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Urban Swaras PB Challenge launches!

Are you feeling a little ‘mojo-less’? Are you finding yourself sleeping in on a Saturday morning instead of hitting the trails, now that there are no Swara runs? Well, we’ve got something to get you jumping into your running gear again! The Swara PB Challenge! We’re challenging all Urban Swaras to record a PB (personal best) in a variety of distances, or record your longest distance run. You’re only competing against yourself! Think of Eliud Kipchoge setting his PBs with only his pacers and a camera crew. Except without the pacers and the camera crew 🙂

Wherever you are, whatever you’re wearing, just run! You can set yourself a specific goal, or just go with the flow, and once you record a PB or longest distance, share the screenshot of your watch/running app on the Whatsapp group, or by email (clairesimonebaker@gmail.com) or Whatsapp (+33615209676) to the MC before Sunday 25th April 11.59pm and, once the very serious, very fair, and very handsome judging committee verifies that it is eligible, you will enter a prize draw to win a 2,000ksh voucher to spend at the Duka La Swara! All entries will be shared and celebrated in next week’s Starting Line.

So get your PB jam on, and see what you’re capable of! See poster above, and find full details, and photo highlights from last week in the Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/iQHxkCFmOvS1MpJf?ref=Link

Please note there will be no Saturday run or speedwork for the foreseeable future.

Link to the Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/iQHxkCFmOvS1MpJf?ref=Link

SwaraPBChallenge

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Urban Swaras Starting Line 12th April – Keep running

Happy new running week Swaras! I know that maybe these rains aren’t the most appetising of running conditions, but I have it on good authority that we don’t melt, nor do we start growing maize from the top of our heads, if we run under the rain. Strava, Garmin, and the roads are full of Swaras, and we want to see what you’ve been up to! Share your proudest running moment of the week on the Whatsapp group, or tag us on Facebook, so that we can keep encouraging each other to keep on running, despite having no group runs for the foreseeable future. Keep at it Swaras! A couple more ideas of places you can run on your own and recreate your own personal Swara run:

1. Arboretum: it may be a small loop inside the park, but it’s lovely if you want some shade and some trail, in a city full of tarmac. A small entry fee applies.

2. Elephant Hill: Yes, this is a bit of a drive, but it’s a fantastic hike, and if you’re brave enough, you can even run some of it. The return journey is around 17km, so doable in a few hours no matter your fast walking/jogging speed. Be sure to take a guide, so that you can follow the route, and not put a foot wrong. KWS fees apply. As always on hill/mountain trips, equip yourself well, and stay safe.

More next week! Send in your ideas to the MC, by Whatsapp +33615209676 or email clairesimonebaker@gmail.com

Please note there will be no Saturday run or speedwork for the foreseeable future.

Huge congratulations are in order, for our dear Treasurer, Ranu Waweru, who got married this weekend, with many Swaras watching the live stream and cheering the new couple on from afar (see the Starting Line for a snapshot). Congratulations Ranu and Lydia!

Read the Starting Line here: https://sway.office.com/RG2goOu2DuGZhkxb?ref=Link

BIG NEWS(LETTER)The Swara newsletter is back! That’s right folks, your editor has been hard at work bringing together the best running stories, creative work, and images for you, to bring you a tasty, juicy pdf that will have you licking your computer screen or phone screen (but please don’t, it’s not particularly hygienic…)Click here (https://drive.google.com/…/1xigsjojfY5yLzirVp9taOW…/view) to read it now, make sure you set some time aside with a cup of tea and a biscuit to enjoy all the articles and awesome content. More on this and upcoming virtual events in the Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/RG2goOu2DuGZhkxb?ref=Link

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Urban Swaras Starting Line – big news(letter)

We may not have had a Swara run this weekend, due to the government restrictions to keep us all safe, but boy oh boy, I haven’t seen this much running going on since I rewatched Forrest Gump on a loop as a kid! Not only did we have national greats Hellen Obiri and Ruth Chepngetich smashing records and personal bests in Turkey, we also had Swaras running hills, marathons, and neighbourhoods all week, keeping fit, healthy, and active. Keep at it Swaras! Some highlights and things to look forward to in the Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/nWgkpe8ox68fq7PA?ref=Link

