Ken wins The Outback Marathon
Former internally displaced orphan from Kenya takes out men’s first spot in The Outback Marathon
After Neville ‘Ken’ Kennedy travelled 10,636 kms from Kenya to compete in the world renowned race in Uluru last weekend, he finished first in near record time. As he crossed the finish line in an emotional display, the runner burst into tears for the mother he lost when he was just 10 years old. He wished she could see him win.
‘I feel I have been dead for the past 25 years, and only now, that I am alive. I feel that I am only one week old (since arriving in Australia) and beginning my life now.’
The journey for the Kenyan school cook at Aberdare Ranges Primary School in Nakaru to Half Marathon winner in Australia is truly remarkable.
With a difficult start to life, Ken was orphaned at a young age, and was then severely impacted by the 2007 Kenyan election violence. He, along with his siblings, watched as their family home was burnt to the ground. This resulted in Ken becoming an IDP (internally displaced person).
10 years on and Ken is now employed by Australasian not for profit organisation So They Can as a cook in the school kitchen, feeding 1080 students each day. After work, he takes off his shoes and runs bare foot for up to 50 kms.
‘Your today determines your future. What I did on Saturday by winning I feel will determine my future. I proved that I can do it.’
Ken is now on track to fulfil his dream of becoming an Olympic athlete, with the assistance of So They Can whose work in conjunction with local Australian law firm, Wotton + Kearney made his trip possible through a combination of crowd funding and direct sponsorship.
Ken is now back in Kenya to commence training for the Standard Chartered Half Marathon in Nairobi in October where he hopes to beat his 65 minute personal best.