Using running in quest to get education in Australia for a Kenyan athlete: Alfred Koech


14513589_1089793194409309_840798221_o.jpgAlfred Koech, courtesy of Kenyan Athlete

14556153_1088965807825381_751785037_n.jpgAlfred Koech and his coach, Sarah Jamieson, photo from Kenyan Athlete

Alfred Koech is racing and attending college in Australia. He has taken a different route for Kenyan athletes looking for an education outside of their country. This is a nice piece by Justin Lagat on this athlete and his dream of using his running to gain a fine education.

Using running in quest to get education in Australia for a Kenyan athlete; Alfred Koech, by Justin Lagat
The news of him being named as the athletics captain in Edith Cowan University (ECU), one of the leading universities in Australia, were great and overwhelming. It went viral on the social media amongst his fans, his community of runners in Australia and friends back here in Kenya.
"I even got a live radio interview after the announcement," he said. "This has motivated me so much to an extend that I am now working very hard, completely focusing and aiming to participate and make an impression at the Commonwealth Games that will be held here in Australia in 2018."
Alfred Koech comes from Itigo village in Kenya, a vicinity where most of Kenya's top long distance runners grew up, including Sammy Korir and Martin Lel . He was a bright pupil in Primary school, but lacked enough school fees to enable him attend some of the best high schools in the country to continue his studies. Fortunately, due to his talent and interest in running, he was enrolled to take his secondary education at Kosirai High School. The school, situated between Eldoret and Kapsabet in Kenya. Kosirai High School is well known for being one of the few schools that admit and support students who show athletic talent and help them hone their talents to become world beaters.
"At Kosirai High, I had to run to represent my school in order to benefit in getting part of my fees paid by the school. This is also where I met and trained with a number of current world class athletes that include Peter Some, James Magut and Mathew Kisorio. I was often their pace setter during speed workouts," he said.
From a tender age, Koech had a believe that his talent in sports was going to take him far in life. His believe got stronger with time as he got to train with some of the best athletes in the world and read about the inspiring life stories of others.
"I was more inspired, and continue to be inspired, by the likes of Peter Rono, Bernard Lagat, Edward Kemboi and Betsy Saina, among others who educated themselves through sports scholarships and went ahead to succeed in the careers as runners as well," Koech said.
Although he has not been able to get a scholarship from the university he is currently studying, Koech goes out to race whenever he his not in class, especially during winter, in order to win some prize money and pay for his university fees and living expenses. The races he runs do not pay much in Australia and he still has to find some part time work to supplement his income. But, despite this, he believes he is well on the path he had been dreaming about since childhood; that of using his athletics talent to get education.
14569813_1089793237742638_423623590_n.jpgPerth Running Club, photo courtesy of Kenyan Athlete
He, with a group of other runners at the Perth Running Club, is currently being coached by former three times (2000, 2004 and 2008) Olympian, Sarah Jamieson. Koech receives so much support from this group who have high hopes in him and he plans on not letting them down.

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