2014 Kenya Marathon Dinner @ The Hilton Hotel Recap
The 2014 Edition of the Kenya Marathon Dinner was held on Friday Oct 10th at the Waldorf Room inside the Hilton Hotel, Downtown Chicago.
This was the 16th year the event was held in honor of the Elite Athletes participating in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. This event gives the Chicago Kenyans and friends of Kenya an opportunity to meet and socialize with them in a relaxed and stress free environment.
The event kicked off promptly at 7.00p.m with MC and Co-Host for the evening Don Owino welcoming the Elite Athletes.
In an act of humility that should come as no surprise, the athletes proceed to individually greet and personally thank every guest for coming to support them. The Elite Athletes who attended the event include Eliud Kipchoge (1st place), Sammy Kitwara (2nd place), Dickson Chumba (3rd place), Wesley Korir (8th place) and Florence Kiplagat (3rd place women’s).
Sheila Wesonga, a long supporter of the Kenya Marathon Dinner was on hand to lead the singing of the American & Kenyan National Anthems. Pastor Mary Tororeiy then proceeded to lead an opening prayer before dinner was served.
The dinner menu consisted of traditional Kenyan cuisine including Rice, Beef Stew, Ugali (Corn Meal) & Chapatti (Flatbread). Chicago’s ABC7 News Crew was on hand to cover the dinner and they were not left behind either as they sampled some of the items on the dinner menu as well.
Special invited guests included the City Of Chicago, which was represented by Mr. Arnold Romeo. Mr. Romeo presented the Kenyan Marathon Dinner group with a letter from the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel and also implored greater co-operation between the Kenya Marathon Group and the City Of Chicago on matters dear to the Kenyan Community.
Drew Ludke, Head coach of the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh Cross Country Women’s program had the pleasure of introducing the Elite Athletes and detailing their respective profiles which included their personal best times and individual achievements.
After the official introductions, Eventual 1st place finisher Eliud Kipchoge gave a vote of thanks on behalf of all the athletes as did 2nd place finisher, Sammy Kitwara.
One of the pace setters on the team left the room roaring in laughter during his speech when he told everyone “not to worry” as he was the designated driver and that everything would be ok. “I am the driver, so please don’t worry” he retorted.
Former US Olympian Gary Morgan and Mzee Dave Jenkins were tabbed as motivational speakers and they did not disappoint as they whipped up support not only for the Elite Runners but for everyone who was participating in the Chicago Marathon.
Tad Munnings, Director of The Film Transcend was also on hand to give motivational support to the runners as well as explain the journey behind their film. The Film Transcend features 2012 Boston Marathon Winner Wesley Korir (now MP for Cherengany) and documents his journey from Boston Marathon Champion and back into the Kenyan political landscape.
Wesley Korir himself made a passionate speech imploring all current and future athletes to strive for success both on and off the track. He likened some of the leadership challenges he faces to marathon training and stated that determination, endurance and strict adherence to core principles were needed at all leadership levels especially in Kenya.
The traditional cake cutting ceremony was conducted toward the end of event with all athletes present promising to bring the crown home for #TeamKenya
The Kenya Marathon Dinner vote of thanks was given by founder Faith Chepkwony, who thanked all in attendance for a spectacular showing and promised to drive the Kenya Marathon Dinner to greater heights. She also acknowledged the supporting entities that made the 2014 Kenya Marathon Dinner possible. These entities include The Chepkwony Foundation, TopDonn Entertainment, The Hilton Hotel, The Film Transcend, Afrodisiac Entertainment, Kenya Diaspora Sacco & The Seed Group.
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