News

Urban Swaras 22nd February @ Adams Arcade

This week we hand over to Monica Mirigo, a Swara diasporan who has rejoined the ranks of Swaras on home turf, and what better way to re-baptise herself a Swara than by not only running Graceland but also giving us all a rerun of the unforgettable events! Over to Monica, in this week’s Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/jcbVzdYrwVLQppgr?ref=Link

Next week’s run

This week we’re bringing it back home to Nairobi, specifically to Adams Arcade, on Ngong Road, for a flat(ish) run with no options of marathon-style distances, so that those who did Graceland can recover, those who are doing Kilimanjaro Marathon can taper (anyone who doesn’t know what that means form an orderly queue behind me, maybe someone will enlighten us!), and everyone in between can choose their distance and share an encouraging breakfast!

Date: Saturday 22nd February 7am

Venue: Adams Arcade, Ngong Road, meeting point in the car park (spot the sea of yellow t shirts)

Distance: 5, 10,15, 20, and 25km.

Run type: mostly an urban run, true to our name!

Breakfast: Breakfast is to be taken at your leisure at Java, Adams Arcade where you pay for what you consume.

Google Maps link to the venue: https://g.page/adams-arcade?share

Directions to the venue: Take Ngong Road in the direction of the Junction Mall. Adams Arcade is on your left just after Prestige Mall and GreenHouse mall, behind the Total Petrol station.

Facilities: Breakfast available on site, plenty of parking, standard KAPS parking fees apply

Registration: Registration is required, please fill out your details here: https://forms.gle/cKnk4xSSTJuMPwcs9

Guests: As always, guest fees of 500ksh apply. Please share the following link with anyone interested in joining the club for the first time: http://urbanswaras.co.ke/new-members/
This week’s Starting Line not only has a selection of photographic highlights from Graceland Upcountry Run, but also a Google Drive link to the photos of the Ultra Marathoners receiving their medals and prizes. But truth be told, every one who ran is prize-worthy, and most of all Wachira Nderitu, who put the whole event on, in aid of disadvantaged students of Graceland Girls’ Secondary School, so three cheers for him (let me hear you). Contributions can be made to the school’s bursary fund by m pesa 0722 557 854. Link to the Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/jcbVzdYrwVLQppgr?ref=Link
#AdamsAndEvesIt

News

Urban Swaras 15th February @ Graceland, Chaka, Nyeri County

We already knew that pouring rain, beating sun, threats of natural disasters, and city-wide traffic shutdowns can’t stop Swaras, but now we see that even a grave misspelling can’t stop Swaras on a Saturday morning! What was advertised as ‘Shade Lounge’ was in fact ‘The Shed’. Either way, we came to run, and my my we certainly did! We had takers for all the distances, from 5km to 35km, with a glorious (not sure if that’s really the right adjective) staircase at the final stretch to crown it all. It truly was a beautiful run, and perfect terrain to put our February fitness levels to the test!

Breakfast was a leisurely affair on the first floor of the shed (yes, this was a fancy shed with more than one storey), with many mandazis, samosas, and cups of tea circulating, as everyone rested and stretched and massaged their hard-worked muscles. Buzz around Graceland was audible, with everyone looking forward to the big annual run, see details below! Once again, it was a delight to see so many new faces, keep it up!

Check out the Starting Line for pictures of the run: https://sway.office.com/AphBsOdUTyExznHG?ref=Link

Next week’s run

Graceland has a special place in many people’s hearts, as a second home (outside of Nairobi) to the Urban Swaras, and as an exemplary educational institution for talented young girls. 

Every year Swaras come out in force for the Graceland Upcountry Run, which is now incredibly in its 9th edition, and is an official feature on the Swaras calendar! 

Long-time Swara Wachira Nderitu is the driving force behind this charity run, to raise money for the bursary fund for Graceland Girls, and he has already shared some details, but here they are once again, as well as a video to get you geared up: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fGI1D1gXh1BgUGxlpPFkdmejCEZbRgJ_/view?usp=sharing

The Graceland Upcountry Run is happening on Saturday 15th February, at Graceland School, Chaka, Nyeri County (link to venue: https://goo.gl/maps/sL8WFUnsJaehi6bQ8). This is approximately 2.5-3 hours from Nairobi, set in rolling hills and beautiful greenery.

The distances are 15km, 25km and 45km. the 15 and 25km are flagged off at 8.30am, the 45km will be flagged off at 7am. 

generous and extremely social dinner will be served by the host, Wachira, at Graceland School, on the Friday 14th February from 7.30pm…wine and whisky included for those who so wish!

