Running Tales

My Experience of the Mount Kenya Run

Date: September 3, 2011

On a warm Saturday morning, the tough hard-core Swaras set out to challenge one of the toughest runs in Kenya.  We meet at City Square. When I get there, violet is all set for the challenge. Next I see Ajaa, Ferrah and Mulinge who is always laughing and anything he says is always so funny.

We take off by 8.12am. First stop at Blue Post in Thika to view the Chania Falls. That was amazing. Next we fuelled up our tummies with  huge picnic that the cameroonians organised. They had everything sorted from ham, eggs, bread, sausages, ketchup, salad, you name it, they had it all.

Then we get to the start point where we met the Hashers. They saw us with our SWARA T-Shirts. I heard a guy saying he ran with us and couldn’t keep up and decided to join the HASHERs. Other Hashers that have attempted to run with Swaras have bowed down to us.

Ajaa gets all the Swaras psyched up to do the long run – 16km- The thought of going all that way and only doing short made me feel less than a Swara. We start by 1.15pm only to start struggling by the first 2km, half the people running, some attempting to walk.  This was only the start of the race, we had a lonnnnng way to go yet.

After 4 km we get to the main gate where 90% of hashers started the short 12km run. This was the time to quit – but we have the motto Swaras are not quitters. So carry on the gruesome track – of up, up and more up hills, most of us struggling, some of us walking or crawling, unlike Ferrah and Ajaa who ran the entire course– RESPECT we could call him Mr President from Chairman.

If you were quick enough, you were rewarded a bottle of water, the rest of us snails got no water. At this point, I was struggling only to see Alix behind me in the same condition, dying of thirst.

We pushed, pushed and pushed up up and up. – the track getting tougher and tougher – the incline gets steeper- only when things are at their worst – we hear thunder, only to get to 8 km and it starts pouring down. At this point you are tired, no water, altitude, and the rain – could things go any worse? Seriously questioning why we are doing this. Alix and I pushed and pushed, the rest of the Swaras Mulinge, Ajaa, Ferrah, and Violet were nowhere in sight. I could only visualise them with a HOT drink.

The track gets slippery you have water streaming down into your shoes; by this point we were completely wet. It was at mid point 8km we carry on or turn back. The thought of having a hot drink kept me going- if I was a hasher the thought of beers at the top would have kept me focused.

We get to the 14km mark; tea point, Ajaa there blowing the whistle go go go only 1km to go- my thought was only 500m up and 500down. Only to realise we were heading to the worst part of the run, it was 1km up hill to HELL- the steepness there seemed to lead us to a path straight to heaven. Then I see Ferrah going down, she’s cheering on not long to go. That meant 10-15 mins, Alix was way ahead by then. When we get to the top there is a steamed up car looking dubious, was not sure if they were there to record time or were there people warming up. Then the time keeper shouts name- and best bit was ARE YOU  SWARA? THEY EVEN KNEW that only Swara women reached the top.
Next Ajaa decided on taking a few carloads from the top of the mountain to the bottom.

As we attempted to drive down, we land in a ditch due to the slippery roads, By this time, Violet and I had chewed off our nails. I was about to bite my toenails.

Ferrah and Eugene franticly tried to get out of the car and the seat would not go down – Ferrah nearly lost all her hair- with the fright of being toppled over in the car.

Violet and I get out of the car and Ajaa shouting stay in the car we need weight in the car – That’s got to say something about the 2 of us.

Avenger – Karura runner took the wheel and got us down safely.

On the way back Ajaa tolds us interesting stories of his running experiences.