As soon as professional runner and reigning Bay to Breakers champion Lineth Chepkurui agreed to be part of the Daraja Race for 77, there was one thing she wanted to do right away: Write a letter to her partner Catherine. Catherine is an 11th grade student at Daraja Academy who has excelled in academics and athletics since receiving her four year scholarship in 2009. She recently competed in Kenya’s national athletic tournament and currently holds the position as a Daraja Academy prefect given her exemplary behavior as a student. During the Daraja Lap-a-thon, Catherine ran extra laps to motivate the students that were struggling…a true Daraja girl.

Despite Lineth’s busy schedule traveling around the world, she wrote a letter to Catherine in just a few days. Both Lineth and Catherine have agreed to have their initial letters to one another. See the beginnings of a special friendship below…

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Dear Cate,

My name is Lineth Chepkurui from Kenya Bomet District. Am an athlete working with the Kenya Air Force. I came to know you through your sponsors: we met at USA in a race called Bay to Breakers in San Francisco, I was the defending Champion and your Sponsors were racing too to raise money for Daraja Academy students. I too was once a student and being a student is quite challenging especially in our country and some other countries where there is poverty.

Cate, my encouragement to you is that one thing in life for one to be a successful student, is being DISCIPLINED. Our motto in high school was “Self discipline is the key to success” which is very true with my experience. God has opened the first gate for you, Cate. I was a talented athlete when I was in high school but due to lack of exposure I could not go far. You are an athlete too so make use of you talent wisely, it will take you far. In school I used to like sports, mostly athletics but my school used to value academics so I had too little time for sports. I could not miss games lessons and I could do well in class too. Overall in academics, my aim was to go up to degree level in medical field of studies, but I lacked school fees.

After school I had to think otherwise for life to continue, because I came from a family of five children, brought up by single parent ‘mum’ and life was not easy because we were all in school. Without wasting time I started training as an athlete and God helped me to this far, I went through hardship – “long story” – but I