We couldn’t be prouder to announce our support for Kenyan Marathon runner Mary Ngugi and her newly formed Nala Track Club in Nyahururu, Kenya.
As well as running the Boston and London Marathons in 2022, Mary has spent the last year advocating and fighting for the safety of and the rights of female athletes in her home country.
Following the tragic murder of her friend Agnes Tirop in October 2021 in a suspected domestic violence incident where her husband is the main suspect, Mary has worked tirelessly to make change for the future generation of Kenyan women.
Over the last few months, Mary has highlighted to the world’s media the many issues women athletes face in Kenya. From the many incidents of domestic violence, the continuous abusive coaching and how common it is for Kenyan women in the elite running community to be controlled by their husbands and used for their athletic earnings. Mary has not shied away from sharing the truth.
And now, Mary has taken her advocacy one step further by launching the Nala Track Club, aimed at developing the next generation of strong, successful female athletes, coaches and leaders.
The FCN are on board to support Mary with this mission, providing guidance, insight and expertise in creating and leading a female coach programme. Through the Nala Track Club, a new generation of passionate and skilled female coaches will create a pipeline of talented young female athletes who will learn and train in a safe environment with the potential of competiting for their Country.
This is the first of it’s kind running camp in Kenya.
Writing for Spikes Magazine, this week, Mary explains why it is so important to increase the number of female coaches in the sport in Kenya.
“Where I come from, Nyahururu, is a huge place with lots of athletes, but there’s not even one female coach. I’ve never been coached by a female coach and, if you come to Kenya and you’re at the track, you typically never see a woman with a stopwatch.
Developing more female coaches will help combat a lot of issues for young Kenyan women, who all too often are living in fear and doing what they are told by men in their lives, assuming it is right.
I see it all the time. When you’re a young female athlete surrounded by men in a camp, you feel you have to do whatever they want. You are manipulated to do things, and when you say no, you’re afraid of the consequences.
Maybe I’ll have to go home from the camp.
Sometimes these girls end up doing things because they fear that and they want to pursue this running dream. But sometimes there’s a huge cost to that.
I think if more young women are overseen by female coaches and feel safe, free, they’ll start to think: I don’t have to deal with all these things. Right now, there are often few alternatives for women who feel they are being abused or exploited, but I want the girls in my camp to be able to tell her friends with coaches who are treating them badly, “You don’t have to go through that. You have a choice; you can come to this group.”
To find out more about the amazing work Mary is leading, follow her on instagram at @maryngugi or @nalatrackclub
To read more about Marys story, visit the following articles: