Kendra Chambers is an international 800m Runner from the USA. She was a member of the 2017 World Relay team in the 4 x 800m as well as at the World Indoor Championships in 2015 and a Semi Finalist in the Olympic Trials in 2016. As well as having achieved all of the above, She is an 8x All American Champion and Texas state Champion. Initially a 400m Runner Kendra made the brave switch to becoming an 800m half way through her collegiate career and is now well on her way to hopefully becoming one of the best in the World as a Middle distance runner.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Kendra told us she had moved to Texas with her Mother at around the age of 3, after her Mother and Father had gotten a divorce. Being half African – American on her Father’s side and half Mexican – American on her Mother’s side presented some unique challenges. Being of mixed heritage, people would often question why Kendra didn’t look exactly the same as other members of her family, including her own mother. Aside from all that Kendra had to deal with not always having her father present in her life when she needed him. Her Aunts and uncles were able to take on the role of secondary Father and Mother figures and visits to see her Father in Arizona helped make things a little easier but it was still difficult.
Kendra began as a dancer as a little girl and also played soccer. Remarkably she didn’t even start running competitively till around the age of 15. This was after one of the track coaches noticed her speed on the soccer field and without hesitation invited her to tryout. She took up the offer and immediately her talent was apparent as she quickly and naturally adapted to the sport. Almost immediately success followed as she quit everything else to focus on track and it wasn’t long before she’d go on to win the state championship as a Senior aged 17 before going on to win a scholarship to run track at the University of Texas in 2008. The first year there Kendra really struggled. “The workouts were extremely hard and not something I was used to, so it took a lot of getting used to and quite a while to adjust” she said, but once she did and she’d figured things out a little, there was no stopping her. Kendra went on to excel winning Conference Championships before going on to qualify for the 2012 Olympic trials, with one of the best ever times as a college student in the US. It was at that moment that she realised she had a God given gift to run track and in her mind, a clear decision was made that being a professional athlete was something she wanted to do as a career.
After University, she graduated but was without a coach for reasons beyond her control, as a result, frustration set in a little and Kendra decided she would take a year out, not knowing whether or not she really wanted to continue chasing her athletic dream. Within a year though, after having had time to clear her head and refocus, she made the decision to recommit and after first having gone to train in San Antonio Texas, where she was able to set a new Personal record in the 800m Kendra decided to move state to Philadelphia, where she began the journey to her dream of representing the US at the 2020 Olympics and becoming one of the best 800 runners in the World . Since that time in 2015, she has been in the top ten of US athletes competing in the 800m, while travelling all over the world, representing her country on the International stage.
Having had overcome quite a few obstacles, we asked her how her faith had helped in this and whether or not it had always played a big part in her life. As a child Kendra told us ‘I always felt extremely happy knowing there was love from this God who I’d never met in person and that there wasn’t anything I could do to ever mess things up. As a perfectionist all my life, I always felt pressure to not mess up but with him I knew that didn’t matter. I knew I was created in his image and that no matter what I did, it couldn’t stop him loving me. That was a big relief and helped me stop worrying so much about who I was and what I looked like”. Kendra told us she had been raised going to Church with her Grandmother who was a strong believer, unfortunately she died when Kendra was around the age of 12 and the faith of all the family was challenged by that. That experience left Kendra away from God for a while but in all her problems she knew he was still with her and it was later in life that she would recommit as a Christian to following Jesus and trusting in him completely, in the same way she always did as a little girl.
When asked what she wanted our Fight for the fatherless family and all you guys to learn from her story. She simply said. “I want you to know that as Young people you are often judged by others in everything you say and do but God doesn’t judge you and that allows you to be whoever you want to be. Your circumstances will never dictate that and whether your parents are in your life or not , that doesn’t matter either. Your purpose is greater than your circumstances, there’s a reason why God put you here Your Job is to find out why.”
Kendra’s next target is to do well over the season and to try and make the World championship team for Doha this year and then she’ll be targeting the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. It’s going to be a big 2 years for Kendra and we hope to be a part of travelling that journey alongside her and hearing more from Kendra over the coming months.