As the world watched Brigid Kosgei breeze through the finish line to win the London Marathon women’s title last month, another Kenyan woman was running the same race for a whole different reason.
Jael Amara, the co-owner of Consumer Options, a local research firm, was slowly making strides in the Virgin Money London Marathon that could change lives for women and children back home.
The marathon is the largest annual fundraising event on the planet. Runners have raised more than £890 million for good causes since the race began in 1981 and Jael was looking to make her mark.
Her goal was simple; to not only finish but to raise £2,000 through Concern Worldwide, which works with the world’s poorest to improve lives.
While she may have done three fundraisers before, this one was different because she had actually met some of the children who would benefit from her run.
“I knew that I had to look into my network of people and get them to fundraise because this was going to make someone else’s life better. Another thing is that Concern had only 10 charity slots worldwide and they decided to give me one of the slots; I was honoured,” says Amara, who is one of the top leaders in the business whose top echelons is composed of only women, a fact that attracted the company to Stanbic Bank, which offers special packages for women and women-led institutions.
In Kenya, Concern has worked on emergency response in Marsabit focusing on cash transfer, provision of water, health and nutritional services.
“I love the idea that my running would help Concern distribute much needed supplementary food to starving mothers and children in North Horr Sub-County working with children under the age of five along with pregnant and lactating women in the poorest communities of Kenya,” she says.
The serial entrepreneur, having invested in a variety of ventures, including in technology, says she is passionate about what she does and that she is able to juggle everything on her plate because she manages her time well.
“I have a giving spirit and allocation of time is key if you want to get everything done because nothing on my plate is less important than the other,” she says.
She says that her discipline comes from her mother whom she says has made it possible for her to do everything she sets her mind on.
“She is the greatest mum of all and I must say that she is stern; even at my age I can still feel her authority,” she says. It is because of the strictness and discipline instilled in her by her mother that the she tries to enforce the same virtues in her 19-year-old nephew whom she has raised since he was young.
Amara says her mother has taught her that she has to offer her nephew the necessary tools that would make him the best version of himself.
Amara, who enjoys playing the saxophone in her free continues to set sights on the next marathon which is in Chicago this October, continuing with her quest to make a mark in other people’s lives.
She is happy with her accomplishment in London. When she finished the marathon in three hours and 44 minutes, she knew that even if she did not break a world record, the children she was running to raise funds for will be taken care of.
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