Running Tales

NO BUSINESS 100: A race report, and related events

This is primarily the story of a 100 mile ultra-marathon.

The ultra, NB100, has an actual distance of 104 miles or 166 km, it takes place in Stearns, Kentucky, Trumpland.

This could also be a Going to America story, being my first time across the Pacific. But we’ll try and limit our attention to the ultra.

It’s also fair to warn you this will be a long read. It was a long run. Here we go…

Part 1: Birth of the Ultra idea to arrival at Stearns, Kentucky

How I got to sign up

In 2017 I registered for Berlin Marathon. I wanted to make it a touristy outing, spend about 2 weeks in Europe, but I needed a reason, then I had a eureka moment; sign up for another race a week after Berlin. And I signed up for a 90 km ultra in Poland, and I got justification for my two weeks.

So when I got entry into Chicago Marathon 2018, I thought I’d keep the tradition alive, look for an ultra a week after Chicago, this time upgrade to a 100 miler. Why 100 miles? It is a landmark distance. Lower distance runs earn you a medal, 100 milers generally earn you a buckle, belt buckle. 100 milers also are invariably multi-day events, most having cut off times of more than 30 hours, meaning you run through day and night, meaning you are exposed to much more challenges than the regular long runs. I was curious. Wanted to see what lay beyond the double digit distances.

I engaged the services of a consultant to find me an ultra. Key criteria; should be a week after Chicago, should be at least 100 mile, should ideally be a single loop course (meaning you don’t get to run a section more than once, also you end at the point you started). The consultant, Google, came up with about 5 options, I settled on the one mentioned up there, NoBusiness 100, if you’ve just walked in.

I registered for it in February 2018 and all that remained was good old training.

The build-up

I had 7 months to train.

I had two events to train for: Chicago Marathon, NB100.

I laid out a grand plan: there would be long runs, loong runs and looong runs. I mapped the longest one, 112km, beginning at Fluorspar in Elgeyo Marakwet County, ending at my frontyard in Chepterit, Nandi County. That run would traverse 3 counties. There would be night runs, there would be back to back long runs like a 50k on Saturday, another 50k on Sunday. There would be strength training, and speed work too. I can stand here and declare that the plan, and its creator, deserved a Nobel Prize.

But as I drew my running plan, some dark forces were taking notes, planting landmines along the path of my award winning plans.

The first setback: I did an excellent job of twisting my ankle while running an un-runnable section of Karura Forest. But that didn’t worry me, October was a long way off. The injury would fade away. And it did, though quite slowly, and I resumed running, and discovered I could run in the Nairobi CBD early mornings before the city woke.

It is with the excitement of this discovery that I hit my big toe pretty hard, while running pretty fast, in a pretty dark section of 5:30 am Nairobi CBD. And that was annoying, very annoying. I didn’t stop running, picked myself up and ran the remaining 2 km, all sense dictated I suspend running to allow the toe to heal, the injury actually extended to mid-foot.

But who am I? I ran the following day, and the next, worsening the foot, activating the ankle injury, and on the 8th of June, my run aborted midway, my foot was dead. The next time I would run was 15th of August. These two months were trying times.

But all was not lost, I enrolled in a gym, did strength-work, and core workouts, and pedaled furiously on the bike that takes you nowhere. Idea was to keep the lower limbs active and maintain cardio fitness.

By the time of closing the training logs I had done only 3 runs longer than 40 km, the longest being a 44.6 km run in Voi on June the 2nd. Longest time on feet was 12 hrs, but that was way back in February running up and down Mt. Kenya.

The most psyche boosting of my workouts was an up-and-down Mt. Kenya run of 7 hrs 35 min on the 1st of September, it affirmed that I could be on my feet for long hours without much trouble from the estranged feet.

