It is reminiscent of Osotua and Ndeiya where Otora and crew lure you with a good start. They take you through some cool climes with topography that is generally flat, then gently entice you up some altitudes. You start enjoying the views around you like the Ngong forest or those below you like Ndeiya, not knowing they are about to pull the rug from under your feet, leaving you at the mercy of some crazy descents down some rugged escarpment into rocky valleys below. Once you’ve descended to the valley of the shadow of the hills above, you are left running and you realize you have little or no company save for the scrubland, shrubbery and acacia around you. If lucky, your daydreaming is intercepted by the presence of some herd boy somewhere with his cattle. At some point you conclude that either you could be the only breathing soul in the whole area, or that you missed a turn somewhere. There is not even a clear trail save for big white dots of chalk on some grassland, tree barks and rocks. You know some loose rocks await you like bandits on some unforgiving climb somewhere unknown, for you must get out of the valley to the finish point, which is nestled somewhere up there. Sometimes many climbs await you: you think you are done climbing only to find some other hills chuckling at you.
As you continue with your trance punctuated by your pounding feet and pulsating heart, you meet with a character you vaguely recognize. The fog in your memory magically clears when the character extends to you some bottles of water. You realize it is Otora. You do not know whether to smile at him as you literally snatch the bottles of water from him, or give him a lecture or interrogate him on why he had to ensure the course of the run passed in such places, which in your view are not even habitable. You want to ask him whether he is not sure we have not crossed the boundary into Narok or some other county. You are also tempted to call him a few names but you restrain yourself after you remember the sermon from your pastor last Sunday, where you were taught the virtues of forbearance and being long-suffering as being some fruit of the Holy Spirit or something like that. In fact, you could do with a fruit at such a time but he has none, only water.
At some point, as you battle the hills, you forget about your hitherto consistent and beautiful paces of under 5 or under 6 which have been upended by the climbs and all you want is to finish.
You are lost in your thoughts doing a pace that is worse than a walk, resigned to the fact that even the distance you think you are doing may end up being a few kilometres more than you expected when the gate to the staging venue surprises you by appearing on you suddenly. Your eyes moisten and glisten with gladness as you suppress some tears. You want to hug the gate and hold onto it, lest someone moves it a few metres away.
You have arrived.
The Berra run was a good one.