There are several accommodation options to choose from.The newest hotel near Graceland is Beakin Resort which is supporting the run by charging 2k per double down from 4k. They have 20 rooms.

The other ones are Thego Resort charging 2k, and Safari Halt  in Chaka City charging 1800 ksh.The Chaka Ranch Tented Camp is a high-end facility which is available at 12k per double.Early booking is recommended. More information coming soon, but feel free to make your bookings early.

Register with Wachira directly, and contact him with any queries: wach.wn@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you all there!

See attached a write-up on last year’s inaugural Graceland Ultra by none other than yours truly (your MC, Secretary, Claire Baker, when she was just a plain average Swara who liked to play with words). Perhaps some of you will be equally inspired to write about this year’s experience…

Date: Saturday 15th February, 7am (45km), 8.30am (15km and 25km)

Venue: Graceland School, Chaka, Nyeri County

Distance: 15, 25 and 45km

Run type: majority trail, and plenty of up and down!

Google Maps link to the venue: https://goo.gl/maps/WLjBoBeCNjELVN8VA

Directions to the venue: Graceland is 2.5-3hrs from central Nairobi. Follow directions to Nyeri Town, veer a right at Marua, then continue until Chaka town, where you take a right turn across the railway, following signs to Chaka Ranch. Take a right turn off the tarmac road at the next sign for Chaka Ranch, then take a left on the dirt road to continue to Graceland (you will see a sign for Graceland). Please follow Google Maps to be sure!

Speaking of causes, contact me with a worthy cause you would like the Swaras to support as a club this year, all suggestions are welcome! See details, as well as last-minute Kili details and a message from the Treasurer and from our resident speed expert, in this week’s Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/AphBsOdUTyExznHG?ref=Link

#ACauseToGetBehind

News

Urban Swaras 8th February @ Shade Lounge, Mwimuto

Dear Swaras, 

Any self-respecting person waking up at 5.30am on a Saturday morning to a downpour would stay in bed and turn around for a few more hours of kip. But not a Swara! Despite the heavy rains, a bevvy of veteran Swaras and new runners alike flocked to Tigoni for what was, admittedly, a spectacular run.

Despite some mild slippy-sliding, the mood was euphoric, and people saw some stunning scenery. Special thanks were given to Masika, and to Benja, our Trail Fox, for doing a stellar job on support and marking despite the heavens not being on our side. Thanks to all who came, and made this Saturday run such a success.

Next week’s run

This run consistently ranks high on the ‘favourite run venue’ of Swaras when asked to cite their favourites. And you ask for trail, we give you trail! Once again, this is a run where breakfast is up to you, but we ask you to register to help us to plan everything just so for you all 🙂 We hope you’re pushing yourself, or doing yourself proud in whatever way feels right for you, and so we’re giving you some nice long runs, with this one going up to 35km, but also a 5km for beginners who are just learning how much they love running!

Date: Saturday 8th February 7am

Venue: Shade Lounge, Getathuru Road, Mwimuto

Distance: 5, 10,15, 20, 30, and 35km.

Run type: majority trail, and plenty of up and down!

Breakfast: Breakfast is to be taken at your leisure at the restaurant, where you pay for what you consume.

Google Maps link to the venue: https://goo.gl/maps/9bsQx5F4NWYn3a1EA

Registration: Registration is required, please fill out your details here: https://forms.gle/6YkwkreyDBXnKTij6

Guests: As always, guest fees of 500ksh apply. Please share the following link with anyone interested in joining the club for the first time: http://urbanswaras.co.ke/new-members/

A huge thank you to everyone who’s been sharing their photos! On every Starting Line you’ll find a selection of the bunch, as well as news on upcoming runs across the country, Treasurer’s Corner, and special news (this week we’re asking YOU for charitable causes you want the club to support). Don’t miss out! https://sway.office.com/t0favd8eEzICwjhy?ref=Link

#YourClubYourNews

News

Urban Swaras 1st February @ Tigoni Tea Trail (Gulf Petrol Station, Tigoni)

Those of us who are regular Swaras look forward to this run with great anticipation, and many make the pilgrimage even outside of the official Swara run, perfect training for hilly marathons. Those of you who are new to the Swaras, what a treat you have in store for you this week!

The time has come, for the Tigoni Tea Plantations Trail!

Date: Saturday 1st February 7am

Venue: Gulf Petrol Station, Kabuku-Tigoni Road, Tigoni

Distance: 5, 10,15, 20, 30, 35 and 40km.

Run type: majority trail, and plenty of up and down!

Breakfast: Breakfast is to be taken at your leisure at the cafe within the Gulf petrol station, where you pay for what you consume (very fairly priced tea, pancakes, samosas, sausages, etc.)

