Daniel's Olympic training fund

$4,055 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 51 people in 45 months
Competing in the Olympics has always been a dream of mine and since graduating from Cornell University in 2012 I’ve been doing all I can to keep that dream alive. Until recently this meant training whenever possible, mostly by myself, while working a full-time job. Despite long hours working and limited training I’ve been able to remain competitive in my event (800m for Mexico) but feel I have been leaving a lot on the table by not fully dedicating to my sport.

With 2016 being an olympic year, this past May the decision was made to leave my position as an operations manager at the Uber offices in Mexico City to train full time. Without the demands of 60-hour work week, finding the time to train is no longer an issue. The issue now is to train at the highest level possible and put myself in the best position to succeed. This has been something discussed at length for the past two years with my former track coach at Cornell, Kevin Thompson.

Coach Thompson as some of you reading this might know is very involved with a couple of non-profits in Kenya and has close ties to the Kenyan track and field community. As a result we’ve decided that my best chance at success would be to travel to and train in Iten, Kenya during the remainder of this year into the beginning of 2016 in order to be ready for the upcoming season. Also known as “The Home of Champions,” Iten sits at high altitude and is free of the air pollution found in most major cities. This combination makes it an ideal training environment for endurance runners.

Along with Russell Dinkins from Princeton (yes Cornell’s archrival!) I will be relocating to Iten this fall, and together we will chase our mutual dream of representing our countries in the Rio Olympics next summer. We both have received a tremendous amount of emotional support from those around us, but as amateur athletes we have received limited access to funding.

It is the most difficult thing to ask of anyone, especially those of you I know and respect, but your support however small or large is going to make the difference this year. Thank you for taking the time out to read up to this point. Russell  and I would be lucky to have you as part of our Olympic dream.

Thank you for all the love and support.
+ Read More
A little over a year ago I took the first of many steps to leave my job and chase my childhood dream of competing in the Olympics. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it, but with your support there ended up being no limit to what was possible.

I truly believe that I put myself in the best possible scenario to achieve my goal, but sadly it just wasn't in the cards this time around. I pushed myself to the limit, going toe to toe with some of the best athletes in the world during this past year and learned so much more than I would have imagined.

I wish things could have gone differently and that I was writing to you with better news, but today is the deadline for having the Olympic qualifying time and sadly I was not able to achieve it. The dream must continue to be just that, but I end the season knowing that I did everything possible and your love and support was a big part of it all.

Thank you again and I hope that in the future I have the opportunity to be there for you when you decide to chase your dream.

+ Read More
Hello Everyone. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but its been a while since I shared what I've been up to.

I cannot believe it has already been one month since I arrived in Iten! It has been full of unique experiences, lots of training and of course your typical minor setback. It is hard to really do this place justice, but I hope sharing my experience so far can help you all get a sense of what living and training out here is like.

The town
Iten itself is a very small agrarian town located in the western part of Kenya. To give you a sense of just how small it is, you could drive through it in less than 5 minutes or leisurely walk it in about 30. One of the best things about Iten is location as well. It sits directly on the edge of Great Rift Valley and as you would expect, the view from up here is spectacular. I cannot even begin to describe the beauty, especially at sunrise.

Day to day
Life here has a definite routine with just about everyone starting between 5:00 - 6:00 AM and ending around 10:00PM. I have attempted to adopt the typical training day it is as follows:

6:00 AM Wake up
6:30 AM Morning easy/long run
8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Nap!
10:30 AM Chai time (tea and snack time)
1:00 PM Lunch time
4:00 PM Second workout (Run, bike, swim, or gym)
5:00 PM Core class (45 minutes every Monday, Wednesday & Friday)
7:00 PM Dinner
10:00 PM Lights out

This was the schedule for the first couple weeks and I loved it. Rest time throughout the day is very important in order to be ready for the next workout and the following day's. A minor injury had me adjust my routine a bit to aqua jog and bike, but thankfully I am healthy once again and can continue with my training without any further issues.

Weekly running schedule
Similar to the typical day described above, there is also a typical workout schedule every week. Many different groups in Iten, but for the most part their weeks tend to be as follows:

Monday: Tempo and or easy mileage
Tuesday: Track session
Wednesday: Easy mileage
Thursday: Fartlek
Friday: Easy mileage
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: Rest

This schedule is pretty constant year round because of the different professional running seasons. So while some are tapering for races, others are just getting started for the following season. Whatever the season, you are always guaranteed to have company on the trails while running in Iten.

