Kenya to do school while running, its either you do school or do running,” Kimiyo said.

David says he loves running and hopes to be in the Olympics one day.

“This is my simple thing I try to do, when I am in class, I forget about running. When I am running I forget about class,” Kimiyo said.  “It might be weird, but that’s what I live on,” he said.

So far, they’ve raised over 50,000 dollars and have sponsored 26 kids to go to high school.

“We eventually would like to get to the point where in this small village every kid has the opportunity to go to high school,” Dakin said.

But that’s not all they do.

“We also help out an orphanage we own cattle, we milk cows,” Mark Misch, Men’s Cross Country and Track Coach at UCCS said. “I think we have sent over close to 4,000 pounds of resources and books, shoes clothes on top of just sponsoring the kids,” he said.

Now, they will be hosting a fundraiser race this Saturday in Monument called Four Miles for Kenya.

It starts at 8:30 a.m. You can sign up here.

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