The Nomadic Urban Swara-KENYA- To a Decade of Running

Joy runningCommitment to running is marking a running trail in the rain (Otora I salute you. Marking trails is not easy).

Commitment to running is still  going for a run, regardless of the weather ( To the Swaras, who I have given flimsy excuses about not coming to your runs as it’s raining… well let’s just say, I will kick off the warm blanket with enthusiastic ferocity as I come for your run)

Commitment to running is actually seeing running routes non runners  will never find, which, answers the question I get asked all the time, “Where do you run in Nairobi, Lagos or Cairo?” My answer is very simple, “ I get into the hotel, before I  unpack my clothes, I get my running gear and just run!” “ If I am in Nairobi, I get out of bed and just run…”

Commitment to running is also looking  like  a crazed  woman or  who may be passed for a limestone miner , as one is dusty from head to toe with chalk dust ( This is a result of  marking running trails).

What started 10 years ago in Dar es Salaam , Tanzania as a long walk, turned  to a routine  that has become  part of my lifestyle, regardless of where I travel or work. Plus, for the first time  I happily bonded with men over shoes, and not the high heel type.

It was a rather rainy Sunday afternoon,  when I chose to celebrate a decade of running. I had just arrived the night before from Durban and the first thing I did was call my co-host and ask if there was anything I needed to contribute for  the run and  party, and in German precision, I got a  break down of every detail , which was precise to the kilograms of food bought. “ What’s left is to peel potatoes and mark the trail,” was the chirpy response. I inwardly groaned, knowing the last time I actually peeled potatoes  en masse, was in boarding school, as a punishment. I must say I was not look forward to it.

Fast  forward to Sunday morning, which turned out to be  rather gloomy and the first thing I did was send  an invitation to the various running mailing lists, then I began potato peeling duty. The gloomy morning turned to  a rainy mid-morning through to afternoon- and I remember  my contribution-marking the trail. “I am not going to like this,” I inwardly groaned.

Joy running2Thankfully the rain  slightly  dissipated (it was down to a drizzle), and I quickly changed into running clothes, minus running shoes, hoped onto the back of  my co-hosts’ pick up and started  marking the trail. This is where I got lessons on marking trails and as it was drizzling, I was not taking chances, I rather took to the job enthusiastically ( It’s Wednesday and you can still see the marks on the road 🙂 ). I was the antithesis  of a Sunday best look. Covered in chalk dust from head to toe and sometimes running on the route and plonking markers ( Once again Otora, we are not worthy of your duties).

Gratefully the rain had stopped and we were able to mark their entire  route  in the quite rather sleepy ( Rainy sunday afternoon with minimal traffic) Lavington neighborhood.

I must say I was pleased with my markers ,which, provided  runners with options to run from 5 km, 10km and 15km. By 4 pm the rain had stopped but it was still  cloudy, gratefully the air was now clean, the  running paths were cleaner and with over 40 runners who came, I was confident that it would be an easy run for the guests. I must say I was abit cheeky about marking the short run, such that the short route was actually 10kms . So the 5kms  runners ended up running 10kms, which, turned out to be the popular route. I took the long route and measured it with  my Garmin watch and it turned out to be 14.5kms ( Not bad for a first time fox trail).

As the guests happily  enjoyed the German themed  barbeque, all that could go through my mind, was 10 years is such an achievement.  It means, I am no longer  eligible for the Kenya Youth Fund and now I understand what a young adult and adult means. Being called Madam, Ma’am is mixture of respect ( because of one’s age) and civility. And,  looking at the mature runners in the clubs is a reason to look forward to being old and of strong mind and health.

Here is to the next 10 years of running.

This entry was posted in Running Tales. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook

thirteen + 17 =