Team Kenyafornia

November 29, 2013

After a tense few days I’m pleased to report that Japhet and Shadrack received their visas. As I write this, the guys are in the air somewhere over northern Africa. They change planes in London late tonight and are scheduled to land in San Francisco around 2pm on Saturday, November 30. A big thanks to everyone who helped, including the great staffers for Representative Pelosi, Ambassador Godec and the US Embassy Nairobi consular team. It came down to the wire but everything worked out.

Below, events that Japhet and Shadrack will be taking part in ahead of the California International Marathon on December 8th. Please join us! Email me if you'd like to come. We’ll also be posting photos and updates to twitter at @conyersdavis #kenyafornia.

A huge thank you once again for all your support. It's great to have you on Team Kenyafornia!

Sunday, December 1
San Francisco Fun Run hosted by the Dolphin Club
3:00pm – 5:00pm
The Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club
502 Jefferson St
San Francisco, CA 94109

Fun run from Aquatic Park to Fort Point and back (approx. 7 miles) followed by a pasta and ugali supper in the Club House. Space is limited. Please email if you are interested in attending.

Thursday, December 5
Exhibit S hosts “Harambee: Meet Japhet and Shadrack”
6:00pm – 9:00pm
Exhibit S (next to Forever 21)
Downtown Plaza
Sacramento, California 95814

Exhibit S, Sacramento’s cutting edge creative hub and art gallery, will be welcoming Japhet and Shadrack to Sacramento with a party. Please join us to enjoy Kenyan food and a hosted beer and wine bar. If you would like pick up your copy of “Running with the Kenyans” at this event, please email me.

Saturday, December 7
Pre-Marathon Tune Up Run
8:00am – 9:00am
Guy West Bridge
949 University Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95825

Join Japhet and Shadrack for a short morning run along the American River Bike Trail. Nothing too intense, just an opportunity to stretch your legs ahead of the California International Marathon on Sunday. If you would like to collect your copy of “Running with the Kenyans” at this event please email me.

Kenya’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations hosted by Ushirika Kenya Inc.
5:00pm – 12:00am
Rancho Cordova City Hall
2729 Prospect Park Drive
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

2013 is the 50th of Anniversary of Kenyan Independence. Ushirika Kenya Inc. has organized a golden jubilee celebration to mark the occasion. Japhet and Shadrack will join at the top of the event before heading home to rest up for the California International Marathon. For more information please visit:

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone on this beautiful fall evening. We began today with 28,000 other runners at 20th Annual Run to Feed the Hungry in Sacramento, and we are heading off to dinner soon. We hope everyone has had a fun, happy day with their loved ones.

We wanted to provide a quick update on the status of our two Kenyan runners, Japhet Koech and Shadrack Chepyego. They’re in Nairobi, with tickets to fly on Saturday, November 30 to California. The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi has not, however, released their visas or passports – in spite of the guys having interviewed with consular officials two weeks ago. Rep. Pelosi’s office has been very helpful, and we are working every other angle we can think of – but it really comes down to the embassy giving them the documents in time to catch their flight. It’s an incredibly frustrating situation, and we hoping for a swift resolution.

We’ll be posting updates to twitter (@conyersdavis)…we hope you will follow, re-tweet and support this important leg of the Kenyafornia story.

Thank you for everything and have a very happy Thanksgiving!

October 15, 2013

Thank you for helping us reach our initial goal! The outpouring of support has been inspiring and overwhelming.

But please don’t stop giving! $6,000 is a minimum estimated amount to cover Japhet and Shadrack’s costs in December. We will use any additional funds to pay for unexpected costs that arise from their visit.

Anything in addition to that will go into a fund to help other talented Kenyan runners race in the United States.

In kind donations are also appreciated. If you wish to make an in kind donation please drop me a line.

Thank you for your generosity in helping these athletes get to the starting line of the California International Marathon.

Thank you!

For most marathon runners, getting to the starting line is as easy as plugging a credit card number into a website…$100 or so well spent. But for many of the world’s best emerging runners, the cost is so high that they’ll never make it—without our help.

If you’re a runner or follow running, you already know about the Kenya phenomenon. If you’ve read the fantastic book "Running with the Kenyans" by Adharanand Finn you also know about Japhet Koech, 26 and Shadrack Chepyego, 25. These guys have times that would make them international athletes almost anywhere else in the world. But because Kenya produces so many amazing runners (read the book!) they haven’t had the chance to compete in the United States.

Japhet and Shadrack are really fast (they've both run the Lewa marathon, one of the world's most difficult, in under 2 hours 30 minutes) but they’re poor. Shadrack’s parents are subsistence farmers and Japhet lives in a modest home without electricity or running water on the edge of Iten, Kenya. In spite of these challenges, they’ve dedicated their lives to running—with the hope of competing internationally.

The California International Marathon (CIM) is that opportunity. For those not familiar with the CIM, it is an annual race that runs from Folsom to Sacramento, CA. This year's is scheduled for Sunday December 8, 2013 and you can help Japhet and Shadrack compete in it. The Sacramento Running Association, organizers of the CIM, have recognized Japhet and Shadrack as elite athletes and graciously waived their entry fee.

Now, with your help, we can get them to the starting line.

Because if we’re going to compete—shouldn’t we compete against the best?

"My friends will be so excited if I get to race in California, because, you know, when you experience success, it is not just for you, but for everyone. In this life, it is always good to share." - Japhet Koech

We’re looking for 250 generous people to donate at least $26 dollars each ($1 per marathon mile), to meet the $6,500 goal. Please give!

$4,200 for economy airfare roundtrip, Nairobi to San Francisco

$700 for visas

$700 for hotels

$400 for meals and incidentals

$500 for new running clothes and shoes

GRAND TOTAL: $6,500 ($3,250 per athlete)

As a special thanks those who donate $52 or more will receive a copy of "Running with the Kenyans", signed by Japhet and Shadrack.

The photographs used on this website were taken by Marietta d'Erlanger and Adharanand Finn.

Thank you very much!

Conyers Davis

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