Quite some coincidence that I’m writing this supposedly ‘fulfilling’ marathon experience just after reading about the dangers and folly of marathons. You may call them naysayers; don’t, the article is absolutely true…I’m already thinking that once I get sufficiently scared, I’ll drop this marathon craze and redirect my energies to a grander substitute; Ultra marathons…:)
Moving on to the marathon at hand.
With the running bug having bitten quite deep, Victoria Falls marathon was a natural contender for marathons to conquer in 2016, its case strongly seconded by past mouthwatering tales of the run and the extras on offer.
The Swara out of town runs are usually to look forward to; a Swara is invariably a running tourist. So the llovoto run was a go by this Swara both for the tourism reason, and serious running business as a chance to build up mileage in preparation for the next marathon.
As we zigged and zagged through the Mombasa road traffic, I was anticipating a run right up my alley, the circulated pre-run info had indicated the terrain as ‘undulating’, but who were they fooling, probably someone wanted to use a catchy word. No matter, Kambaland is well known to be flatland all the way from Syokimau as far as the eye can see, with only a few wannabe hills here and there.
Its one day shy of a week after the Kilimanjaro Marathon as you sit down to muse over last weekend’s happenings. Providence decided to hand you the busiest, most hectic week it could muster just after your 42 kms, the Monday after not spared.
You are unsure whether you can still recall the details of your outing; so you do a test run of your memory and ah, you are not a complete dunderhead; you clearly recall that you travelled down to Moshi on Saturday the 27th, you further recall that seated to your right was the eminent swara wordsmith and encyclopedia; Ndung’u Kahihu. The rest of the swaras populating the seats behind…
The Graceland upcountry run 5th edition cannot go unmentioned. It is one of those runs with a conscience; there can hardly be a nobler cause to running than educating someone…
Humans are supposedly selfish, so apart from the obvious cause, one can be allowed to add a secondary goal, like make this a speedwork prep for the upcoming Kili marathon. This swara did just that.
On this year’s Jamhuri Day, fifteen Swaras headed to Eburu for a Scouting run.
What is Scouting?
Most swaras have wondered how the memorable trails they run every Saturday are discovered. Others have posed the question to Chairman. Therefore the ‘Scout masters’ decided to drag along a few of the curious ones on one such engagement.
So scouting is, ‘agreeing on a geographical area to be scouted, run around it looking for trails, getting lost, hitting dead ends, and if lucky getting back to where you started from. At the end of it, a run route is born (loosely chairman’s words)’. In retrospect, it is a ‘dark art’ as a Swara (Shem) had correctly speculated.
True to form, a sizeable number of swaras (13 I hear), myself included were able to attend the Ingo marathon on 28th November 2015. I was a bit unsure of participating having attempted the ultra just a week before.
Allow me a word on the ultra before we get to Kakamega.
Mt Kenya Ultra; Mini-Brief
This is a run that I totally outdid myself. I showed up with an open mind with a cautious ‘run till I drop’ goal. Finishing would be a bonus.
There seemed to be a few other bonuses in the bag; the excellent trail, good mountain air, rain, rain and more rain.
Heading to Sego Lodge down the picturesque escarpment from the Iten side, I get a premonition of what to expect, the distance from Iten town-at the top of the escarpment- coincidentally being 42 kms, same distance as the full run.
I arrive at the Lodge at half past seven to find the car park full of swara cars, testament of the Flourspar run magnetism. I check in, head for supper, land at a table with Sam and Ferrah, they soon lose me in their elite run talk. They are to take on the full 43 kms, more famously ‘tarmac to tarmac’.