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Big Red in Kenya

Thursday, July 30, 2009


After making a splash at the NCAAs in Arkansas with two All-American performances last weekend, it's on to Kenya, where the 'Big Red Travel Team' will launch projects designed to bring opportunities to Kenyan youth and their families.

The mission will be overseen by Kevin Thompson, both the Executive Director of Cross World Africa, Inc., and an assistant coach with the Cornell track and field program. "CWA is trying to fill in the gaps left after the recent upheaval in Kenya and provide opportunities for youth in East Africa," Thompson said. Cross World Africa began as the Kip Keino Foundation USA, named for the philanthropist who launched the Kenyan running explosion with his 1968 gold medal performance in the 1,500-meter run.

The travel team will include Coach Nathan Taylor, former Heps champions Aaron Merrill and Adam Seabrook and Emory Mort, a former standout distance runner for the Big Red. The three former runners will be providing SAT and college preparedness training to more than 40 Kenyan youth with the help of the Let's Get Ready SAT program and the folks at

Also joining the CWA Team will be Staten Island News reporter and photographer Derek Alvez and University of New Orleans Assistant Professor Michelle M. Thompson. Dr. Thompson will focus on visiting identified women-owned micro-finance projects focused on agri-business in Kapsabet and Eldoret, Kenya. In addition, Dr. Thompson will meet with Mayor Sammy Ruto to discuss expansion of the Ithaca-Eldoret Sister City formed in 2007. The photo above came from Kip Keino's 2007 visit to Ithaca, where a mile run was established in his honor.

Eldoret is also the location where Shoe4Africa is working to build a children' hospital. The Ivy League athletes partnered with Shoe4Africa at Indoor Heps in 2007, bringing used shoes that would later be delivered to aspiring runners in Kenya.

For more information on Coach Thompson's Cross World Africa, Inc., please click here.

To read the Cornell Chronicle's feature on Kip Keino's 2006 visit to the University, please click here.