The people
Almost everyone who lives here in Iten can be grouped into one of two groups. They are either from here or they have come here to train like I have. It definitely makes for an interesting and lively culture simply because people are from all over. The major tribe that calls this area home is the Kalenjin People who historically have been some of the best distance runners. Although they are not the only ones who have risen to prominence, they are typically the dominant distance runners in the country.

Their history is truly amazing and still deeply rooted in the society, but more important is their quality as people they. Everyone here is incredibly nice and accommodating whereever possible. Their humor also livens up the day, which is usually full of smiles.

By far the most impressive thing about everyone here is their work ethic which can be seen throughout the day. Things are not simply “done” here, they are done well and there is no better example than through their workouts. Having been witness and also a participant of some of the workouts, it is amazing to see the level of commitment these athletes have. Whether it is on the track or in the trails, their workouts are done at the highest level. Sometimes this leads to athletes going too hard too fast and not being able to finish workouts in their entirety, while other times it leads to breakthrough performances. Either way I hope to keep building my conditioning to soon be able to join them in the front pack!

The trails
Training back in the US and in Mexico typically involved travelling to trails multiple times of a week. Here it Iten, I have the luxury of having some of the best trails available no more than a few steps away from my doorstep. They go out in all directions and often times intersect with each other. This has already caused an unplanned “long” run, but thankfully getting lost is not so easy because all trails eventually lead back to the main roads. The soft dirt makes running easier on the legs, however the never ending hills are something I haven’t had much of so it is taking some getting used to. One thing’s for sure, running on the track after constantly going up and down all these hill is going to feel easy!

The food
Amazingly the food here is very simple and easy to get accustomed too. All ingredients are fresh and organic, because there simply is nothing else. As I mentioned earlier, fresh chai very important to daily life here in Iten. It is included in almost every meal and throughout the day as well.

Breakfast usually consists of thin pancakes (think crepes), bread, eggs, fruit and maybe mandazi which are amazing. Mandazi are freshly deep fried dough and is can be eaten alone or with jam. For the most part breakfast is not very big unless the early training run was difficult. Chai is always present and a major part of the morning for almost everyone as well.

Lunch has been a mixture of many different things here at the camp, but for the most part it consists of rice, beans or lentils, fresh salad, fresh bread and soup. It is definitely more complete here, but for the most part is kept pretty simple as well. Also the majority of the time it is kept vegetarian, which is a nice change.

Dinner typically has two main dishes that are then accompanied by a variety of others. They are ugali which is a maize flour dish cooked to the consistency of dough and sauteed kale with onion and tomatoes called sukuma wiki. They are traditional and eaten by almost everyone because of how nutriotional they are, but also because they are very economical as well. These two dishes can also be eaten for lunch and sometimes even breakfast. Ugali is the staple for meals here because of its high carbohydrate content and it also is a good source of iron. Different proteins usually accompany these dishes, but traditionally they are not the center of attention. Another favorite of mine that is sometimes included is chapati. Essentially they are flour tortillas that have been cut into smaller triangles.

I think for me in particular, getting used to the food here has been very easy because it is so similar to what I have always been eating. Breakfast is just like most places back home, lunch is practically what I always ate growing up, and dinner is just another form of it as well. The main ingredients for me are pretty much the same, but just presented in different ways with the easy example being instead of corn or flour tortillas I now have ugali and chapati. Simply delicious and healthy food!

In summary, I think 4 months out here just won’t be enough. Life is absolutely amazing and I am truly enjoying every second of every day that I am out here. Hopefully soon I will do a better job sharing my experience out here on a more frequent basis, because it really is something special.
+ Read More
Less than one week until the adventure begins! San Diego -> Boston -> London -> Nairobi -> Eldoret -> Iten! Just a couple flights and a car ride separate me from the "Home of Champions"

Menos de una semana hasta que empiece la aventura! San Diego -> Boston -> Londres-> Nairobi -> Eldoret -> Iten! Solo unos vuelos y en rato en coche me separa del "Hogar de campeones"
+ Read More
Thanks everyone for all the support and for spreading the word. It feels incredible to have you all behind me in this adventure. Updates to follow.

Gracias a todos por el apoyo y por correr la voz. Se siente increible tenerlos conmigo en esta aventura. Les estare manteniendo al tanto.
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.

$4,055 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 51 people in 45 months
Created August 14, 2015
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
41 months ago
43 months ago
Zikarra Jobe
44 months ago

Good luck and many blessings on your journey. Love you Dan

Miguel Thomas
44 months ago

A darle con todo primo!

Carlos Theurel
44 months ago

Animo Daniel!!!!!

Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.