To make up for the training hiccups I dedicated lots of downtime to literature, reading everything ultra-running, especially hanging onto the theories that ultras are more mental than physical, therein lay my salvation. To further strengthen my faith, I sought out testimonies of people who had run ultras on limited training mileage. And yes there were testimonies, a good number sitting here; http://www.ultrunr.com/lo-mile.html

Despite the interrupted training, I never really considered cancelling the ultra. ‘I am no coward’, ‘I don’t wuss out’ I kept telling myself. My not-cancelling certainly had nothing to do with the $250 non-refundable entry fee.

So with less that 700km mileage in 7 months, I packed my bags and headed to the land of the free and home of the brave.

Introducing Jen Wong…and how we got to Stearns

Jen is American, she ran with Swaras in 2016 when she was in Kenya for 3 months. We first met in a carpool to the famous Fluorspar run where she can be remembered for not being able to keep her hands off the Chapatis…

I mentioned I’d be within her borders running the Chicago Marathon, she said cool! Then I disclosed my Ultra plans and her eyes opened wide and she said if I did the ultra she’d come cheer me…I only had to get her an Urban Swara t-shirt.

I already had ideas on how to spend the blank week between Chicago Marathon and NB100. I also was firming logistics of getting to Stearns, the race location. I would travel to Louisville then onward to a town named London. There was no public transport beyond London, I was yet to figure out how to get to Sterns from London, an 85 km distance.

Jen promptly overruled my plans. ‘YOU HAVE TO SEE NASHVILLE!’ This was a declaration. I said yes ma’am, I would go to Nashville, I would see the Music City, we would rendezvous Friday morning, 12th October, we would drive to Stearns… Nashville is some 323 km from Stearns.

On 8th October, the day after Chicago marathon, I took a bus from Chicago to Nashville, hailed a cab, got collected by Latoya, a nice lady from de Bahamas, she immediately strikes conversation, where was I from? (trust my African accent), ‘Kenya’, said I ‘first time in America?’, ‘yes’, ‘you must be really brave taking the bus your first time here’, she said sounding impressed and I felt sufficiently macho. Indeed the bus experience had been a little seedy.

After a lot more tête à tête on how she was progressing on her American Dream, to how her boyfriend wasn’t committing to a mortgage, that ‘black guys from here have little ambition’, I was annoyed on her behalf,  style up American boyfriend!…and I felt at home in Nashville by the time I got to my Airbnb digs.

Day 1 Nashville: laze mode

Day 2 Nashville: Wander mode, and Jen was absolutely right, Nashville was a gem. (This is where I would have placed a choice Nashville photo, if only my phone had not changed ownership soon after getting back to KE)

I walked the city attractions, bought a 1 day public bus ticket, hopped onto this bus and that bus, round Nashville and its suburbs, just a’ sightseeing, dusk found me in a bus route 21, the bus wasn’t headed downtown, in a fit of decisiveness, I got off the bus, at a random junction, 25th Ave N & Clarksville pike.

I immediately feel out of place, not unsafe but grossly out of place; the junction looks a little shady, there’s an auto garage behind me, a number of people hanging around, the garage has prominent graffiti; no warranties, no guarantees, no refunds, no receipt…, I’d have wanted to take a photo of the juicy graffiti, but I have traces of wisdom. A guy rides past me, on a bike, which has no seat, another one walks by, no shirt, everyone here is a ‘former African’.

I stand at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to downtown, a guy is on one side of me, a lady on the other, it starts drizzling, the lady remarks on the rain, the guy chips in, basic courtesy dictates I contribute to the small talk as I’m between them, not me, I will not open my mouth and betray my straight outta Africa accent, I stare straight ahead, let them think I’m stone deaf.

Bus came after the most uncomfortable 10 mins, onward to downtown, and I headed straight to Broadway, Broadway at night was an event in itself! I was hooked!… but this is not about Nashville, It’s about an ultra, so let’s get on with the ultra….

How we got to Stearns

Jen jets into Nashville very early on Friday the 12th, her call wakes me from my Nashville-suburbish cozy sleep. She picks the car-for-rent and is at my location before I’ve breakfast stuffed myself.