Google Maps link to the venue: https://goo.gl/maps/WS7anMqyQiYraavB6

Directions to the venue:

The Waiyaki Way Route.

This route is approximately 32 Kilometers from Nairobi City.

– Leave Nairobi along the Naivasha/Nakuru road.

– On the highway, take a left turn at Rironi, join Narok road.

– At the T-Junction, take a right turn. 

– Pass under a bridge and continue until the Bata  sign (red and white in colour) on your left.

– Take a left at the sign.

– Proceed past Limuru Milk Processors (on right).

– Continue under the train bridge, and take a right  turn at the T-Junction. 

– Stay on this road, pass Limuru Children’s Center,  Tigoni Hospital, and various shops.

– Look for the “Brackenhurst Conference Center”  sign on the right. Ahead you will see a Gulf Petrol  station. 

The Village Market Route.

This route is approximately 35 Kilometers from Nairobi City.

– Stay on Limuru Road, passing Runda Estate on  your right, and drive to Ruaka Town. 

– As you get into Ruaka town, look for the  Brackenhurst sign at the junction and turn right  onto  Banana Hill Road.

– Drive on past Mucatha, Kentmere Club, and  Limuru Girls School. 

– Stay on the main road until you see a Gulf Petrol  station on your right.

Facilities: parking is limited so please carpool where possible (carpooling is always encouraged amongst Swaras).

Registration: Registration is required, please fill out your details here: https://forms.gle/XVjiVV1BgoDqg6vh8

Guests: As always, guest fees of 500ksh apply. Please share the following link with anyone interested in joining the club for the first time: http://urbanswaras.co.ke/new-members/

News

Urban Swaras 25th January @The Forest, Kimende, Kereita Forest

It’s fortunate that your MC doesn’t need her legs to type, or this Starting Line would never have seen the light of day…after the hills, hills and more hills on Saturday’s Matasia Loop run from Ngong County Office, my legs are ruing the day they ever came into existence! But boy was it worth it. The scenery was breathtaking, as breathtaking as the hills, and there was a huge crowd of Swaras to tackle them, with some very welcome new runners from Team Jasho in the mix!

Our apologies if anyone didn’t get the level of support they expected, as our Trail Fox and Swara Support vehicle were busy re-marking certain sections that had been washed away by overnight rains. Though we always advise carrying some small change or water/supplies with you if you’re doing a long distance, we also strive to get at least water to every runner on the trail on our Saturday runs. We look forward to seeing you all again soon!

We’re on the lookout for Swaras with stories to tell for the upcoming Swara newsletter. We know everyone loves it, now YOU can be a part of it! Reach out to Jerusha with your ideas: usrc.editor@gmail.com 

Next week’s run

Did you know that there is the forest and then there’s The Forest? Well, this Saturday, we’re running from The Forest, the adventure playground for grown-ups set in the dreamy Kereita Forest. This run was first introduced to the Swara calendar last year, and it caused a bit of a stir: the hills are legendary, the grass is as green as a porcelain doll’s eyes, and the effort is rewarded with the greatest sense of satisfaction and one of the best buffet and breakfast selections this side of Limuru!

Date: Saturday 25th January, 7.30am (please note the later starting time to allow travel time, and please allow extra travel time due to ongoing roadworks on Naivasha/Nakuru Highway)

Venue: The Forest, Kimende, Kereita Forest

Distance: 10,15, 20, 30 and 35km.

Run type: almost 100% trail, this is one of the most beautiful Swara runs on the calendar, so bring your trail shoes and your camera

Breakfast: Breakfast, brunch or lunch can be taken at your leisure at the on-site restaurant.

Google Maps link to the venue: https://goo.gl/maps/Hq6tNp4drWMysXtr8

Directions to the venue: BE CAREFUL! Google Maps will try and direct you a different route, so be sure to follow these instructions: follow Naivasha Road towards Nakuru past the Limuru exit and past Uplands, then take a left at the Kimende Total Petrol Station (the turn is just to the left hand side of the petrol station, and then follow signs to The Forest’.

Facilities: plenty of parking, toilets on site, restaurant, many activities to enjoy after the run including zip-lining, archery, mountain biking. Why not make a day of it! All activities at your own cost, check out the website for more details.

Registration: Registration is required, please fill out your details here: https://forms.gle/zxVhxZ3P4gDk2SgE8

Please pay for entrance using M-Pesa.

Go to M-Pesa, Lipa Na Mpesa, Buy Goods and send Kshs 200 per person to Till Number 912957 Recipient: Kereita Wilderness Ventures.

