It was at the start of a brand new month, when the Swaras descended upon a venue which was a first, and with a new host, James. With me was Hamish, who in Ajaa’s words immortalized the Camp Malta Run with his photography, Carmen who’s only been in Nairobi for three weeks, but already knows the environs of Rhapta Road better than I do, and Farah who’d spent the previous weekend at Amboseli and was well rested for the run in, towards Lewa Marathon.
After we’d gotten off the main road and were headed towards Maasai Lodge, someone from behind spotted a lone Buffalo and shouted “look!,” to which we obliged. As we heard later, the lone buffalo who we were also told was as harmless as they came, was a resident of the place and familiar to the other locals. Having entered into the Lodge, there were at that point relatively few Swaras, however as I would soon realize, there was a long trail of Runners cars not far off. James’s anxiety would soon be put to rest.
As well as the regulars, it was good to see Shiku, who is in training for Lewa Marathon, Zack, who I hope we shall see lots more of, Mercy Muriethi and her young companion, Molly, who has her sights firmly set on the Stanchart full Marathon, and who did the longest distance at Arbo the weekend before, Niraj, who is looking strong again, Shalin, who chooses his Marathon’s sparingly, but gave Lewa Marathon a run for its money, Castro, who also runs during the week, and who would add to our overall performance, Benson, who grabbed this rare recent opportunity to join us, and Allan, who is building up mileage again after an enforced layoff.
The build up to the start was also unique, as we had to enter the Building first, go past the Reception and a Dining Area, with a Buffet Table having been laid out already. As we walked past it, I took a longing look at it and heard rumbling in my stomach. The run was momentarily forgotten, as I imagined a plate full of an English breakfast, but when I snapped out of it, I started looking forward to the run again. Some Swaras who planned to do the longest distance, started off before the others.
James was the Swara with the Whistle, but seemed reluctant to use it, though he did. With us gathered round, since it was a new route and marked, there was no intricate explanation about it, apart from what distances there were and who was doing what. We set off climbing, which was useful I felt, to get a good stretch going.
I enjoyed the run, helped by very little Vehicle traffic, awesome views of the C.B.D skyline on multiple occasions, enthusiastic lookers- including what seemed like a Mum, Dad and Child who stood together and cheerily waved at us. I ran for a bit with Jack before we took different routes and during our time together, he told me about the 10k Mater Heart Run that he did the weekend before, and in a time of 36 Minutes! Clearly a speedster in the Swaras.
Towards what turned out to be the closing stages of the run, the arrow led towards a drop into a Ravine. I looked down at it and thought this was a Hasher tactic, until I saw Jack on the other side of the Ravine, nearing flat land again. “How did he get there I thought?” followed by, “There must be a way then.” It was in fact passable, due to Mike ingenuity and he took me and Ferrah through a step-by-step process, whilst taking photos of us doing as we had been shown. Still puzzled as to how I’d made it to the bottom, crossing the stream now seemed a gimme and there were no problems doing so. I heard later, that some other Swaras had instead used a man made bridge to cross the Ravine, and that they were glad to make it across. Getting up to level ground was no problem either, and from then on it was a short distance back.
The Buffet had already been laid out and we would sit next to a wonderful swimming pool, with part of the area overlooking a River. It felt like I was in the Mara. There were two areas for showering, one being Room No. 27. I’m glad I got to see Room No. 27, as this bore the presence of our Paris Full Marathon Blitzer, Waliula. With a Running top showing he’d been there, hung in his open wardrobe, a Bottle of Lucozade and Alvaro on the Dressing Room Table, and a pair of Running Shoes on the floor, I took a few seconds trying to soak in the atmosphere.
Thanks James, for offering us the use of your Room.
The relaxed atmosphere continued back at the Swimming Pool Area. Jeannette told us that J.T was arriving that evening and was hopeful of joining us the coming weekend. Another reason for me to look forward to it.
I also heard that Mitch used to serve in the Army. He must have some interesting tales.
It was also nice to see Nduku there, who though she couldn’t run, still came.
Have a great week all.