She got a big car, with navigation, and a sunroof. The bigness and navigation was because we were headed to remote country. She said the sunroof was so that she’d sleep under the stars, in her comfy sleeping bag, as I slogged on with the ultra in the night…such talk is no good for someone who will be running through the night, but I swallowed my protest, I was at her mercy…

We left Nashville, Jen punches in coordinates of our destination. We all know how navigation works, the nice lady with a pleasant voice tells you something like, and ‘in 100 metres turn left into Interstate 64, drive on…more directions…you’ve arrived at your destination’.

The voice of the lady in our Navigation, after seeing the coordinates, said that we would get to a point where we would hear her voice no more, as we would have entered an area that had not been mapped. We said fine.

We drove leisurely for a few hours through what Jen said is usually referred to as ‘hillbilly country’. Jen suggested we visit the ‘Blue Smoky Mountains’ after the ultra, I agreed. We passed by a ‘haunted house’ signpost and I suggested we visit it too on our way back.

We got to the point where the navigation lady’s voice retired, drove further, took a wrong turn, drove all the way to the end of road, we find a cemetery, by the cemetery is a barrier, behind the barrier is a trailhead into the forest. Our destination was a town hall, as a rule town halls don’t sit in forests. Lost we were.

We drive back, find our way. And here we are, Stearns, KY.

Jen is a model human. She took a day off work, flew to Nashville, drove hundreds of miles, crewed and paced me. Never mind that she exposed me to pressure at the ultra by her relentless use of the word ‘Kenyan’, she definitely shouldered some fame being the one crewing and pacing the ‘Kenyan’.

This is where you take a break; check on livestock, go for a run…something…in preparation for part 2.

 

Part 2: Pre-race briefing and the Ultra

We checked into the town hall, collected our bibs, and some really cool race gear, I especially loved the North face hoodie and immediately adopted it as my official garb for the remainder of my time in the US.

Mug shots, like the ‘going to prison’ mug shots, were taken for all runners and their pacers, with the race number held prominently. The mug shots came out really nice and I can’t help thinking they would be perfect for a ‘lost person’ notice or an obituary.

At 7pm there was to be a pre-race dinner and briefing.

One important deviation of ultras from road running is that PBs don’t really matter, it’s about getting to the finish line, one 100 miler can never be compared to another. NB100 had a cut-off time of 33 hours. The idea was to get to the finish line before 33 hrs lapsed, but I knew I’d do it in 24 hrs.

Also the harder the ultra, the more popular it is, selling points for ultra-events are adverse conditions starting with elevation gain; put simply, the more the pain the more attractive the ultra. Most runners, however, want their first 100 miler to be an ‘easy one’. NB 100, with less than 4,000 m elevation gain can be classified as ‘easy’, which is one reason I never got very worried, I was confident. In 2017 I had done a 96 km ultra with 5,000 m elevation gain, how hard could a 100 miler with less than 4000 m be?

But this confidence was about to go on trial.

Runners and crew congregated for the dinner and briefing, it also worked well as pre-race intimidation; runners sporting gear for tough races like ‘Tahoe 200’ (a 200 mile race), another has a 500 km Ultra jacket…we sit across from a fellow, Brad Hinton is his name, this is his 13th 100 miler, his first was back in 2009.

‘It’s all about pain tolerance man,’ Brad says looking at me, ‘I may not be fast but I sure can out-last you on pain’ he adds. I shift uneasily in my seat. He wasn’t bluffing, he took off the following day and ended up finishing 4th.

Another runner and his crew join our table, this is his first 100 miler, at last a kindred spirit.

Briefing is done. Apart from how ‘not difficult’ the run would be, emphasis is on being safe, the run would be entirely in the forest, mostly on technical single trail terrain. Runners needed to be careful not to trip on roots and rocks or wipeout on slippery sections. Wild animal problem was not to be expected, there could be bear sightings though, snakes too.

Each runner would be fitted with spot trackers, these make it possible for a runner to be located in real time. In case one veers off course or get lost they can be rescued, it also has a button that can be pressed in an emergency. The organizers took pains to define emergency; extreme hunger, wanting to drop out, regular injury etc are not emergencies…the idea is that emergencies would be situations like if you were half eaten by a bear,  broke both legs and both hands, or if you were dead…

The race starts…

Standing at the start line I couldn’t help feeling out of place. Guys milling around the start line were physically intimidating, Jen said they looked like Vikings.

Thickly built Caucasian legs, the size of teenage tree trunks, were on display. I too, without shame, displayed my skinny Kalenjin legs, those legs have a story. They have endured years as social outcasts, hidden from public view out of shame. Starting from when, back in Secondary school, a ‘friend’ commented on how thin they were. That their thinness stood out in a school with more than 95% Kalenjin population shows rare talent in the thin legs department. His comment ensured I avoided any public display of those legs, it explains why I never wore shorts when I started running back in 2014, it also explains my healthy dislike of people who walk around in shorts, bunch of showoffs….

Now I can display them because I pretend to have matured enough to stop caring, and they are slightly improved.

Well, a race has to start, and it did, at 6am on 13th October 2018.

Off we went, only 166 km to go.

The first parts are uneventful, it’s dark, head-torches bobbing single file in the single lane forest tracks, no incidents, I only twist my ankle once, someone trips over a root, another slides on a slippery rock…all regular stuff.

1st aid station is at 9km, I get rid of my jacket, eat a little, leave aid station, a little later I trip on a sadistic root and land on my wrist. Dang pain but I groan it away.

I make a mental note to be careful, it would be easy to DNF (Did Not Finish) on impact injuries more than anything else. Otherwise these early kilometres are easy, there is thick leaf carpet, decomposing to form humus, It makes me recall the few times I’ve seen ‘hummus’ in food places, a food item I’ve always suspiciously avoided. This must be one of the places they get harvested from…

At about the 30th km I catch up with a lady, Amy is her name, I say mine, she asks where I’m from, ‘Kenya, but I’m a slow Kenyan’ (important to qualify that). We chat for the next few kilometers. She finished this run last year in 24 hrs, she is running it again because last year it was run clockwise and this year it’s the other way. This is her 7th 100 miler, I’m impressed, the more because she looks ‘non-ultraish’, no visible toughness about her.

She asks whether I’m shooting for thereabouts of 24hrs, I say yes, she gives me some solid advice, I decide to stick with her for some time, I would forge ahead if I felt she was slowing me down. My watch indicates I’m on track for a 22hr finish.

After the next aid station, I let Amy have a 30 seconds head start as I tackle a large Banana, I follow her, knowing I’d catch up soon enough. I don’t, she’s melted into the forest trails never to be seen again. Amy Macintire went on to finish as the first female and 5th overall, in 25 hrs…

We had been warned that there would be river crossings, that feet would get wet, that it was wise to have a change of shoes and socks along the race, preferably at Bandy Creek aid station, 97th km. Yes there were a few stream crossings, which, I am proud to report, I managed to expertly navigate, avoiding getting my shoes soggy, I felt quite the ninja. Then I got to aid station number 4, the route markings led to a river bank, I looked to my right, no bridge, looked to my left, no bridge. They had forgotten to put a bridge here, I hesitated shortly, not keen to end my ‘dry ninja feet streak’.

‘Building a raft will take too long’, a runner coming back from across the river says to me.

His statement packs so much truth that I promptly step into the icy waters, after all the water was at best knee deep. But the rocks were slimy, and I slipped and got baptized, much to the entertainment of the cheering people across the river. Death of ninja.

I had so far done 40km, still fresh.

The next aid station would be at 55km.

The devils started taking interest in me at around the 50th km, in quick order my knees got painful, then hunger struck, I had neglected to eat well at the previous aid station, then the area between maybe my 4th and 5th rib began chafing, the pain was a royal nuisance. As if on cue, the aid station seemed to be moving further away….and I started thinking how I had 110 km to go.

By the time I got to the aid station, my pace had reduced from the healthy 7 min/km to 12 min/km.

The sight of food was so exciting that I took a photo of the bounty before I began devouring it. There was this food item that looked like pale Chapati, it tasted very agreeably, I ate one after the other until I felt the nice volunteer manning the aid station was looking at me rather suspiciously. I would learn that Tortilla is the name of the pale Chapati, I later observe them being ‘cooked’ at subsequent aid stations, thence did I understand the volunteer’s puzzled looks, his mind must have been, ‘dude’s already lost it, he’s eating raw dough’.

Food matters over, I asked whether anyone had Elastoplast, their blank looks reminded me the name should be ‘Band-Aid’ on these sides of the world. I remembered I had spare Band-Aid in my bag, got it out, taped over the chafing area.

I stocked some food and left the station a new man.

Soon after I catch up with a runner, we chat up. His name is Bart Borguis, he is a Prof in Louisville, has a marathon PB of 2:32, very impressive. It’s his first 100 miler, he’s moved to ultras as he’s getting ‘old’ for road marathons and their intensive training, asks me where I’m from (everyone keeps asking me where I’m from), ‘Kenya’ I say, adding the standard ‘slow-Kenyan’ disclaimer, he asks me where in Kenya, ‘Nandi’.

He knows all about Kenyan running, the Rift Valley, the Kalenjin. He gives me his theories of why ‘we’ are fast; altitude, poverty, bird-like legs with high calves…

I’m about to ask him ’but why shift to ultras’, but I hang the thought, I wouldn’t be able to answer the same question.

It has been observed that the recreational running and ultra-running scenes are dominated by middle-aged, middle-income, mid-life crisis sort of people (I am one of those who doesn’t not fall in any of those categories, unless you add ‘aspiring’ before them…) everyone has their opinion on the demographics and reasons for running ultras. One consensus though is that ultra runners are a bunch of masochists, intentionally seeking out pain…

Bart soon zooms off after an aid station and I vow not to talk to any other runner, it makes them faster.

Me on this side, Jen in the middle, Bart on that side; refueling under the watchful eyes of Jen.

By the time I got to 80 km I was dangerously swinging between highs and lows, and I was getting annoyed, annoyed at the endless forest, annoyed that I was irrigating the already well-watered forest far too many times, annoyed at the many rock formations, the only sight that could excite me was the finish line. I also was exclusively walking, didn’t matter whether it was uphill, downhill, flat. Walking. The pains in my knees, groin and soles of feet were unrelenting.

I attribute these early difficulties to lack of sufficient training mileage.

The aid station at 88 km was one of the most memorable. There was this chicken soup, I asked the nice volunteer lady for it, she said it was very hot, I said fine, she said pepper-hot, I said fine. Drank the thing, it was HOOT, you should have seen me sweat, out of respect I had to finish it. The soup seemed to wake me from the dead, and I left the aid station with some life in me.

Little did I know I was yet to get into the darkest hours of my running career, literally and figuratively.

Behold the night

Night came, just after daylight left, I was at 90 km.

I changed into a thermal top and slacks at the next aid station, 97km. the slacks were to keep my feet warm, I thought it would help with the pain, plus I needed to generally keep warm as I didn’t foresee any more running.  Sleep started playing hide and seek with me almost immediately, I was able to just barely ward it off until I trudged into the next aid station at 105km.

Aid station 105km had a roaring fire and some camping chairs around it, there was a slight drizzle too.

Jen was to pace me to the next aid station, a 10km distance. I proposed to take some time by the fire as I was trembling, and a 10 min nap while at it as I was sleepy. Jen said Ok, 5 minutes. Seated next to me by the fire was a guy violently trembling and dry heaving, a survival blanket around his shoulders. He had already exgested all ingested food.

We left the aid station, a welcome relief to have someone accompany me in the dark night, ghosts of sleep were kept at bay, Jen gallantly fighting a losing battle to improve my speeds of between 13 to 15 min/km, she succeeded however in making me commit to latch onto the decent walking pace of a guy 20 metres ahead of us.

She filled me in on news; a guy had dropped out after being bitten by a snake, another had an accident and injured himself so bad that he had to be pulled out etc. presently our 20-metres-ahead guy sat on the side of the trail to fight his personal demons, probably sleep. How I wanted to do the same! Jen couldn’t allow it, managing to keep me on my feet for the endless 10 km.

Finally, we got back to aid station, I headed straight to the fire as Jen arranged my feeding. The pains were relentless, I asked for meds, Jen got me Ibuprofen, for the first time I took painkillers while on a run.

I was in no position to go out into the forest immediately. I informed Jen I’d take a 10 min nap and promptly closed my eyes, shutting out the troubles of this world. I woke up to Jen standing over me, giving me the marching orders, ‘are you going to get up and go’. The tone, and the look on her face, she wasn’t amused…only much later as I analyzed my run, did I  realize I had spent a whole hour and 10 minutes by that fire.

The 20-metre-ahead guy had come in, sat on the ground, said he was taking a 10 minute nap. Jen later informed me he never left, woke up to pull out of the race. Fire and sleep, lethal combination. That could have been me had Jen been nicer…

The next leg started beautifully, I was energized, the pains were gone probably because of the drug, it was around 2.30 am. Even the slight drizzles didn’t bother me, for a few kilometers I could run-walk.

Then sleep came back, badder than ever, and hallucinations. I had read stories of people sleep-walking and hallucinating in ultras, they have always struck me as exaggerations… until it happened to me.

For 2 hours I was walking intermittently in a daze, eyes literally closing as I walked, real danger of walking into a tree or off course, I was forced to sit on the forest floor to nap, despite Jen’s snake story actively discouraging the nap stops. Runners would stop and ask whether I was fine, I’d say I was fine, just sleepy. ‘Alright, don’t stay too long’ they’d add and fly on.

Direction played games with my mind. I could habitually see headlights of runners up ahead, to my right, this would naturally mean that the route turns would trend right, yet all turns seemed to trend left, yet the lights were always on my right, but I kept turning left.  It was worrying and confusing.

At some point I thought I saw Bart run past me, I couldn’t figure whether it was real or not. I later learnt he unfortunately DNF’d.

The rain too never stopped, making the ground a little treacherous, there were these horse-trail sections with quicksand type surfaces, making movement a laborious exercise… In summary all the ghosts of the night directed their best arsenal at me and had a field day of it. I got out of the night a shaken man.

Somehow the night didn’t seem too long, maybe because half the time I was drifting in and out of consciousness, sleepwalking and napping.

At around 6 am, I got some new power. Barring disaster, I knew I was going to finish. The remaining distance featured in my mind as ‘only 40 km’. Somehow all the hills were packed in these last kilometers, but no matter, life was good, rain too would let up. Smooth going hardly makes a story worth telling, so to save you a few yawns I’ll spare the details of the morning hours and skip all the way to the last aid station where I shed off my slacks and jacket and embarked on the last leg.

Jen met me at around 161 km, with the new shoes she was breaking into in readiness for New York marathon. The shoes didn’t look new anymore by the time we finished.

We made little work of the last 5 km to a rapturous reception by the AWESOME race volunteers and officials at the finish line.

Finish time 30hrs 37 mins. Buckle earned.

I’ve supposedly been ‘cultured’ not to show emotion but even that couldn’t prevent me from feeling a ka-small lump in my throat as I soaked in the reality of what had just happened. A lady finishing a few minutes after me was overwhelmed by emotion, for a few minutes she couldn’t utter a word, sobbing softly the whole time, locked in embraces with her crew and race officials.

Of 96 starters, 39 finished. A 40% finish rate. I was the 24th finisher.

Finishing an ultra is also a factor of good fortune, you can be 100% physically ready but still DNF due to accidents. Broken limbs and other body trauma are common especially in technical terrain ultras. Some runners are unable to keep food down, and woe unto your run if you can’t fuel.

Aside from accidents and other health issues, time contributes to a good number of DNF. Apart from the overall cut-off time, each aid station has its own cut-off. If you are behind this cut-off you will automatically be withdrawn from the race, it does not matter if it is the last aid station.

Having completed the 100 miler on less than 700 km training mileage, I am convinced 100 miles is not as tough as it sounds, most recreational runners would finish a 100 miler with the normal training runs and the right state of mind. Still it’s better to have good mileage in those legs.

A post-mortem

Don’t Make post-run plans.

With a finish time of 30.5 hrs from a confident target of 24hrs, plans to visit Jen’s Blue Smoky Mountains went up in smoke. So too did the haunted house, though I felt satisfactorily haunted by the night ghosts of the ultra.

There was to be Nashville celebrations, some Music City mementos to collect, a day tour of New York. My battered body disrespectfully declined any invitation to unnecessary movement. Plans cancelled. Jen was however determined that I experience the famous Southern BBQ. A real treat and befitting way to reward the assaulted body.

Despite the Ultra tribulations, some things went well for me;

  • No single blister: Me and my oversized shoes made a dream team. The shoes took all the beating and my feet came out unscathed.  I never had to change shoes or socks despite the water crossings. The shoes are now headed for retirement, or plastic surgery.
  • Food and fluid: I had good appetite all along, headquarters at stomach didn’t reject anything directed their way. Tortillas were in danger of extinction as soon I discovered them, I am confident no other runner ate as much tortillas as I did. Oranges kept my taste buds spruce, bananas were my take-away favorites. Hydration was 50-50 mix of coke (dark drink, not white powder) and water, until I felt overhydrated and reduced it to 80-20, and began taking an isotonic drink called ‘sword’.
  • Injuries: the injuries that had strangled my training kept out of sight the entire time.
  • Presence of mind: I feel my mind stayed where it was supposed to be pretty well. Even through the dark ages between 80 and 125km…. Jen insists I ‘cry-babied a little’, such talk shouldn’t reach my ancestors.
  • Positive vibes: Aid stations were a joy, the volunteers making sure you got regal treatment…it was like a 100 mile party. Breaking down the distance into aid-station-to-aid-station segments made it infinitely easier on the mind.

What I would do better

  • Mileage, mileage, mileage. Never again am I running such a race with such scarcity of mileage.
  • Sleep: I still have zero ideas on this. Tips from you, oh wise ones, are welcome…not miraa though.

Would I run another 100 miler? It is exactly a month after the NB100, the pains are all but forgotten while the blissful feelings of achievement remain intact. I’d probably warm up to another 100… in the distant future.

The End.

P.S. This is by far my longest write-up. We salute you for going the distance….

The Very End.

 

They remembered to put a bridge here…such sights offered some distraction from the pains…

Jen, a Finisher, and the all-important buckle: This Jen’s smile was very absent when this finisher was ‘cry-babying’ at 116km…Those sausage fingers are a result of nasty fall at 12km

News

17th November 2018 run @ Karinde, Dagoretti Road

Saturday’s run will be at Karinde, along Dagoretti Road.

Location

We will meet at Garage Car Wash Restaurant which is opposite the Karinde A.P. police post on Dagoretti Road, a few metres from the Southern Bypass if approaching it from Karen. Please look out for the Urban Swaras banner outside the venue.

Google Maps pin here.

Distances

10, 15, 20, 25 and 30km

Route description

Approximately 80% trail, 20% Tarmac.

Breakfast & facilities

Breakfast and facilities cost will be 250/- per person.

Timings

The run will be flagged off at 0700. Please allow time to register before the run begins.

Confirmations

Confirmations are required to the club coordinator by Thursday at 1400.

News

10th November 2018 run @ Bavaria Gardens, Westlands

Saturday’s run will take place at Bavaria Gardens restaurant, Karuna Close, Westlands.

Location

Google Maps pin here.

Distances

10, 15, 20 and 25km.

