About two years ago, I was in my infancy of running. To me, running in circles at the Jaffery Sports Club was the height of achievement then. Doing about 12 laps which translated to about 10km, used to be the longest distance I could run.
It is here that I first met Leif, long before I even knew that we would meet later when I joined Urban Swaras. This guy used to zoom past me like a racing car. He looked so agile and ran effortlessly in those measured and calculated long steps. When I was running in some funny, nondescript gear and some tattered, 10 years old New Balance shoes with smooth soles, the guy was in this fancy, sporty gear, shoes and some belt that had small bottles that contained some drink, which I concluded must be the elixir that made him run effortlessly. In my heart I would say, ‘’I want to be running as fast and nimbly as this guy.’’ The guy would come, do a few rounds in the field then continue with his run outside on the roads.
Soon, I started experiencing sporting injuries, especially those caused by overuse and running repetitively in a certain gait. My running in anti-clockwise circles at the field soon brought me some debilitating shin splints that immobilized me for 3 months.
One day when I had an appointment with my sports physiotherapist, I met Leif waiting to be ‘finywod,’ like the rest of us. “Aha! So, even this guy gets injuries too?”, I said to myself. From that moment, it dawned on me that Leif was not the superman I had conjured him to be. He could also sustain injuries like me, the ordinary guy with some nondescript attire. It was from this moment that we started chatting, and became acquaintances.
We would later meet in the Swara runs when I finally registered, after doing many runs as a guest. We always would exchange pleasantries on the Swara trails.
I personally will miss this good-natured, tall Swedish guy that motivated me to improve my running even when I did not know him, and he did not know me too.
Wishing Leif, Monicah and Ottoson good days ahead.