Important: Save the transaction message for proof of payment.Please pay this in advance to ease the entry logistics process.

Guests: As always, guest fees of 500ksh apply. Please share the following link with anyone interested in joining the club for the first time: http://urbanswaras.co.ke/new-members/

There were so many photos to choose from for this week’s Starting Line, we didn’t know where to start! Check them out in this week’s Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/l14X1yGweg4Ljm9c?ref=Link

#TheOneAndOnlyForest

News

Urban Swaras 18th January @Ngong County Offices

For one day, last Saturday, Karen became awash with fluorescent yellow, as Swaras hit the road again after a holiday break. We also had some new runners in the mix, eager to see what all the fuss is about! In total we had almost 100 people running from Club Legend, with a good number of takers for the longest distances, the 25km and 30km. Who knew Karen had this much off-road trail: we went through overgrown fields, forests, and only glimpsed the bypass a couple of times.

Breakfast was in plenty as people caught up after the holidays, and plenty of stretching happened, round our new Treasurer, Ranu, as he made sure everyone had all the information they needed on 2020 membership, etc. Rumour has it some people stayed well past breakfast time, clearly they had a lot to catch up on! Well done to everybody who ran!

We’re on the lookout for Swaras with stories to tell for the upcoming Swara newsletter. We know everyone loves it, now YOU can be a part of it! Reach out to Jerusha with your ideas: usrc.editor@gmail.com 

Next week’s run

We know Ngong has become one of the most popular local running destinations of late, so let’s all head there together and discover an alternative trail from the County Offices. Distances are building up as many of us are training for marathons, or just building up our endurance, so you’ll have from 5km to 35km to play with. This time there WILL be a 5km route, so bring along a friend that wants to try their hand at running!

Date: Saturday 18th January, 7am

Venue: Ngong County Offices , Ngong Town

Distance: 5, 10,15, 20, 30 and 35km.

Breakfast: Breakfast can be taken at your leisure at the cafeteria on site or in Ngong Town at one of the local restaurants.

Google Maps link to the venue: https://goo.gl/maps/39GQLk3HFzsdbGAF7

Directions to the venue: Get onto Ngong road and follow it all the way up to Ngong Town.

Once at the T Junction in Ngong Town take a right turn and carry on straight (ignore the immediate first right turn road that goes to Kibiko) proceed with the road that will bend towards the left and get you to the venue which will be on the left, opposite the Ngong Police Station

Facilities: plenty of parking, and toilets on-site. Parking fees of 100ksh payable to the office on duty.

Registration: registration is not required for this run, just turn up and run!

Guests: As always, guest fees of 500ksh apply. Please share the following link with anyone interested in joining the club for the first time: http://urbanswaras.co.ke/new-members/

This week’s Starting Line is jam-packed FULL of information, so be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom, and some of you might even see your faces! Link to Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/j1M3EZGVHgnbZBP5?ref=Link

#NgoingNgoingNgong

News

Urban Swaras 11th January 2020 @ Club Legend, Karen

We did indeed go into 2020 with a bang, and a bit of a wiggle as well, as the video below shows! Let’s keep that momentum going, into this week’s run. Even those who got lost because they were going too fast and either beat the marks or were going too fast for them to be visible, keep at it!

This year is going to be LEGENDARY, I can just feel it. So get on down to Club Legend, Karen, for a run with a twist this Saturday 11th January…for the first time in living memory, the Swaras are offering a 5km trail! So bring along those friends who quiver at the thought of a 10km but have been meaning to get their running shoes on on a weekend morning. And there will also be a long of 30km to shake off the cobwebs after the holidays and get prepping for the Kilimanjaro marathon 2020! See this week’s Starting Line for full information on this week’s run.

Date: Saturday 11th January, 7am

Venue: Club Legend, Ngong Road, Karen

Distance: 5, 10,15, 20 and 30km.

Breakfast: Breakfast is 400ksh, payable to the treasurer in advance or on the day.

Google Maps link to the venue: https://goo.gl/maps/v8cN3caGR4DP68g88

Directions to the venue: Take Ngong Road all the way down to the entrance to Karen, and about 300m before the Karen roundabout you will see Club Legend on your right. You may have to go down to the roundabout and do a u-turn to access it.

Facilities: plenty of parking, and toilets on-site.