Route description

Approximately 90% tarmac, 10% trail.

Breakfast and facilities

Breakfast and facilities cost will be 450/- per person.

Timings

The run will be flagged off at 0700. Please allow time to register before the run begins.

Confirmations

Confirmations are required to the club coordinator by Thursday at 1400.

News

3rd November 2018 run @ Adams Arcade shopping centre

Saturday’s run will take place at Adams Arcade shopping centre, Ngong Road, Nairobi.

Location

We will meet at the shopping centre car park, located behind the Total petrol station. This is on the left hand side on Ngong Road, as you’re heading towards Ngong town. Google Maps pin here.

Distances

10, 15 and 20km.

Breakfast and facilities

The parking is charged at 50/- for the first three hours. Breakfast is optional and can be taken at Java House.

Timings

The run will be flagged off at 0700. Please allow time to register before the run begins.

Confirmations

Confirmations are not required.

News

27th October 2018 run @ Nairobi Arboretum & 28th October 2018 Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon

This weekend we’ll have a pre-marathon easy run and stretching on Saturday, then Sunday is the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon 2018.

Location

The run will take place at the Nairobi Arboretum, located off State House Road. We’ll set off from the main car park. Google maps pin here.

Distance

5km only as a warmup, then guided stretches in preparation for the marathon.

Breakfast and facilities

Breakfast will be optional and can be taken at the Arboretum kiosks. Parking is charged at 50/- per vehicle.

Timings

The run will be flagged off at 0700. Please allow time to register before the run begins.

 

Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon 2018

The marathon is finally here and we are all ready to conquer it. We’ve put together a team of 134 members who will earn us those points to scoop the trophy of the team challenge.

We’ll have a tent at the finish line where breakfast will be provided to club members. We’ll also have dedicated support points and bicycle support for members. Remember to wear your club T-shirt!

This is going to be the best marathon ever! Swaras: bring that trophy home!

News

20th October 2018 run @ Karura Forest, Limuru Road

Saturday’s run will take place at Karura Forest, off Limuru Road opposite the Belgian Embassy.

Directions

We will meet at the Limuru Gate car park that is next to the entrance.

Google maps link here.

Distances

10, 15, 20 and 25km.

Breakfast and facilities

Parking is 100/-. Breakfast is optional and can be taken at Java House Gigiri.

Timings

The run will be flagged off at 0700. Please allow time to register before the run begins.

Confirmations

Confirmations are not required.

 

Note that due to a ban on disposable bottles within the forest, we recommend bringing your own sports bottles.

News

13th October 2018 run @ Legends Restaurant, Ngong Rd, Karen

This Saturday’s run will be at Legends Restaurant, Ngong Road, Karen.

Directions

From Nairobi follow Ngong Road and go all the way past Dagoretti Corner, past Lenana School, past the Shell Petrol Station in Karen, past Dari Restaurant then look out for Legends on the right.

From Ngong or Karen, it is 200m on the left after Karen shopping centre.

Google Maps link here.

Distances

10, 15, 20 & 25km

Breakfast and facilities

Breakfast and facilities cost will be 450/- per person.

Timings

The run will be flagged off at 0700. Please allow time to register before the run begins.

Confirmations

Confirmations are required to the club coordinator by Thursday at 1400.

News

6th October 2018 run @ Berra Inn Hotel, Ngong

This Saturday’s run will be at Berra Inn Hotel, Ngong.

Directions

Follow Ngong Road all the way to Ngong Town. You will get to a T junction at which point take the right turn. Drive on for a short distance then take another right turn at a small roundabout which leads to you Kibiko. After 2.7 km, at the end of the tarmacked road, take a right turn onto another tarmacked road. Drive alongside a forest at the edge of which turn left, and follow the signs that takes you Berra Hotel.

Google Maps pin here.

Distances

10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35  & 40km

Breakfast

Cost is 350/- per person.

Confirmations

Please send in your confirmations to the club coordinator by 1400hrs on Thursday.

Timings

The run starts at 0700hrs.