1 year to all in 

April 24th, 2017 . This was the date I first boarded a plane to Kenya. 

Nervous, excited, scared. I really was not sure what to expect, but for sure I never expected this…

Fast forward one year, and this week I make my 8th visit to Kenya to support the 100,000 school meal drop in Kerio Valley. During this stay, I will also be meeting potential new athletes for my running team, coaches, checking on the progress of the guest houses we have built for tourists and fellow running fanatics / well wishers,  and having chai tea with house hold names in the sport of running. 

This week also marks the week that I announced I shall leave my full time position at Holmes Place in Germany, to concentrate fully on CoopsRun . I can’t believe I am even writing this ! 

I’d like to hope that this post reaches someone out there and inspires them too to follow their dreams

I have learned a lot in the past 12 months, but two that are relevant to this post would be 

  1. You never know what amazing things can happen outside of your comfort zone 
  2. Anything is possible with the right focus and work ethic 

It’s not come easy. I sacrificed all my holiday to make the visits to Africa, to document to the world my intentions, build trust with my followers and build connections with key people. I spent every spare cent I had re investing into the bigger picture, and I gave up a social life by replacing it with building a community on Instagram whilst others are out in bars with friends. 

From 600 followers to a combined 47,000 on Instagram, and 100,000 school meals in 12 months I can honestly say it was worth it. 

As for now, to launch CoopsRun as a management group and professional running team and to have left my well paid full time role as a General Manager I take the next risk, and probably the biggest in my life. Again on April 24th, I find myself nervous, excited and scared. 

Thanks for your support over the last 12 months, and here’s to 365 more ‘out of comfort zone’ days. 

Chris 

Why CoopsRun

Initially on Instagram, @coopsrun was the account that I used to express myself. 

I’m a creative type, and with a head full constantly I found using Instagram to share my feelings, thoughts and ideas a good way of getting things off my chest. 

Clearly things grew in the last twelve months because of the public interest in my social projects in East Africa. From 600 followers to 27,000 , I slowly realized that I had ‘something’ special in not only Runners Heal – but also documenting the journey. 

Instagram has allowed me to give back in more ways than I could have ever dreamt of. One year into Runners Heal and we are next week delivering our 100,000 school meal in Kenya. But not only from a social perspective, have I profited. 

The friends I have made in Kenya, introduced by Runners Heal, have opened new doors for me. One being Athletics. Never did I ever intend to work officially in the sport. Seeing elite runners was just something I enjoyed on the TV at major marathons or Olympics – but all of a sudden I find myself in the thick of it. 

That hasn’t come completely as a a positive, mind you. Being closer to athletics has opened my eyes to a different perspective on the sport – a ruthless one. Perhaps my naivety, but previously I had Athletics in my mind as a joy to watch athletes fly on the roads and end the races with huge smiles on their faces – seeing the outcome of extreme talent matched with ethic. What I didn’t ever consider, was the “business” behind the scenes of the sport, and as we all know – where Business is involved, things often become less so joyful. 

There’s corruption. Enhancing drugs. Ruthless agents, and stories of athletes being heavily mistreated – as if they are almost a product on the shelves, tossed into sale basket when a newer model is launched. 

Not all guys are bad guys in the sport, don’t get me wrong. But I have heard of too many situations that personally I felt uncomfortable with, and with my business background, Marketing skill set and general people management skills I thought I would throw my hat in the ring and offer my assistance to athletes who could perhaps benefit from my assistance as they attempt to be the next Mary Keitany’s of the world. 

It’s an uphill task, I know that. In its early days it has caused me stress, dealing with some rather ‘different’ (put politely) characters – but it’s a challenge that I am excited about. And this blog will be my platform to share with you my journey, their stories, progression, highs and lows, and who knows – perhaps success stories in the future. 

Chris 

Why I’m flying to Kenya for 1 day

15 hours there – 9 hours in Kenya – 15 hours back 

It’s probably my craziest travel schedule to date, and certainly the longest I have travelled for a meeting – but I am hoping it shall be worth it.

I’m writing this post on Sunday 28th January. Tomorrow, I have a meeting with the Kenyan Athletics Federation regarding my application for a license to represent athletes. 

Whilst Runners Heal is my core focus, I can’t help but feel that I have something to offer aspiring athletes – and that building a brand off the track for these guys will not only benefit their careers, but also my ambitions in humanities in East Africa. 

So yes it’s a long day. But fingers crossed, it’s a worth while visit and the Kenyan’s are impressed in my final interview ! 

Wish me luck ,

Chris