Highlights of the year; that’s what I see all over on TV, Papers and other forms of media, social and antisocial. It being the seasonal fad, who am I to be left behind? So idling away the dying hours of 2016, I reckon it’s not the worst idea to idle away mulling over a little running. So if you find this long, unhurried and random it is because it is long, unhurried and random.
Like many Swaras who attempted their first 42KMs, I am elated. I am still walking awkwardly but there is a bounce to that awkwardness and a smile; once in a while a wince when I forget and the pain jolts me back to reality! It’s the most rewarding and humbling experience to do the full marathon and finish, especially in the punishing heat, for yesterday, the mighty sun summoned all its off springs to ‘rain’ down on Nairobi!
Today was incredible for me, accomplishing my first ever marathon! I’m beside myself with excitement at having entered the famous (or infamous) Club42!!
I’m particularly delighted because I trained for 4:30 and I finished just inside that time – 4:29:27 by my Garmin.
I have special appreciation for the support volunteers and the CRE for organising such fantastic support. I know, for a fact, I would not have made it without your encouragement and ensuring I had fruit and Fanta at intervals.
The Mulley’s Half Marathon 2016 took place on Sunday 9th October from the People’s Park in Machakos. It would be my first visit to Machakos People’s Park, that being one of the reasons for my excitement. Arriving there at 6.30 a.m approximately, Swara Henry seemed to be the first arrival, he who often posts images from Swara Runs on his Facebook page accompanied by nice words. He was accompanied by a pal of his from Safaricom.
They were united by their love for running; but, other than that, they came for all sorts of reasons. Some for the scenery, some to conquer the mountain, others to commune with mountainous pachyderms. But what almost all of them ended up doing on Saturday 24th September was to conquer themselves, yet again. Some did this by setting new distance and endurance records, some set new records in sheer obstinate grit and never say die attitude. In this, our biggest, and longest Ultra Marathon to date did not disappoint. It is impossible to capture all the stories of triumph and near disaster, in any case most of them have been much better told. But here is my small sample:
This run can only be recounted with a lot of pride, notwithstanding the reality that your body is a pile of ruins. We’ll try to make this as summarized as possible…what to write is just too much, after all it was an ultra.
Date: Saturday 24th September 2016
Place: Somewhere at the foot of Mt. Kenya
The turnout is impressive, droves of Swaras arriving early to make sure they don’t miss out on the penance they are here to pay for their various transgressions. The heavens tease runners with mild showers and dark menacing clouds; for a moment it seems Ndungu’s rain stopper is sleeping on the job. The dampness of the weather nevertheless not dampening the runners’ singularity of purpose.
Three pairs of worn out running shoes, grumbling running partners (that woman is too stubborn!), blisters and limping into the spa barefoot because my feet are sore and I am too worn out to be bothered for a massage and mani-pedi after every major run. It’s amazing how much mileage you burn when you put your head to it and the year is not over. I have been running a minimum of 50kms a week since January to date, regardless of where I am in the world. Below are some of the highlights:
MT KENYA ULTRA RUN