About the Founder and President
Eliud Lagat was born in Tironiin village in the greater Nandi County in Kenya. Nandi County prides itself as the Source of Champions. Majority pioneers of Kenya's distance running such as Dr. Kipchoge Keino and Sabina Chebichii come from this County. Other notables include super Henry Rono, the man who set four world records within a span of eighty one days, a feat that is unparalleled to date. At the same time, the County has continued to produce enormous talents that include the current fastest marathoner in the world, Eliud Kipchoge.
Eliud was raised in humble beginnings: in a society where social responsibilities are highly valued. Tasks are shared collectively while traits such as hard-work and discipline are encouraged. These attributes have helped propelled and charted Eliud's pathway to success. Financial constraints that faced his family did not hinder his capability from achieving his potential as a runner. In fact, he turned it into an opportunity by taking up sports and setting his eyes on the prize. He acknowledges that every challenge presents an opportunity for one to confront. Indeed, to succeed in athletics, one needs focus, discipline and hard-work.
Life in the village is simple and easy. Everyone knows their neighbor and their close ally. Children play together, eat together, go to school together, and celebrate together. End year festivities such as weddings, and other ceremonies are village-driven. Residents are small scale farmers who raise domesticated animals. Communal principles, undertakings, and lifestyle are valued, rewarded and appreciated. Thus, families' team up to cultivate plants and harvest crops during respective seasons. Certain tasks are gender-based.
For example, boys are responsible for herding cows, goats and sheep while girls are charged with collecting firewood, fetching water and laundry. Schools, institutions and administrative offices are on average located at least five kilometers away.
Literally, students, especially those in primary school run to and from school in the morning, for lunch and back to school and then back home in the evening. Precisely, primary school students cover at least fifteen kilometers per day making round trips to and from school. However, most high schools students' board and live in within the institution itself. Basically, the eight years of primary school and home chores have definitely prepared students athletically.
The once self-coached runner succeeded in his first quest at international assignments. His humble upbringing and the thought of running a training camp to tap, harness talent and help upcoming athletes especially those faced with financial constraints will be beneficial to society. The astute and soft spoken man is the brains behind CanKen Sports Club, an organization that aspires to inspire and nurture talent and skill for runners from all backgrounds, and experiences. His vision is to create a community that builds relations with her people who are united with a common purpose of exercise and health living.
Eliud comes from a family of runners in his blood line. For example, his mother participated in the then community age-based sports known as Michezo wa Raiya. Michezo wa Raiya is literally translated as adult sports that were meant to promote unity and social relations, strengthen health lifestyles and business among all adults. Eliud's mother won the one mile event at the national championships. She received three prizes: a wall clock, a blanket, and Kenya shillings (KSH) one hundred. One hundred KSH is equivalent to one US dollar and was billed to sustain a family for up to a month in those days.
In 1990s, two of his neighbors made it to the national and international stage after winning in big road races. They become the headlined stories carried by local newspapers and global news. Instantly, their lifestyles and those of their families changed completely. Eliud's morale increased, while his adrenaline rose at the same time as a sign of optimism; that, his life too, can change instantaneously.
Suddenly, the memories of his mother's national title reinforced his ambitions. Eliud maintains that to be a successful runner, an individual must train in a team with the best. Basically it is at the training camp that he learnt the importance of team training as a vital component in distance running. It is absolutely true phenomenon during a long run session when an athlete is fatigued, and his/her training partner is able to help offset the alternating pace, and share pace strategy.
During one of his hard training sessions, Eliud thought about his childhood hunting life. As a young man, he owned a very brilliant hunting dog named Chui. Chui demonstrated a unique smelling instinct. This dog could smell its prey miles away, but was deficient in speed and endurance. However, John, his best friend and hunting mate owned a faster dog. On the onset, both dogs formed a titanic hunting team: one with superior sense of smell, and the other with speed and endurance. Ultimately, Eliud and John were guaranteed a return on their hunting investment. It is said, it takes a village to raise a child. Indeed, it took Eliud and John and their dogs to feed the village with some wild meat.
Years later Eliud had transformed himself into a world class athlete. He acknowledged that specializing in a track event could separate him, place him on top, and make him dominant. An essential specialized event-based training was needed. Eliud sought the help from a coach to polish his skills. As a result of limited specialized coaches, Eliud was willing to race in any event, given that he succeeds. In 2006, Eliud won the 1500m race in his first international appearance in Europe, which became the climax of his athletic career.
Now racing around the world and gaining experience, Eliud was also focused on one important milestone: his educational journey. He was saving his winnings so that he can pay his education and also help his family members, friends and society. Eliud agrees that athletic life span is not lifetime, and so he wants something sort of a fallback after active sport.
Hence, Eliud joined Brown College where he participated in both Cross Country and Track & Field while representing Ontario during the Canadian Collegiate Athletics National Championship. Subsequently, he is combining athletic discipline to help society, and also reaching out to those who are limited to opportunities and resources to pursue their potential using their talents and skills. Currently, he volunteers at the Goodlife Fitness in Toronto, and Scotiabank Marathon in encouraging the youth to become active and to take up sports as a professional or for health and fitness.
In the end, like any other entity, to improve in sports, team training builds strong alliances that last a lifetime. Therefore, Eliud aspires, to share his rich knowledge, experience and skills to communities around the world. CanKen Sports Club's vision replicates just that. It is here where we can come together, nurture talent, and inspire the next generation of runners. Join us!