A couple more ideas of places you can run on your own and recreate your own personal Swara run:

  1. The legendary Kahara route starts from the foot of the Ngong Hills. Set your maps to the county offices, just past Ngong town, and you’ll find a dirt road stretching 13km to the tarmac on the other side, just short of Kona Baridi. Out and back is 26km, with enough elevation to have you panting and enough views to keep you occupied. You’re also bound to bump into some other recreational runners and maybe the occasional elite.
  2. Karura Forest. Not everybody knows this, but there are two sides to Karura Forest, and the lesser-known one is much quieter and much more stimulating in terms of the terrain. The Sigiria side has a number of marked loops, which you can combine to do any distance you like, and you’ll never run out of new things to see.
    More next week! Send in your ideas to the MC, by Whatsapp +33615209676 or email clairesimonebaker@gmail.com

Please note there will be no Saturday run or speedwork for the foreseeable future.

BIG NEWS(LETTER)

The Swara newsletter is back! That’s right folks, your editor has been hard at work bringing together the best running stories, creative work, and images for you, to bring you a tasty, juicy pdf that will have you licking your computer screen or phone screen (but please don’t, it’s not particularly hygienic…)

Click here to read it now, make sure you set some time aside with a cup of tea and a biscuit to enjoy all the articles and awesome content.

#BigNewsRightHere

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Urban Swaras Starting Line – Runs suspended until further notice – but don’t sit on ur-bum!

The new COVID containment measures came as a shock and disappointment to many, but it is in all of our best interests to do our bit to stay safe and keep others safe. So whilst we can’t have Swara runs, we encourage each and every one of you to keep running! There are plenty of places to run in the ‘one zoned area’, just look on Strava/Garmin/the Urban Swaras website and you’ll find some great routes to keep you busy. Please share your best pictures and anecdotes from your runs on Whatsapp and Facebook, so we can continue to encourage others and be buoyed by the Swara spirit. Here are some top ideas for the week:

Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary is a fantastic little gem on Ngong Road, near Dagoretti Corner, with marked trails from 5 to 20km. Entry is just 100ksh, and the guards are very friendly and welcoming to runners. We advise taking their number as you enter so you can call them in case of any questions or issues.

Karen Plains: this isn’t a venue as such, but the area around Karen Plains Road is ripe for exploring, and has wide (so great for social distancing) roads and is flat enough to feel like you’re on a track! You’re sure to see some other runners around this area.

Jaffery’s: this is a free-to-use track in Lavington, with nice cushiony surface and a 440m pre-measured circular track. We recommend going early morning to avoid the evening walkers. The end of the week is usually less busy.

More next week! Send in your ideas to the MC, by Whatsapp +33615209676 or email clairesimonebaker@gmail.com

Please note there will be no Saturday run or speedwork for the foreseeable future.

In the Starting line you’ll find a brand new Urban Swaras Run Safety Guide, which we have created to encourage every one of us to be aware of our safety, and that of others, when out for Swara runs, or any runs for that matter. Please read through and share any feedback you may have, or ideas for additions: https://sway.office.com/fkRa0X9vxiXyGS6C?ref=Link

Check out the Starting Line for all of the above and more: https://sway.office.com/fkRa0X9vxiXyGS6C?ref=Link

KeepRunning #RunningIsLiving

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Suspension of runs until further notice

The president has announced new COVID prevention measures including no sports clubs activities, no gatherings, and no movement in and out of Nairobi amongst other measures.

There will therefore be no Swara runs for the foreseeable future, until it is both legal and safe to do so again.

We, as a club committee, wish you all health, community, and wellbeing as we enter a new and even more difficult phase of this global pandemic and as we all deal with it, and the difficulties it brings to each and every one of us.

Please, continue to use this community as a source of hope and inspiration, and continue running in a safe and responsible way.

