If one day Kenyans decide to vote for the mother of Kenyan distance running, the winner will not be Mrs Uhuru, impressive as her recent London Marathon outing was.
It will very likely be our very own Joyce Nduku. Fondly known as Tata or ‘The road runner’ in the Swaras/Hash running fraternity, Nduku has redefined the meaning of the word determination and in the process inspired countless other people to join the running movement in Kenya.
You probably know her story by now. She picked up running in 2004 in an effort to overcome arthritis. At 50 she run and finished the Chicago Marathon. At fifty six she decided to celebrate by running the 56Km ‘Two Oceans’ ultra marathon in South Africa. This amazing woman has taken part in more races than people half her age will ever dream of. In the process she has become a mentor for hundreds of people who fear that running is not for people like them.
“It is good that you have started running at a young age. Imagine how fast you will run at my age,” she was recently heard to encourage a group of young runners.
Joyce Nduku completed her 60th lap around the Sun in March this year. Last year she sustained an injury and had to undergo surgery. This means she has not been able to run for all of 2014. If you think that any of this was going to slow down this amazing grandmother, then you don’t know Tata. For her, an event that would have stopped many a running career was an inspiration to do more.
So for her 60th birthday she decided to organise a charity run or, as she puts it, ‘to bless someone else with my gift of running.’ This was the Saturday run at Legends in Karen.
Organised to raise money to pay for specialist surgery for Master Terry Mutuku, it was one of the best attended runs in recent days. In the process it became a celebration of a unique human being, a beloved member of our running fraternity and a chance for all of us to run for someone else for a change.
At the time of this writing, the target amount required to pay for the operation had been reached.
Happy birthday Tata! May you have many more. Thank you for being an inspiration to so many.