Registration: registration is required in advance, by Thursday 5pm, to allow for planning, so that everyone has breakfast after their run! You may pay for breakfast in advance, (M pesa to 0740912116) please indicate so in the registration form: https://forms.gle/66dHYCdpK7C51L1C6

Guests: As always, guest fees of 500ksh apply. Please share the following link with anyone interested in joining the club for the first time: http://urbanswaras.co.ke/new-members/

Check out this week’s Starting Line for a staggering line-up of news, and a video treat for your enjoyment! : https://sway.office.com/qDaFa40UWqYt9ei8?ref=Link

News

Urban Swaras 4th January 2020 @ Arboretum, off State House Road

That’s a wrap folks! Another running year has come to an end and we can now start setting goals for 2020…2020km in 2020? A 20km PB for 2020? Learning how to run backwards? Running your first 15km? All dreams are valid, and we just hope you’re excited for all the adventures to come: Mount Kenya Ultra, Graceland Upcountry Run, charity runs, relays, out of town runs…you name it, we’ve got it. So 2020 will definitely be your best running year yet, and we can’t wait to get started! 

So to start us off with have run number 1 of 2020: Arboretum! As is tradition, we will run from Arboretum and start the year off with a bang. This is always a run with a BIG turnout so be sure to turn up early, and why not pay your annual subs upfront so that you can enjoy 52 runs without worrying about membership or payments??  More info below. Keep scrolling, and keep running!

Date: Saturday 4th January December, 7am

Venue: Arboretum, meet at the car park off State House Road.

Distance: 10,15, 20 and 25km. Mostly tarmac, with some trail.

Breakfast: Optional, to be taken at your leisure at any of the affordable kiosks around the car park, or at Charlie’s at Kasuku Centre! Parking fees of 50ksh per vehicle apply, payable by m-pesa.

Google Maps link to the venue: https://goo.gl/maps/RqwqH1R8KXPdHVTw6

Check out this week’s Starting Line for more info, a heads-up on next year’s membership and our member’s survey!

#HappyNewRunningYear

News

Urban Swaras 28th December 2019 @ Karura Forest, Limuru Road

The Christmas run happened last week (don’t worry folks, you didn’t miss Christmas, just the Swara Christmas run)! The turnout was huge despite so many being away on holiday, or being too busy knocking back eggnog and nyama choma. Thanks to all who came and got into the festive spirit for the second to last run of the year.

Next week’s run will give the opportunity to combine Karura Forest trails like you never have before. Do the 10km and 5km? Do the 15km and the 10km backwards?? Up to you! Meeting place is at the car park on the Limuru Road entrance, (before you reach the payment gate). Look out for the yellow Swara t shirts, you can’t miss them. Bring cash/m-pesa as forest entry fees apply to all, with different rates for citizens (100ksh), residents (200ksh) and non-residents (600ksh) plus fees for cars if you take your vehicle in. Be aware that no single-use plastic bottles are allowed in the forest (hurrah!) so bring along a refillable bottle, and there will be an opportunity to fill it before you run. If you have a hydration pack, we advise you bring it, ready to hydrate yourself along the way. Link to this week’s Starting Line (the last of the year!) with full details of this week’s run: https://sway.office.com/s1MlzDnG4zoYPI5u?ref=Link

Date: Saturday 28th December, 7am

Venue: Karura Forest, Limuru Road entrance car park

Distance: unlimited! 5,10, and 15km trails within the forest, feel free to mix them up and combine them (you can also incorporate the Sigiria side).

Breakfast: Optional, to be taken at your leisure at the Java House down the road with your fellow Swaras.

Google Maps link to the venue: https://goo.gl/maps/R8Ey87jZ5mVY4on4A

Check out this week’s Starting Line here, and Happy Holidays to all of you!

#LastRunButNotLeast

News

21st December 2019 @Arboretum, State House Road

Venue: Arboretum, meet at the car park off State House Road.

Distance: 10,15, and 20km. Mostly tarmac, with some trail.

Breakfast: Optional, to be taken at your leisure at any of the affordable kiosk around the car park. Parking fees of 50ksh per vehicle apply, payable by m-pesa.

Google Maps link to the venue: https://goo.gl/maps/RqwqH1R8KXPdHVTw6

Directions to the venue: The car park is at the end of Arboretum Drive. You need to get to State House Road, then if heading from town you turn right onto Arboretum Drive, and if heading towards town (from State House), turn left onto Arboretum Drive). Drive past the new Radison, then hit the dead-end, where you’ll find the car park with the kiosk to pay for parking.

Facilities: plenty of parking, and toilets on-site.

Registration: no registrationn necessary! Come one, come all, and bring a friend!

Guests: As always, guest fees of 500ksh apply. Please share the following link with anyone interested in joining the club for the first time: http://urbanswaras.co.ke/new-members/

Be sure to check out the second edition of the all-new Starting Line (Swara weekly news) here.