Stay safe, stay positive, and keep running.
#RunningIsLiving

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Urban Swaras Starting Line RUn 593 @ Run2Gether Training Camp, Longonot

The weekend just gone saw us hitting the mean streets of Lavington, where we had a lovely tarmac-based run that allowed many runners to clock some impressive speeds, and where much-loved member of the club Joe Gatonye celebrated his 5th anniversary as a Swara, back at the venue where he attended his first run! Thanks to all for coming, and for being vigilant with your safety and wellbeing (reflected in the lack of photos from the trail 🙂 ) See the Starting Line for more: https://sway.office.com/HL97QVmuFtvO6bOG?ref=Link

This week we venture further afield and visit some runners who some of us might want to be like ‘when we grow up’. We’re heading to the Run2Gether training camp in Longonot, to run in the rift valley, in the shadow of the famous Mount, with some lite pacers to keep us on our toes! This is a legendary trail, with enough hills to keep Chairman happy, and enough beautiful views to make the paparazzi amongst us jump for joy. There will be breakfast, provided by the club, and prepared by the folks at the camp, and we welcome donations of running gear in good condition, which will be distributed to the runners at the camp, and children and the members of the community that are involved in community outreach activities through the camp.

Speed work Wednesday will be this Wednesday 24th March, from 7am, at Nyayo Stadium. There is no charge for the session, but there is a fee to be paid to Nyayo Stadium of 200ksh for use of the track and (for now, cold) showers. Parking is available on-site. Bring water, wear your Swara t shirt, and bring your energy! The session should last approximately an hour. This is on a trial basis, so all feedback is welcome.

You’ll find in the Starting Line a new Urban Swaras Run Safety Guide, which we have created to encourage every one of us to be aware of our safety, and that of others, when out for Swara runs, or any runs for that matter. Please read through and share any feedback you may have, or ideas for additions.

Link to the Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/HL97QVmuFtvO6bOG?ref=Link

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Urban Swaras Starting Line Run 592 @ Ambo Gardens, Lavington

We had a great turnout on Saturday at Acacia, in Karinde. The run was most certainly scenic and challenging. However, it is unfortunate that some Swaras were targeted by senseless attacks; muggings that robbed them of their belongings. Our thoughts go out to them as they come to terms with what happened to them and get back on the trail. Please all look out for yourselves whenever you’re running, and look out for each other. We now advise all runners to steer clear of Karinde and the extreme end of Ngong Road Forest (towards the Southern Bypass) as a precaution.

We also had our first Wednesday morning speedwork session, with members of Team Jasho and Urban Swaras being coached by the legendary Run Beyond coach, Coach Simba.

Get a full recap and some photos in this week’s Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/Mlvt0pIu73joOBty?ref=Link

This Saturday’s run will be at Ambo Gardens, in Lavington, for an urban run, but as we all know, our Trail Fox knows how to find off-the-beaten-track trails even in the most unlikely of places.

Speed work Wednesday will be this Wednesday 10th March, from 7am, at Nyayo Stadium. There is no charge for the session, but there is a fee to be paid to Nyayo Stadium of 200ksh for use of the track and (for now, cold) showers. Parking is available on-site. Bring water, wear your Swara t shirt, and bring your energy! The session should last approximately an hour. This is on a trial basis, so all feedback is welcome.

Full details of what is to come this week, and upcoming runs from other clubs in the Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/Mlvt0pIu73joOBty?ref=Link

#UrbanAmbo

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Starting Line Run 591 @Acacia, Karinde

Do you ever hear runners talk about an ‘easy run’, ‘slow run’ or ‘rest day’ that still involves running, and sometimes running that would still prove daunting to the majority of the population? Well, this Saturday’s Spring Valley run was something of the sort. Thinking ‘majority tarmac run’ would prove a respite from the usual hills and toughness of Swara runs, I for one was proven wrong and was honked at by a number of cars for getting in their way as I took up half the road with my lumbering, huffing and puffing. Trust the Trail Fox to still find hills and beauty, wherever we go 🙂 The small number of stickers and t shirts we had remaining have almost been exhausted, but there are still a few (limited sizes available), so reach out to the MC if you’re interested in getting your hands on some. Find some photos from this week in the Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/kfwqfSI7U572pv4U?ref=Link

This week we’re heading to Acacia, in Karinde (next to Harlem Restaurant), for a fantastic run that certainly won’t disappoint. The trails in this neighbourhood are always a hit, so don’t miss it! We have previously run from other establishments in this same complex, so whilst the specific restaurant is new, the small complex of eateries should be familiar to many of you (tule Fish, The Garage, etc.)

