If you asked Dan Kipchumba to describe the beginning of his running career, which began in February 2017, he would label those early days as “absolutely terrible.”
Running purely for the satisfaction, Kipchumba began building a base for what would become an opportunity to participate in one of the most successful seasons Goshen College’s Cross Country team has seen, and a ticket out of his hometown of Eldoret, Kenya.
“My journey to Goshen College is a little mysterious,” Kipchumba said. “I was on my way to a university in West Virginia when I decided to stop and greet my long-time friend.”
The university Kipchumba was initially headed to was where he intended to transfer after his brief stay at a Nebraska college. While visiting his friend Victor Kiprotich, Kipchumba met the cross country coach, Rustin Nyce, by chance. From there, he met the team. Nyce made it his bid to bring in Kipchumba, and Kipchumba, with his education in mind, took a look at the academics of Goshen College.
“The college has a fantastic nursing program, so that caught my attention,” he said.
Through a little bit of coercion by the runners of the team, Nyce, and even Kiprotich, everything was able to fall into place. Kipchumba made a decision that would certainly change his future.
During Kipchumba’s transition to Goshen College, it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“It has been a little challenging, but I have had great support from friends and everyone else,” he said.
Now at Goshen College as a transfer student, Kipchumba is settled into his daily life; he is acclimated to the atmosphere of the city of Goshen, well-acquainted with his teammates, and on his way to a national championship berth with his new school. And this magical run at the national championship isn’t lost on Kipchumba.
“I am so proud of my teammates,” he said. “They are the coolest people on this campus. No kidding.”
As for the school and team in West Virginia, Kipchumba has not heard from the coach since he told him he would no longer be coming.
Though Goshen doesn’t have the same “home-y” feeling that Kenya has when it comes to running, he is enjoying the new atmosphere.
“Despite the geographic differences, Kenya has the feeling one feels at home. However, I like running here too in this new environment with my new friends,” Kipchumba said. “Additionally, running is sacred. It helps me clear my mind when I am having a hard time. It is also a way I can connect with nature and friends.”
Since arriving at Goshen College, Kipchumba has consistently produced top seven team performances contributing to a historic Goshen College cross country season. In fact, in the recent race at the Louisville Invitational, Kipchumba was a part of the seven runners who set a new Goshen College cross country record for the fastest team time. However, his arrival at Goshen College didn’t come without a little bit of doubt and second guessing.
All in all, running—be it in the “absolutely terrible” early days in Kenya or for Goshen College with a national ranking in mind—is who Kipchumba is. Thanks to running, Kipchumba was able to not only make it to the United States but to eventually come to Goshen College. Kipchumba has experienced many changes going from Kenya to the States, but there has been one constant: running. And that isn’t changing anytime soon.