Crossing the finishing line in the 21km of the ‘Beyond Zero’ First Lady Half Marathon was not just a personal victory for 65-year-old Peter Gichohi, alias ‘Withare’ who runs to prove being fit pays.
“I want that young person there to say if he can do it at 65, so does I,” he joked.
Born and raised in Bahati Constituency, Nakuru County, Mr Gichohi has been running since childhood and is determined to set a marathon record.
He says he is not ready to hang boots any time soon.
He was a unique participant during last month’s MTN Marathon in Uganda in which over 20, 000 graced the event, including a contingent of athletes from Kenya.
To him, the chase is not about eyeing glory, but the motivation it will bring to the youth who are also aspiring to be athletes as well as keeping up with a fitness regime that impoves personal health.
“I am making a difference to young people struggling with addiction, crime and other anti-social behavior. Through participating in these races, youth can learn to something they need to make real and lasting changes in their lives.
Bahati Constituency regarded as the home of talents, has produced a number of celebrated athletes that have carried the country’s flag high, Gichohi is just one of them.
He has participated in six marathons since 2014, three this year alone, and ‘Beyond Zero’ First Lady Half Marathon was proud to have a glimpse of a man who is exploiting the social power of sports.
Among the races he participated in include Sotokoto Half Marathon, ‘Beyond Zero’ First Lady Half Marathon, Stanchart half marathon, MTN Kampala Half Marathon, GDC Half and Marathon.
Others are Kakamega Forest half marathon, Laikipia half marathon, and Ndakaini half marathon.
Mr Gichohi is a beneficiary of Wathimba Foundation, an initiative by Engineer Crispus Antony Wathimba, which is dedicated to eradicating poverty and transforming lives through sports.
Gichohi trains three times a week; at least three hours each session and he program his diet to keep healthy.
Now a zealous community leader and sports ambassador, he attributes his persistence and new outlook to the youth whom he has always worked tirelessly to help them make a difference in the society.
“Wathimba’s Foundation has given me the power of positive thinking, knowing I can run, knowing I can achieve. Secondly, it connects me with the youth who, according to me, are the champions of society,” he said.
The Foundation has also been supporting youth with talent to help them nurture their talents.
In an interview, Gichohi confessed the victory of completing the marathon for First Lady was an emotional one.
The 65-year-old spend most of his time lecturing young people how to engage in economic activities rather than engaging in petty crimes, and drug abuse that might see them fall in the bad side of the law.
“For the first time this foundation has given me somewhere that I feel like I actually belong,” he added.
The Wathimba Foundation was piloted in Heshima, Kagoto, Kirima and Engashura in Kiamaina Ward, with plans to open up in other areas.
The Foundation whose motto is “empower communities, beat poverty , transform lives” has so far engaged in several initiatives whose main agenda is to “BEAT” poverty by investing in; Business & Enterprise, Education, Agriculture and Talent (BEAT).
Gichohi, who has Athletics Kenya Membership card long term plan, is to run an athletics club to nurture young talents athletes who will even be Kenya ambassadors abroad.
He however admits he still has financial challenges, and once he gets support, he would have achieved his dreams for the country.