Day 485: One Coach Down

by claire a. williams,

When we left Kenya, we hired two running coaches. The premise, of course, was to maintain the Hope Runs running programs (and technology programs - we also hired a local computer guru for that as well) on the ground in Kenya in between Hope Runs volunteers. Since the next set of volunteers do not arrive for another few months for their six month stay, the last thing we wanted was our kids to lose motivation and endurance.

Shockingly, there have been some problems. And, due to the new DSL that Runner's World paid to install at Tumaini, we've been kept abreast of the developing nightmare(s).

As per the coaches:

Coach 1 is doing a fantastic job. This international marathoner is dragging the older, more competitive runners on short, long, and always fast runs four times a week. They train without him on the other days (money restricted how many hours a week we could hire him for), and are generally improving. A time trial this Wednesday will be great information for us to know how they are improving.

Coach 2 is a walking disaster. This individual, who has coached a number of elite Kenyan runners and currently serves as the District's Head of Athletics for primary schools, was mostly just the top candidate for the job of primary running coach due to his strong connection to the church community. From the beginning, we were very concerned. He would blow off meetings. We would yell. He wouldn't show up to take the kids running. We would yell more and threaten to fire him. Blah Blah. We should have known. 12 days since we left Kenya, he has not shown up once.

As Coach 1 and all the kids write us emails telling us of his dire inadequacies, we feel the victims of an amateur mistake: hiring an individual who you feel pressured to hire, even when he's not the best for the job. The nature of Hope Runs is that we are workign within the constraints of the rules and wishes of children's homes we are not in charge of. Thus, when elders at Tumaini wanted to hire coach 2 due to his strong connections to the community, we hoped over hope that our threats were enough to shape him up.

Not so Boston. (a palindrome)

Next time - read: as soon as we fire Coach 2 - we're hiring who we want.

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