I had an amazing and humbling opportunity recently to interview Toby Tanser. Runners will recognize the name, but if you aren’t a runner perhaps you haven’t heard of him. Toby is a former elite runner (sub 2:20 marathoner) who has competed all over the world. Currently, he is on the board of directors of the New York Road Runners (my running club) and Achilles International; he is head coach of the New York Flyers; running coach at the Fashion Institute of Technology; the author of three books: Train Hard Win Easy the Kenyan Way, The Essential Guide to Running the NYC Marathon and More Fire: How to Run the Kenyan Way. But that’s not all! Toby won a humanitarian award in 2008 for his efforts to bring shoes, health and peace to Africa.
Toby is the founder of Shoe4Africa, which has provided tens of thousands of shoes to children and adults in Kenya. Shoes are important because they keep the feet healthy–they prevent cuts, infections and hookworms from invading the body. How Shoe4Africa works is that runners (or anyone else) send their used running shoes to Kenya. Toby organizes races in Kenya and participants earn a pair of shoes by racing. In addition to providing shoes, Toby has worked tirelessly to promote HIV testing, the empowerment of women, and peace among the tribes in Kenya. He is now embarking on his biggest project ever and you can help!
Toby is raising $15 million to build the largest children’s hospital in Africa in Eldoret, Kenya. Every bit helps, even a $10 donation is appreciated! As you’re making your end-of-year donations and thinking of ways to give to others, consider making a donation to Shoe4Africa. In a country ravaged by violence and lack of healthcare, you could literally help save the life of a child.
Runner’s World Article about Toby’s Humanitarian Award