For decades the City of Toronto and its surrounding was yearning for a sporting club. Even with the regular community, tourism, business and educational activities, Toronto needed serene sporting club. The launching of CanKen Sports Club in the fall of 2016 was truly a sigh to Toronto residents. "At last, we as a community can enjoy our unity to go out there and get our bodies worked out and our minds refreshed by jogging, running, racing, and networking," said Darlene, a Mississauga resident. CanKen Sports Club is an all-inclusive sporting organization for people of all ages and backgrounds.
From a Tironiin village in Kenya to Toronto, Canada, Eliud Lagat is a man with a giant heart. The tall and slender man envisaged uniting people in his community through a sporting organization. After consulting with his friends, Eliud decided that it was time to bring change for a noble cause through sports to Toronto. He is the brain behind CanKen Sports Club, an organization that aspires to inspire and nurture talent and skill for runners from all backgrounds, and experience. He believes that a community that builds strong relations with its people in any capacity is a distinctive society with a fusion of talents, professionals and hospitality.
As a debutant, Eliud won in his first half marathon in the summer of 2010 at the Toronto Half Marathon and signaled that he was transitioning into road racing. His long awaited quest for successive training and road racing were now a reality. Toronto Half provided all participants a sense of excitement about competing and achieving a life accomplishment experience that paid off in the end. One thing that struck his mind here is the spirit of the fans that continued cheering up and never gave up on him. Thus, in reciprocal, Eliud started CanKen Sports Club, a community-based sporting organization not only to say thank you for supporting him up but also to create something that sort of a unit that binds us all. For his superb win, Eliud was awarded two prizes: a 40 ounce mug and twenty dollars voucher to be dispensed at any city chain stores and outlets.
Journalists swarmed around to interview the winner, while on the sideline were fans requesting for autographs and selfies. It was a moment to exhale! Once in a lifetime is a moment to celebrate, and give thanks for tomorrow is not promised. The privileged to be on top of the world and attaining such honors is magnificent, given the intensity of the course, weather and fellow competitors. Furnished with his voucher, and a mug, Eliud sits in his motel launch to sips a cup of hot tea while reflecting on the future of is athletic career. Many questions popped in his mind; to retire, enter a major race with huge bonus and appearance fee or find a regular job was part of his inner self?
A voucher and a mug as prizes were not sustainable for his livelihood, and family. To win a race involves a lot of sacrifices; being away from family, training intensely daily, and adapting to different climatic conditions and food. A twenty dollar voucher cannot pay his hotel room bill let a lot a refreshing meal after a marathon race. It is humiliating and rather embarrassing especially for any Kenyan professional runner who races, wins overseas and to bring home a mug, just a mere cup.
An athlete who is the role model in the village to many upcoming runners can be ridiculed and reduced to nothingness if they returned home with such prizes. What follow is the heartaches of desperation, anxiety and rejection, by their very own people, for, according to their standards, failing to live up their expectations. In fact, other athletes have had similar incidence, and quietly returned home, faded away into the crowd, and never heard again. In other words, this is an area where race directors and organizers need to focus on.
Prize money should be a bit more meaningful, particularly to invited elite runners, who travel miles to the race. Likewise, it costs more to travel to the race than the prize itself. Thus, it is demoralizing and in fact will cause a negative impact in the sporting world, particularly to the upcoming runners.
His roommate, Paul, advised him to change careers considering low awards in today's demanding life needs, but Eliud stuck to his guts in the hope that his training will certainly yield a win with a high prize. Two years prior, Paul had agreed to take care of his financial responsibilities to allow prepare for city races, and share the bills.
Obviously, I was going to support him once I conquered the roads and other races. Paul quit running citing financial challenges and not being able to support his family in Kenya. As a person, he realized that he had unceremoniously retired from the sport he loved so dearly in order to fend for his life. Eventually, Paul decided to work in factory jobs in order to earn money and live a life.
Like Eliud, most Kenyan runners come from humble backgrounds who seek monetary return on investments from their athletic abilities in order to support themselves and their loved ones. These runners' set big goals, train hard, and prepare well both mentally and physically with a primary aim of succeeding. Importantly, they have mastered the art of teamwork and team training. It is a sure way of building a society and a community full of chain of runners, and a nation of fitness.
Therefore, it is possible to borrow their idea of their long tradition and training culture that is centered on building a community of people who value oneness which is adopted with the spirit of team training. It is evident that they have succeeded in many road races and championships around the world because they value team winning rather than individual titles. Therefore, the Diaspora Kenyans are looking to extend this notion to their new found neighbors and built a community of nations who can win together, in sports competition and healthy and fitness and physical training. They have built an empire of successful chain as a unit of oneness based on this principle. Therefore, CanKen Sports Club look to build a community team, fan base, and athletes combined.
Central to his heart, uniting people in a club presents shared beliefs and values, cooperation, support, and participation of all individuals in fulfilling social and cultural well-being, fitness, talent search and skill development while adding value to the work of others and improving relations to the world.
Thus, rewarding athletes' is the most important milestone in their careers and lives. Athletes from humble beginnings experience a dramatic change of their lifestyle and those around them, while setting benchmarks to the communities they come from. In the end, society will be built by a group of individuals who come together for a common purpose of supporting one another in many capacities. So, Eliud thought about the registration fees that could be used to pay runners well so that they are not ridiculed by societies upon return from their international assignments. Awards of in form of coupons may demoralize athletes and ridicule established runners.
Dr. Ambassador Mama Sarah Obama who is the grandmother of former US president Barack Obama graced the inaugural event as the chief guest. Mama Sarah Obama is the chairperson of Mama Sarah Children Foundation in Kenya, an organization that supports individuals affected by HIV/AIDS pandemic. She is also has helped create awareness of the disease, empower women, and promote youth though her race, Mama Sarah Obama Half Marathon, as well as provide clean water through a well drilling initiative. She interacted with locals and shared her personal experience with the orphanage and the importance of living healthy.