By Mike Tenbusch | October 29, 2021
Has a movie ever changed your life? True confession #1: At the age of seven, the day after I saw Rocky for the first time, I woke up at 6:00 in the morning, drank raw eggs, and then went for a two mile run. I had a dream of becoming a champion runner one day, just like the older kids I idolized who ran on the track and cross country teams coached by my dad at U of D Jesuit High in Detroit.
Ah, the iconic egg scene from Rocky.
True Confession #2: I only ate the raw eggs once, and my early morning training routine petered out after a few weeks. To this day, I struggle with getting a workout in before work instead of after it.
That’s part of the reason why I’m so inspired by Mihretu, a 22-year-old IntSam Scholar, who runs at 5:00 AM every morning seven days a week. This young man puts Rocky and me to shame.
Mihretu’s older brother raised him in the Ethiopian countryside after their parents died young. School was not an option for him. He had to work to survive since he was a young boy, and finally, at the age of 19, fled to Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa, in search of a better life.
An uncle allowed Mihretu to sleep in a small space on the floor of his makeshift kitchen. He couldn’t afford food for Mihretu to eat, but at least kept him from sleeping on the street. To find both work and food to eat, Mihretu went to the dump in Kore.
Day after day, Mihretu went to the dump looking for trash that could be turned into cash, and enough food to give him fuel for a run. Much like 7-year-old me, Mihretu also had a dream of being a champion runner one day, but his dream is to run for his nation, not just his school. And his lack of food at times caused him to faint while running.
Hear Mihretu’s story in the video above.
Two years ago, he learned about International Samaritan and was awarded a scholarship with us, becoming a 20-year-old fifth-grader. For the first time in his life, he had a consistent and healthy source of food and a chance to go to school.
Mihretu never stopped running, nor let go of his dream.
This past weekend, he ran in Ethiopia’s Great IntSam Global 5K and finished in 14:37—at a blistering pace of 4:42 per mile! As a result, he has been invited to begin training with Run Africa—an organization committed to helping young runners become professional runners throughout Africa.
The runners of Team Ethiopia for the 2021 Great IntSam Global 5K, taken right after Mihretu ran his jaw-dropping 14:37 minute race. Mihretu is pictured standing center right.
I’m writing this reflection today to ask you to dig down and go big in this last weekend of the Great IntSam Global 5K. Mihretu had food to eat over the last two years because of friends like you have given generously and faithfully to ensure that almost 1,000 families living in situations just like Mihretu receive a monthly food basket through the pandemic.
The goal of this race is to provide food to at least 100 of those families for a year. As of right now, we still have 18 families, or $21,500 to go.
Please watch this scene below that changed my life (I actually did get to run for U of D Jesuit years later.) And then let’s go and do something, give something, and walk or run this weekend to change the life of another.
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