Charity runners conquer Berlin Marathon

Berlin Marathon

From left to right: Kavit Shah, Beatrice Gichohi, Shirish Shah, Catherine Karita, Keru Nderi, Susan Nderi and Rashmi Shah after completing the Berlin Marathon on September 25, 2022.

Photo credit: Pool |

What you need to know:

  • Smile Train raises funds for surgeries to correct cleft lip and cleft palate

Running for a cause at last weekend’s Berlin Marathon, members of the Sunrisers recreational running team hope to increase the amount of money they have already raised towards the Smile Train charity.

Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in a course record 2:15:37.
Smile Train is a charity that raises funds for surgeries to correct cleft lip and cleft palate which are defects that come about when a baby’s lip and, or, mouth fail to form properly during pregnancy.

The Sunrisers have so far raised Sh1.6 million.

“We hope more people come forward to support this cause,” Rashmi Shah, 68, said.  He completed the Berlin race in 5:22:55.

“To be part of the marathon where Kipchoge broke the world record is memorable! Smile Train is a great purpose to run. I now aim for London 2024 Marathon and will try to motivate a larger contingent to fund-raise for the cause,” he added.

Shirish Shah, also 68, completed the race in 5:28:18.  “Berlin is a beautiful city to run a marathon in. So much history and such beautiful buildings. And we enjoyed the atmosphere and ran in perfect conditions,” Shirish said.

“Our training over the last few months helped us to get very fit and we ran for a good cause.  Helping children with cleft lips to get a chance to get surgery and lead a normal life is a great reason to run.”

Beatrice Gichohi was equally elated after crossing the line at the famous Brandenburg gate in 4:36.37.  “It was so thrilling for me. I felt I have broken a barrier both physically and mentally. For sure when you conceive something in your mind, you can achieve it,” she said. “That was a great achievement for me.

Knowing I have put a smile on a child, a parent and the society is even more fulfilling. Its fitness, fun while touching lives.” Catherine Karita almost shut down at kilometre 37 but soldiered on, finishing in 5:03:59.

“I kept saying to myself ‘keep going, you’ve come way too far to making smiles to stop now.’ When I crossed the finish line it was all worth it,” she said. “I thank all those who supported the cause and made a difference to a child out there. I thank my running team and many accountability partners including my Fit Fam and Smile Train for the work they do, changing the world one smile at a time. Kudos!”

Keru Nderi (4:36:39) said she was inspired by Kenya’s elite athletes.

“The Berlin Marathon was incredible. Not only was it a physical challenge, but mental as well especially during the last few kilometres. This is what memories are made of and I’m glad I got to do it with such a great group of people. We followed in the footsteps of champions!”

Rashmi’s son Kavit (4:01:31) was the fastest in the team.

He singled out Eliud Kipchoge and his father for inspiring him.

“The Berlin Marathon was a great experience. During the race, I heard that Kipchoge had broken the world record. That motivated to run faster. I clocked four hours and one minute.

“It was great to run in the race with two greats — Kipchoge and my father Rashmi. I thank my family for being here to support us. It is very satisfying that we raised money for the Smile Train project! We urge more Kenyan to support the project,” he said.

The Smile Train charity has been in existence since 2002 with its surgeons in 25 partner hospitals having conducted about 10,500 successful cleft surgeries ever since.

Berlin Marathon finishing times:

Men’s winner:

Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) – Two hours, one minute, nine seconds;

Women’s winner:

Tigist Assefa (Ethiopia) - 02:15:37.

Sunrise Smile Train team finishing times:

Kavit Shah (04:01:31);

Beatrice Gichohi (04:36.37);

Shirish Shah (05:28:18);

Catherine Karita (05:03:59);

Keru Nderi (04:36:39)

Rashmi Shah (05:22:55)


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