When over 40 Fermanagh runners came together on an October Sunday morning a year ago, little did they know that their efforts would help contribute to a life-changing run by a young African athlete on the streets of Cardiff 12 months later.
Prior to last year’s Enniskillen Spooktacular, members of North Fermanagh Fitness Club, the Knocks Running Club, the Rock Runners, Maguiresbridge Running Club, Churchill Ladies and 1Zero1 athletes joined hosts Enniskillen Running Club for a jog around the new 5k route, with everyone contributing a couple of pounds for Northern Ireland charity Project Africa.
One year later the GPS watch that all those couple of pounds bought was flying through the streets of the Welsh capital on the wrist of young Kenyan Kipkemboi Kiprono as he battled against some of the world’s top athletes to take third place in the prestigious Cardiff Half Marathon in a breakthrough time of 1 hour, 1 minute and 8 seconds.
“I’d seen some of the race on the BBC on Sunday morning and recognised the yellow Project Africa vest up near the front. 
“We had been involved in helping out the charity by donating old runners and they had mentioned that GPS watches would be especially welcome. 
“So we got a few of those donated and bought a new one,” said Enniskillen Running Club chairman Michael Walsh.
“It was fantastic to then get a message through from Project Africa’s Ciaran Collins on the Sunday night telling us the athlete I’d been watching that morning had been helped by us.”
Ciaran’s message read: “This is Kipkemboi. He finished third today in the Cardiff Half Marathon in a 61.08 pb. He has been using the Garmin Enniskillen donated for his training since April. 
“Thought I would send you across a picture to show it’s been put to good use. 
“He obviously wore it during the race today and has been a real assistance to him.”
The performance perfectly summed up the aim of the project, which has the motto ‘From Nothing to Something’. 
It was established in 2014 to help give talented athletes in rural East Africa a chance to compete internationally and earn a decent living through running. 
Much of this money is then pumped back into developing sustainable projects back in their rural villages.
“This is going to be a life-changing performance for Kipkemboi and for his family and his community so we’re very happy to play a small part in that. 
“Project Africa is an amazing charity and I’d like to thank all those who came out that morning a year ago ... it’s definitely the closest any of us are going to get to a 61 minute half marathon,” Michael added.