Photo Credit: PhotoRun
I started coaching Edward Kemboi remotely in Kenya this year. He is an amazing man with the potential to have a breakthrough in the 1500 meters in 2024. We plan to turn this 1:44 800-meter man into one of the best at 1500 meters.
You meet few people in life who are competitive yet humble, other-centered, and who have obvious gifts you can see in them waiting to be released, honed, and used.
As a long-time coach, I see all of these traits mentioned above in Edward Kemboi on a personal and professional level. Let me explain what I mean.
Edward is a man who will make an incredible difference in this world.
He is smart, asks great questions, listens, and is one of those people who is much more than just a world-class athlete; he is a person who has the innate ability to help transform others and navigate well cultural barriers for the better.
Edward is helping me coach another athlete in Kenya, Morgan Shadrack, by interpreting the workouts and other life skills information I send each week. I will also start helping Edward by exchanging training ideas beginning February 1, 2023.
Edward has already helped me understand many cultural differences between Kenya and the United States in coaching and training. Serving as a translator between cultures takes work. It is a unique skill set that only a few people possess.
I hope after his running career is over, Edward will consider coaching; he can become a world-class coach because of his excellent listening skills, other-centered approach, and of course, his positive competitive nature.
Let's back up and understand Edward’s story before I jump into what’s next for this incredible man.
The Early Years
Edward Is the youngest in his family. He has six brothers and two sisters. He is the only one who runs in his family. When you talk to Edward, you can tell family is very important to him.
Because he was raised in a Christian home in a poor family, Edwards's focus has always been much more significant than what he wants for himself, even from a young age.
Edward says, " I had faith in the Lord that I'd be able to help them (referring to his poor family) someday. I never give up praying, and God answers prayers. I am doing what I do best because of the faith I have..."
One day I could not get a hold of Edward because he was traveling several hours to see his family. He took the time to message me and said he would get back to me when he could later that night.
He put his family first, got back to me when he was done seeing his family for the day and was free to talk. He kept his word by getting back to me while keeping his priorities straight.
This simple gesture told me a lot about the character of Edward.
You can tell by his words and actions how important family truly is to Edward. You can also tell he strives to be a man of his word.
One Event That Changed Edwards's Life Forever
After high school in 2009, Edward was running a workout with his friends from high school.
A person Edward did not know stopped to talk to him and other runners on his high school team, seemingly out of the blue.
Edward now looking back refers to the man lovingly "as his good Samaritan."
The gentleman who came to see Edward and others that day said if he scored a C plus or higher in his grades in high school, he would attempt to get Edward college scholarships. The man left his phone number so Edward and his friends could contact him about their school results.
Edward did not know who he was at the time or why he wanted to help.
As fate and hard work would have it, Edward did well in school. The man kept his word, helping Edward register for the SAT and other tests. The man also helped him with the passport process and different ways to further his academic and running career.
As Edward would learn later, the man was none other than Barnaba Korir, a Chairman for Athletics Kenya in the Nairobi region. More specifically, Mr. Korir was the under-20 Chairman at the time. He was also an alumnus of Iowa State, where Edward would spend his collegiate athletic career.
The College Years
Edward credits Mr. Korir and former Iowa State coach Corey Ihmels for his unique chance to run in the American Collegiate system.
The rest, as they say, is history. Edward had a stellar career with many conference 800-meter and other titles and, ultimately, the top collegiate prize of two NCAA titles in the 800-meters. One indoors and one outdoors.
His favorite memories include running in the Iowa State Classic, including when he ran 1:45 indoors at that facility. His other favorite memory was after graduation when he ran his 1:44 personal best at the Track Town Summer series in New York.
Post Collegiate Update
Edward joined a group in Portland, Oregon, after college called High-Performance West which Chad Colwell and Jonathan Morris coached. Edward credits Chad for his success in that era of his post-collegiate journey.
Edward made the Kenyan world team at the world indoors held in Portland in 2016. It takes work to make the Kenyan team. Edward is rightly proud of this great accomplishment.
At present, Edward is training hard back in Nairobi, Kenya. Morgan and others join him for track workouts 2-3 times a week. He is getting in the best shape years after the COVID shutdowns put a damper on training worldwide.
I've tracked Edward's workouts and exchanged training ideas for the last month. Looking at his training, he is getting in great shape.
In February, Edward will start doing more of the workouts I've suggested. Edward can still run world-class in the 800 meters and shows world-class potential in the 1500 meters.
Edward is currently training to run at a world-class level once again. He is working daily to consistently reach his goals, including sub 1:45 at some point in the 800 meters. I think he can also run a substantial PR at 1500 meters if he is so inclined to focus on this event.
Along his journey, Edward mentors others to help them reach their God-given potential. Edward has the heart of a coach who wants to help serve others while training hard himself.
Someday, Edward will also become a world-class coach.
He has the heart, intelligence, and passion for being the best and helping others do the same. I will do what I can to help him with this dream as we exchange ideas about his training in the coming months.
Don't count this young man out in any fashion. Edward is bright, articulate, and a hard worker, and one of those you know will not only succeed but take others along with him in the pursuit of excellence.
And most of all, Edward is a man of his word who leans on God and others to support people less fortunate than him in their journey.
Mr. Barnaba Korir can smile and be proud. Edward Kemboi is paying forward what he was once given years ago. Mr. Korir's generosity has come full circle.
No one can ask for anything more.
Edward is not only a world-class runner. He cares about and gives back to younger runners. He has also coached his teenage Knephew to a time of 1:52 in the 800-meters.
Photo Credit: Edward Kemboi
Edward and one of his childhood mentors, Legendary Coach Brother Colm O'Connell. Coach O'Connell was the headmaster at St. Patrick's school in Kenya for many years and currently coaches many of the best runners in the world.
O'Connell is known as "The Godfather Of Kenyan Running. Amazingly, twenty-five of his students became world champions, with four winning Olympic gold medals.
Photo credit: Edward Komboi