On 27th June, Jimmy and I set off from Nairobi to Livingston only to aboard a Kenya Airways flight that was named Swaras. All Kenya Airways flights have names on them. How ironical that we got on to one named Swaras.
Jimmy the chatty charismatic person made friends all the way. Starting from hostesses on the flight, the driver at Livingstone who drove us to the Zimbabwe border, everyone in the hotel, to tour operators; he had a marathon number of friends.
On our drive to the border we saw 6 elephants crossing the road. It was unbelievable. This was within 20 minutes of stepping into the country. Next we stopped off at an awesome viewpoint of the falls.
From the Zambia border to the Zimbabwe border where the falls are in the no-mans-land we walked into this no mans land to view one of the most spectacular view of the Victoria Falls; the shadow of the rainbow falling on the falls. The force of the water soaked us. Words honestly cannot describe the sheer beauty of the Falls. The Zambezi River is 2700 km from the source, while the depth of the Falls is 106 metres.
By now the full team was present except for Ferrah who had a car accident on her way to the Airport and had to miss the Marathon. This was extremely unfortunate, as she had prepared for months to do the full marathon. We wish her a speedy recovery and hope more Swaras will join her next year to run the Marathon that she planned and got the rest of us joining in.
The Marathon started on time at 6:45am for full and 7:15am for the half. I think I was the only Indian female for the run. This run had the most overweight looking Mzungus I have ever seen in any Marathon. All fun runners were from USA, South Africa, Canada, very few Zimbabwean, and then us Kenyans who seemed to draw a lot of attention as all Kenyans are known as the best runners all over the world.
The 3 people doing 21km were Jimmy, Nancy Mwai, and I. Jimmy was all excited wanting to perform his PB. We all set off together heading for the bridge with the Falls; as we were there to run and enjoy we stopped and took photos and enjoyed the beauty of the Falls.
Then we set off the route which was fairly flat with slight inclines. I got shin pains and lagged behind Jimmy and Nancy by the 5th km. That was the last I saw of them.
The route went into a Game Reserve with chances of seeing game and mainly elephants; the track had lots of fresh elephant poo proving that the path had sightings of elephants that very morning we were running. The road was Tarmac with bits of trail to it with lots of forest on the sides.
By the 10 km point, I saw Liz Kanini looking extremely strong smiling her usual chirpy character.
My run was good the route started off so flat that I had shin pains for the first 7km. Then I was in top form moving along only to get ankle pain from 17 km. At this point it was a blessing they had amazing African drummers playing drums and cheering runners and giving out fruits too. I stopped and enjoyed the music and the Zimbabweans are extremely friendly and cheerful people. The finishing was a struggle but I refused to walk, after all I am a Swara. By the finish I was limping, but overjoyed that I made it.
At the finish line I met jimmy who did his PB of 2:18, Nancy 2:21, while I did 2:31. I had to let him go ahead to give him the satisfaction of beating us.
As we waited for the full marathoners, we saw Ajaa and Loise coming in pushing it to get her PB of 4:03. Now we were awaiting for Liz who was doing her 1st full marathon. After doing 30 km in Magadi, I had full faith that she was going to finish this marathon in good time. She came in screaming with joy to the finish with an outstanding time of 4:59 for her 1st full Marathon.
The evening after the Marathon we met a new recruit for the Swaras, a Kenyan girl called Susan who came to Vic Falls just like us to run the Marathon just like most runners skeptical of joining running groups cause of the running. From there onwards we were known as the 3 musketeers that claimed glory for the Marathon. Jimmy claimed to have come no. 15, Susan no.7 and I took the honour of being no. 11.
There is so much to do in Victoria Falls. We are now the new travel agents of Victoria Falls. Please see me, jimmy or Susan Amoko, our new recruit and partner in crime, for all the stories.
As swaras we must all plan to do at least one international run out of the country; it’s an interesting experience.
There’s a lot to do and say about the Vic Falls marathon that can’t be described by words. We are still in Vic Falls as we were bumped off the flight, and now enjoying the compliments of Kenya Airways at the Protea Hotel.