What do a couple of sporty teens, some running nuns and an Olympic gold-medallist have in common?  

At a school called Racecourse Primary, in the slums of Eldoret in Kenya, we speak to two talented teens, hoping to make it in the field of athletics…with a little help from Mary’s Meals.  

Vivian and Victor, both 13, live at Our Lady of Hope Home, a children’s home run by Catholic nuns who are nurturing the pair’s shared love of sport – and sometimes even joining them on the running track.  

Vivian can’t afford running shoes, so she trains barefoot. “It has given me strong feet,” she says. “I run every day after school, just for practice. I run the 4x400m relay and I always do the final lap. I’m the anchor-woman because I’m the best.” 

Both children are originally from Marakwet district – an area which is home to many of Kenya’s greatest runners, including double Olympic gold-medalist and 800m world record holder, David Rudisha.  

“The person who inspired me is David Rudisha,” Victor says. “I saw him running and I fell in love with the sport. I kept seeing the medals he was winning, and I wanted to win some as well. If I met him, I would tell him, ‘thanks for making Kenya great’”. 

“My friends always encourage me. They tell me to run because one day they will be able to see me on TV and say, ‘I know that guy!’ I want to be a 3000m runner. I like the long-distance races best because it’s like a strategy for me.” 

The filling and nutritious meals that Vivian and Victor are served each day at school give them the strength to stay on top of their studies and their gruelling training regimes.  

Open quote mark “Mary’s Meals gives me energy, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to run. It’s essential. It is not possible to run well without food to give you energy.” Close quote mark
Victor, 13

“Mary’s Meals gives me energy,” says Victor. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to run. It’s essential. It is not possible to run well without food to give you energy.” 

“It makes us good students,” Vivian adds. “We can concentrate in class. I can study and also take the [running] practice seriously. I have enough energy to do both.” 

Racecourse Primary is on the site of an abandoned racecourse and some of the old stable buildings have been converted into classrooms, where Vivian and Victor have their lessons.  

“I love science,” Vivian says. “I like running, but I want to be a doctor. Running can help me get money to train as a doctor.” 

“I like maths and English,” adds Victor. “If I can’t be a runner, I would consider medicine, but I think of running first.” 

The young runners are already holding their own in regional athletics competitions. Vivian and her team came second in a recent 4x400m relay, while Victor got gold in the 1,500m and 3,000m.  

Sister Josephine, one of the nuns at Our Lady of Hope Home, is delighted with their progress.  

She says: “It’s good that they have interests like this, and Mary’s Meals helps them. I’m very proud to see them competing. I sometimes join in if they ask me, even though I’m a little old for it now.” 

Vivian and Victor are on the right track thanks to Mary's Meals.

Thanks to you, Vivian and Victor are racing towards a brighter future – and we wish them both the very best of luck.