Chance Meeting With Kenyan Runner Starts Tradition

Annette Matuszek (left) poses with her longtime friend, Joseph Maina. Photo: Inside Toronto

Annette Matuszek (left) poses with her longtime friend, Joseph Maina. Photo: Inside Toronto

One Toronto-based couple’s charity has paid off.

Annette and John Matuszek first met Joseph Maina 12 years ago. Maina is a Kenyan runner, and, at the time, had been competing at the Hamilton’s Halloween 10K. Recalling the meeting now, Annette says she was struck by the man’s talent and polite demeanor.

Maina is a father of five daughters and when he’s not running, he’s tending to his farm back home.

“Over time, we got to know him really well,” said Mrs. Matuszek. “He is a sweetheart.”

After that initial meeting the couple became friends with the Kenyan. They would drive to and from races and host him in their home when he was in the Toronto area.

“He had some success, but unfortunately, not much above what was needed to pay airfare, room and board while in Canada,” Matuszek said.

At the same time, Maina’s five daughters were growing up quickly. Running wasn’t cutting it, and so the Matuszeks offered to send each of them to a local public high school as each girl became old enough.

For More: Inside Toronto

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