The name Cosmas Ndeti may not ring a bell for the younger generation, but those familiar with him recall that he was famous during the 1990s.
His epic rise to one of the glorified marathon runners was documented when he pulled off one of the biggest historic victories in the 1993 Boston Marathon.
Ndeti steamrolled past other athletes to cross the finish line. He emerged the winner thrice at the Boston Marathon event - becoming the first African to win the event three times consecutively.
Undoubtedly, with fame came adulation, as he couldn't imagine a former village boy conquering the world.
Owing to his fame, he also received an invitation from former US President Bill Clinton to participate in his jogging routine. In a past interview, he described the feeling as one-of-a-kind as he interacted with Clinton casually to the point of cracking jokes with him.
"I look back at how things happened in my life, and it feels like a dream,” he stated.
According to Medium.com, he received Ksh8.9 million each in the 1993 and 1994 Boston marathon victories, and Ksh10 million for the 1995 event.
In addition, Ndeti had bagged a five-figure annual sponsorship from Nike - a mega deal for a Kenyan athlete then.
However, an unfortunate ordeal almost cost him his career as he became the first Kenyan to be banned for doping in 1988.
“I had fallen sick and was given medication for a cold. I did not know the ingredients,” Ndeti stated at the time.
From the Track to the Pulpit
Over the years, Ndeti perfected his craft and became a legend in the marathon race. However, no one expected the athlete to trade his running shoes for the Bible and relinquish his exploits for a life of service.
Ndeti noted that his walk with God happened fortuitously as God appeared to him in a vision and showed him standing before a congregation with a Bible.
When asked why he made the ultimate switch, he answered, “Who am I to say No?”
The athlete hang his boots in 2003 and set up a temporary structure in Kitengela to teach the word. Two decades later, Christ Deliverance and Destiny Chapel host over 400 congregants for his services.