16 Mar

The Grand Kenyan

Japhet Koech

A Kenyan runner will realise his ambition of running at Edinburgh marathon on 26 May, after an online campaign helped raised the £1,500 required to cover the costs of the trip. Japhet Koech, who featured in Adharanand Finn's bestselling book Running with the Kenyans, is just outside the times needed to qualify for the Kenyan athletics team and so lacks the necessary finances to prove himself in competition.

Despite being a full-time athlete, he hasn't earned a single penny from running and is supported by his uncle who works at the local petrol station in Iten. After Edinburgh marathon organisers offered him a place at the race, Adharanand started a campaign to bring him to Scotland through fundraising website, Crowd Funder.

Japhet of Iten Town Harriers has a PB of 2:21 in the marathon and 66 mins in the half, both run at high altitude in Nairobi. His marathon time is just two minutes slower than last year's Edinburgh Marathon winner and compatriot John Mutai.

Adhanarand said: "Japhet was a good friend to me when I was in Kenya. He never once asked for money, even though he had so little, but I promised him I'd do what I could to get him a race abroad, to give him his chance to shine."

If you fancy joining Japhet in Edinburgh in May, there are still charity places available for the marathon. To find out more, visit the event website.