Thursday, July 05, 2007

videos: kenyan marathon runners (chasing KIMBIA)

i've developed quite an attraction to YouTube as of late.

part of it's the adoption of new technology. yeah, i know, i'm late to the bandwagon. i usually am. but trust me, when i adopt technology, i ADOPT technology. and YouTube is the most recent example. i'm using it a whole lot more than i'd ever thought i would; i'm finding it incredibly useful for helping my blogs function as a record of my experiences (so far mostly for my kung fu--reference: also very soon for triathlon...just wait, you'll see).

part of it, though (and perhaps most of it), is that i'm finding stuff on YouTube that's compelling. and i don't just mean in terms of interesting, or funny, or entertaining. i mean in terms of emotionally pulling, intellectually provoking, and spiritually nourishing. things that i don't find too often on more traditional venues like television or cinema, which quite frankly too often are full of commercialized predictable cliched manipulative storylines that just simply aren't well told.

while YouTube isn't as slick, or professional, or traditional, as television or cinema, i find its raw nature and amateurish aspects and non-traditional format appealing. and in the right situations, for the right stories, when done in the right way, i find it absolutely mesmerizing.

and this is one of them:

this is actually a YouTube channel. but it's a channel featuring a chronicle of a group of Kenyan marathon runners. it bills itself as a "blogumentary" and is organized into what appears to be 2 seasons totaling 39 episodes. season 1 isn't clearly labeled, but season 2 is clearly marked as a set of 24 sequential and separate episodes. both seasons seem to follow several runners as they train for the New York, Chicago, Boston, London, and Rotterdam marathons, and traces them from Kenya through training to race day.

i should note that it is actually pretty professionally done (at least, it looks like it was done by someone with experience in editing and narrative), but the footage is raw, and its format is non-traditional relative to mainstream television and cinema.

here's some of my favorite episodes so far:
the YouTube channel is actually the video host for an organization called Chasing KIMbia, a non-profit dedicated to improving education for impoverished rural children in Kenya, and which has a main website:

what i find compelling is that the videos focus on more than just the training and racing, but in addition presents their lives, from the villages and families to the challenges and travails each athlete faces in following their personal journeys as professional marathon runners. you can see the circumstances behind them, and how their lives are a reflection of those's not glamorous, it's not fame, it's not fortune, but instead a life of obstacles, of struggle, of disappointments, of triumph.

kind of like the rest of us.

it's emotionally resonating. intellectually motivating. spiritually fulfilling.

like i said, it's compelling.

and it's made all the more so when you find out just what its ulterior purpose is: aiding the educational needs of children through donations to the KIMbia Foundation ( the foundation claims to take donations to support the education of rural impoverished children in Kenya, many of whom cannot afford high school. according to their statements, they make no distinctions regarding student abilities, and are attempting to assist all children in Kenya. they also claim that 100% of contributions go towards education assistance. from all appearances, it's a noble cause.

feel free to check things out...and definitely view the videos. they're just...amazing.


Unknown said...
nice links

Unknown said...
nice links

Triphile said...

Great resource for motivation. I had a good time watching their posts; I even mentioned it in my most recent post at my blog, Triphile.

jonathan starlight said...

thanks guys, i appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jonathan - Thanks for the comments on YouTube and for the great post here. It's great to hear that others find inspiration and motivation from the videos we did. For Season 2 I traveled to Kenya for just under a month. It was an incredible experience to see our athletes "at home." Season 1 was filmed/written while they were training in Boulder, Colorado in preparation for the Fall Marathons. They'll return to Boulder this August to again get ready for the Fall races. That will be Season 3.

Good luck with your own training and blogging.