The many reasons that CFO Rachael Gitonga runs

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A passion for running led Rachael Gitonga, CFO at ZEP Re, to establish Miles4shillings, which raised over $10,000 for the Faraja Cancer Support Fund. In this CFO East Africa exclusive insight, Rachael explains the power of passion.

I am an avid marathoner and last year I participated in the ultimate human race, the 90kms Comrades marathon, a worldwide inspiration footrace between two cities, Pietermaritzburg and Durban. I have taken part in various marathons around the world, including the Nairobi marathon, Chicago marathon, Berlin marathon, and the Kilimanjaro marathon.

Why do I run?
My heart pounds. My lungs burn.
I run to show my children devotion and discipline.
I run to remind them hard work is real.
I run to remind them to show up for their dreams, every single day.
I run to teach them that there is no failure, just lessons and challenges in life.
I run to remind them that it’s not about being better than someone else but being the best version of themselves.
I run to teach them that learning never stops no matter how much experience you get.
I run to teach that it shall get tough, and they must remember why they started in the first place.
I run to remind them to take a chance.
I run to remind them that a failure to launch is your fear taking hold of you.
I run to remind them that we must desire finish lines and medals.
I run to teach them to finish what they start.

The truth of the matter is that life can be draining, but there are countless things that also rejuvenate us. I often contemplate why we should prioritise and safeguard those aspects that breathe life into us. It's important to safeguard the spaces, relationships, and habits that invigorate us, because they are the very essence that fuels our endurance for the journey of life and all its pursuits.

My respect for individuals who remain steadfast in their chosen path is profound, even if, by their own or others' standards, they may seem to be barely hanging on - they possess a high staying power index.

Take for instance the story of Geoffrey Kamworor, the second fastest male in the 2023 London Marathon. What a remarkable man! After a motorbike accident threatened to drain the life from his running career, he endured.

For years, he remained unseen and unheard of, but behind the scenes, he persisted, true to his pursuit. He was an underdog that didn't initially receive much media attention, but now the world can't look away. What propelled his breakthrough? There were many factors, but one stood out - his staying power.

On this note, I once received a text that made me pause and reflect. "Raych, you must embody the spirit of Sifan Hassan (the female winner of the 2023 London Marathon). Pick up your pace, leap forward. The finish line is in sight."

I was grateful for the person who sent me this text because everyone needs a tribe, even if it's just one person among them who holds rare wisdom nuggets. Someone who speaks the unvarnished truth, allowing you the space to be vulnerable about your downfalls, no matter how embarrassing. They understand and respect your life goals. They're not afraid to pull you out of the abyss of despair and self-destructive plans.

Remember, it doesn't have to end the way it began. You're human. Take a pause. But never give up on yourself. Cultivate and strengthen your staying power, regardless of your pursuit - whether it's a career, a project, a business, swimming, running, or publishing a book.

Embrace each day with a reinvigorated sense of staying power.

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