The drive to Lari was as interesting as the run. We were to be there at 7am as usual but of course this did not happen. The place was further than most of us thought. An accident on Waiyaki way did not make the 6.15am jam interesting and the fog at the view point / Lari area was an indication that this was going to be a very challenging run.
The Swaras gathered together and one of the open car boots became an umbrella. I am not sure if that was mist or it was rain. All I know is that it was wet. Some of us came in scarfs and some were busy jumping up and down as elite runners would.
This was not the normal kind of run where Swaras take off at the blow of a whistle. We had to get a briefing from the Kereita forest representative. I am not sure what he said but it must have been important because I already knew that we were to enter the forest in a group due to the presence of elephants. The beginning of the run to the gate entrance of the forest was steep and the altitude was high. It kept going up up up and up. After about 4.5Kms we arrived at the gate entrance.
For the first time I witnessed camaraderie among the Swaras. We had to wait for everybody. You see, in most runs it is everyone for themselves and those around them and God for us all. But this time round there were elephants in the forest. So we were to run in a pack in the forest. I wonder how many Swaras remembered.
The forest was beautiful. Running through this forest was nothing but bliss. It was the change of terrain that made it fantastic. There was a part where it was all grass and the feet just felt like running on a thick carpet. It was raining and the sound of the rain drops falling from the leaves was calming. I am not sure if it was raining or it was just foggy but it was beautiful. The trees were tall and made us look really small. For those running close by me we took a detour. I had to show them the elephant that was gunned down by poachers last August. It was a sad moment seeing the carcass again. We continued and the elephants were forgotten but occasional fresh elephant dung was a reminder that we were not out of danger. We raced out of the forest.
The villagers came out. We greeted them as we passed. The children waved in excitement. I think there was one who was counting us. We all had numbers.
Next was the climb that began on the tea zone. The landscape was beautiful. Different shades of green together. The tea looking like a green carpet was breath taking. I had to continuously marvel at the beauty of this place. It was climb climb and climb. My target was 15Kms. At the end of 18Kms, Mutua and I said we had done enough. We jumped onto a motorbike and headed home (base, start point).
The base was cold. Lyma’s advice to carry warm clothes was very handy. Each Swara landed with a story. The one that made me laugh the most was Wachira breaking every time he saw a hill. He even admired the fences of the homes and the beautiful flowers. The thing is he set off to do 21Kms and ended up doing 27Kms. Everyone had their story, but what we know is that we are sure going back to the Lari Lucy Kereita run.