by Rachel Clift
On the morning of the Two Oceans marathon, Capetown was unusually chilly. World Pulse member Shiku Steve, a dedicated athlete living in Nairobi, was used to training under a hot Kenyan sun. She felt unwell as the South African race, held every year on Easter weekend, began under a dense fog.
Scenic as it was, the course became more grueling with each hill. She thought about giving up long before the 56-kilometer finish line. But for Shiku, this was no ordinary marathon.
“The face of this needy woman pleaded me to brave on,” she explains. “I had registered this race to raise funds for a mother of ten who desperately wanted a decent house.”
Included in the Kenyan family that Shiku pledged to help was a daughter who had been the victim of incest and rape. Every time she thought of the girl, Shiku’s legs pumped harder. Determined to fulfill her goal, she reclaimed her strength and finished the marathon, ultimately raising £3500 in proceeds for the family.
Shiku Steve got involved in women’s issues when, after a painful end to her marriage, she discovered an entirely new and liberating sense of self—in large part due to her passion for running, which kept her focused on developing physical strength and overcoming personal challenges. She also began writing for Woman’s Hope, an online magazine based in Nairobi, whose editor and founder, Consolata Waithaka, introduced her to World Pulse.
Despite her interest in PulseWire, Shiku was skeptical at first. “I joined and stayed away for quite a while,” she says. “But Consolata had made a lot of friends [through World Pulse] and I got interested.” Browsing through the colorful, diverse range of PulseWire articles and member profiles, Shiku soon discovered she wasn’t the only one who loved marathons.
“Whoa! They also run here?” she laughs. Before long, she was an active member of World Pulse's community and began using the online forum to create an international running group for philanthropy with fellow athlete Jennifer Ruwart. They call themselves “Sole Sistas,” and have already started to plan their first official marathon.
“I have found love, hope, and more faith through World Pulse,” says Shiku, who trains on an almost daily basis as she turns her sport of choice into a force for change. “The inspiring comments I get on my posts give me strength and courage to urge on.”