Kenya — Running the Race
Dr. Amy Powell
I'm here with Running the Race (running2win.org), a Christian non-profit organization charged with helping underserved athletes in Kenya. The organization was founded by Dr. Jeremy Henrichs (team physician at the University of Illinois) who was the other MD on the trip. It was his 6th trip to Iten and his 3rd with an organized team of MDs/PTs/ATCs. We were joined by Tyler Brucker, ATC, also from Illinois, and two physical therapists based at Kijabe Hospital near Nairobi (Ken Kangani and Sherri Letchford).
We were based in Iten, Kenya, which is a high altitude training base for most elite Kenyan runners (and many from other countries, too). We held clinics each afternoon at Iten District Hospital, and were honestly astounded by the need. Most runners were training to try to support their families financially. Many were running 200 km/week or more in really beat up shoes. Many were sending money home instead of eating. The "elite" (elite has a different definition here) runners you see in some of my photos are a small subset of the larger group- the majority of runners here are really struggling. Very few get sposorships/shoe contracts.
We also taught a coaches workshop and held two clinics in Eldoret, a larger city with equally underdeveloped sports medicine care. There is so much need here. Fortunately, our host physician, Dr. Castro Mugalla, has recently been granted tentative permission from the Kenyan government to pursue sports medicine fellowship training (likely in the US) and will return home to train his colleagues to provide sports medicine care to his athletes in Iten. He will be the first sports medicine physician in Kenya, and hopes to start a fellowship here. There are 800-1200 runners training in Iten alone, so he is very much needed.