When they said the New York Marathon ‘will move you’, I did not think it literally. It’s taken slightly over a month before I could get the right words to caption my experience. When I reflect back on my journey to the Big Apple, I realize this movement started way back thanks to role models like James Waliaula. When you have a dream to conquer the big races, one needs to make a move. So I balloted for the Big Apple but failed in the ballot process and my next move was to try the other several options available. My confirmation came through a sports tour company.
Its 4am on a random weekday, my alarm goes off and I drag myself out of bed wearily. The morning cold hits me in a rush as I push the warm blankets away. The temptations to go back are higher than getting out to fulfill my marathon training schedule. I am lucky this time, the latter overshadows the former. 30 mins later, I’m on the road to the gym with music playing in the car stereo to get me in the mood for my morning Run. The same routine is repeated every day, with speed runs and hill reps being my nightmarish days.
My experience at Kigali last weekend was Just like the city of many hills – up and down. The city is built in a hilly country, sprawling across about four ridges and the valleys in between. The city center is located on one of these ridges, with the main government area on another. The tops of the ridges have an average elevation of 1,600 meters, while the valleys around 1,300 m. The city is ringed most of the way round by higher hills, with some suburban sprawl rising up these. The highest of these is Mt. Kigali, with an elevation of 1,850 m above sea level (this is equivalent to Nairobi).
Having read many Swara accounts on their experience at the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon, I did not see the need to write another article fearing it would be the same/repeat of what most of you have been reading. However, it took Nduku’s (aka Tata) telephone call on Thursday at 1:30pm to convince me to write something. I was impressed at how she convinced me, “Davis, you know everyone went through a different experience even those who are keeping quiet”. Tata said. And I thought, she is talking about me and all the timid souls (oops sorry “legends”) who have a story to share no matter how bad it was. It also got me thinking, that the more we share on our different experiences, the more we learn on some do’s and don’ts in a marathon.
Having done this run last year, I was upbeat to take a revenge on the long (7km) but not too steep hill which Munyao beat me to last year. I’m really thankful to have met Munyao at the Mulley’s Machakos Half Marathon last year because without him, I would not have joined the Swaras and probably would not have written this article. Going by the route map, which I insisted to be given as I registered for this run, the course was pretty much the same as last year save for the start and finishing points which were moved from the main Machakos Stadium to the Machakos Peoples Park.
What happened on August 29th 2015 in the simmering hot weather in the hills of Kajiado is something that has taken me one whole week to comprehend and attempt to explain. When the Kajiado run came up, there was little talk on how tough it was. Probably I might have listened to those who talked about how scenic it was than how tough it would be. What follows is my ordeal in Kajiado while attempting to run 30km which changed to 20km.
If I said I had plans to do a full marathon within the first half of this year, I would be lying. Lewa Marathon would be the last place to attempt and do my first full marathon. You see I have attempted to do half marathons at the Lewa not once but twice (in 2012 and 2014) and in both cases failing miserably. So by now you get my point, Lewa was the last place I would even think I will try to do a full marathon or so I thought.