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Author Archives: Shem Kiptoon
This man Otora is either a genius or a sadist, or both! (Mensa & BDSM Anonymous, anyone?) Loved and loathed by Swaras in about equal measure: usually loved before the start of a run and perhaps during the early stages when all is smooth, then loathed when the going gets tough usually way into the run when the end is nowhere in sight and support is faltering, and then loved some minutes after the run when each person’s equilibrium has been restored.
Amazing scenes were witnessed yesterday in Olepolos when the Swaras descended on the sleepy town of Kisamis in a convoy of vehicles. No doubt the locals must have known that there was something major in the offing with wave upon wave of vehicles arriving bearing their unsuspecting passengers…
Although the run was to kick off at 7.30am, most had arrived well before that time and were huddled in groups catching up as they waited for the off. A chilly morning it was and we could barely make out Ngong hills, obscured by thick mist, in whose shadow the run is set.
a) you are a fitness freak and someone lied to you that running is up there with the best forms of exercise? 😉
b) you have some pent up steam from work during the week that needs to be worked off before the weekend can start?
c) you need to pay for Friday night’s indiscretions or perhaps make advance payment for the excesses that are bound to happen over the weekend?
d) you love the idea of trying to decipher chalk-marks on the ground and subsequently following them over all manner of terrains in all weather?
e) you really have nothing better to do on any given Saturday morning so why not do it just for kicks?
f) None of the above.
g) All of the above.
Among the many refreshing things about Swara runs is the sheer variety of different places where the runs are staged. In fact, no run is ever like another even when set in the same locality and so for the most part when you line up at the start you really have no idea what to expect. And perhaps the best way to prepare for any run is to first do away with any preconceived ideas of what the run may turn out to be…
How to describe the just concluded Kilimanjaro Marathon? Two words come to mind: nasty, long and brutal. OK, I’m sure some will have figured out where that is stolen from even if corrupted, and yes I know those are not two words either but my brain is fried and I can’t quite count properly just now…
One can think of a few more words too: punishing, unforgiving, searing heat, hot sweaty affair, intractably exhausting, difficult terrain, testing the limits of one’s endurance, pure unadulterated insanity, so on and so forth. But all those are mere negatives that do not even take away from what is otherwise a wonderful run.
The simple picture message sent by Ashok on Saturday read: “A marathon is an event where everyone is equal and ordinary at the start line… but a legend is born at the finish?.” And sure enough a number of legends were born at yesterday’s Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon.
I was? privileged to be among the Swaras who were making their full marathon debut, together with my training partners Lawrence Kibet, Kenneth Muchina and Karanu Waweru. Other debutants include Marrion Kimani, Anthony Mwai, and I believe MK and Brendan too. I am not sure who else from the Swaras team, but feel free to add to the list. So there we were lined up at the start, set and ready to make history even if only at a personal level for most of us.
Ndakaini is one of those places that has managed to build a reputation of being something of a giant killer. This fearsome attribute has become such stuff of legend with reports of an impossibly hilly terrain guaranteed to squeeze out the last ounce of strength left in any runner’s reserves…
And so it goes that yours truly having heard all the horror stories about it, and being an intrepid Swara to boot, didn’t need much encouragement to give it a go this year. And he wasn’t alone judging from the response to the sign-up call from Susan earlier in the week that ensured that there were many yellow (mostly) and pink-shirted Swaras to add colour to the event.
This is a ‘short’ account (the official abridged version) of our trip to the Victoria Falls for the Vic Falls marathon run that was held on the 28th of July 2015. The following events happened in real time between 0630Hrs on Friday the 26th of June and 1842Hrs on Wednesday the 1st of July 2015 in at least six different countries of eastern and southern Africa. If any of it is/was contrary to local and international laws or liable to cause a diplomatic incident(s), this is by no means an admission of guilt by any or all of the parties involved whether singly, jointly or severally.