For Samuel Chege, running has been more than a sport. It has been a way of life. Growing up on his family’s farm in the countryside of Kenya, Chege’s feet were his means of transportation as he hunted, farmed, commuted to town and ran to school.
“Running was not something to gain interest in since I had to run to get to where I needed to go,” said Chege, a senior.
Using what he had been doing throughout his childhood, Chege began his running career competing barefoot in Kenya’s interscholastic championships.
According to Chege, it is normal to run without shoes in his country, and due to the tough competition, shoes were the least of his concern. “Since all the young runners strive to win, there is no way of planing for the interschool championships,” Chege said.
Chege eventually continued his barefoot running career competing in the Fila running camp in Kenya. “There are quite a number of running camps in Kenya,” Chege said. “There are especially a good number in my countryside like Nike, Puma and Adidas.”
After winning a race organized by a scout from the United States, Chege was recruited by Cloud Community College in Kansas. Two years later, Chege was on his way to competing at the N.C.A.A. District One level for Wichita State University. “I didn’t get a chance to perform well at Wichita since I had suffered a quad injury and a cuff muscle,” Chege said.
With some persuasion by Ramadhan Audy, also from Kenya, Chege found himself enrolling in Goshen College one year later with ambitions of completing a degree in nursing.
“I heard about Goshen from Ramadhan Audy, who is like a brother to me,” Chege said. “My experience has been fun. I have met amazing teammates and traveled to p
laces that I never imagined I would see while in Kenya. Despite the cold, most places have been great.”
Chege is currently in his second semester at Goshen College and has broken four school records, which include the distance medley relay, one mile, 1000 meters and 800 meters. With the outdoor track season quickly approaching, Chege will have one more chance to continue breaking records.