It’s also my great pleasure to announce the return of a newly revamped Swara Speedwork, on a trail basis. We’re teaming up with our friends from Run Beyond and their in-house Coach, Coach Simba (who has trained Kenyan Olympic athletes and was once a resident coach in Iten), to provide a weekly speedwork session for Urban Swaras and also Team Jasho, another great running club in Nairobi (their bright orange t shirts complement our bright yellow ones nicely).

Speed work Wednesday will be this Wednesday 10th March, at Nyayo Stadium. There is no charge for the session, but there is a fee to be paid to Nyayo Stadium of 200ksh for use of the track and (for now, cold) showers. Parking is available on-site. Bring water, wear your Swara t shirt, and bring your energy! The session should last approximately an hour. This is on a trial basis, so all feedback is welcome.

As if that’s not enough, this coming Sunday we have Mary’s birthday run! Some of you may know Mary as a long-time member and supporter of the club, others may not know her yet but all are welcome for her birthday run, on Sunday 14th March. See details below to register and celebrate with her. 

Full details on all of these delectable events in the Starting Line! https://sway.office.com/kfwqfSI7U572pv4U?ref=Link

#MarchOn

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Urban Swaras Starting Line run 590 @ Cafe Detour (former Spring Valley Oven)

You know how sometimes there’s just one of those super eventful running weeks in the Kenyan recreational running community? This has been one of those weeks! Where to start?

First we had some superhumans conquering Mount Kilimanjaro (yes, the actual mountain, not the beer) in 24 hours, amongst them our very own Cheruiyot, Victor Kamau and Hermann Kambugu. A huge round of applause to them! They, along with a few hundred others, then descended on Moshi for the Kilimanjaro Marathon. Whilst normally this would see bus loads of Kenyan runners flood the Tanzanian mountain town, this year was a much quieter affair for public health and safety reasons. Nonetheless, a number of Swaras called Lutheran guesthouse home for a night or two, as they sweated it out on the hilly trails of the marathon and half marathon. Well done to Sheila Ommeh, who did her FIRST marathon there exactly one year ago, and smashed her goal this year to hit a personal best and do herself and us all immensely proudMany other runners achieved equally outstanding results, and rumour has it they also had a pretty good time celebrating 🙂

Saturday’s run was at Forest Breeze Gardens, another foresty run with some lovely leafy, tree-strewn routes that pleased the crowds and gave Swaras what they craved.

Photos from all of these can be found in the Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/wmSeSxlcgy5oKEAx?ref=Link

All in all, one pretty great week! Well done to all who did something that they’re proud of.

This week we’re taking a detour to Cafe Detour, formerly known as Spring Valley Oven which is in – you guessed it – Spring Valley! Expect a mostly tarmac-based run (to practise your speed? enjoy some flatness?) with some little trail interludes.

Full details on this week’s run, and the link to register, in the Starting Line (which has everything you need for a happy running life so don’t miss it!)https://sway.office.com/wmSeSxlcgy5oKEAx?ref=Link

A reminder to all of you that have stories to tell and experiences to share (in other words, all of you): the elusive Urban Swara newsletter editor is accepting submissions for the next edition of the newsletter, so get your articles, or even just article ideas in asap. Deadline for submissions is 15th March: usrc.editor@gmail.com

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Urban Swaras Starting Line Run 589 @ Forest Breeze Gardens

I hear all Swaras and guests got back to Nairobi from Graceland in one piece which can only mean one thing: they outran both the hills and the elephants! Highlights of Graceland 2021 include a one-man band, entire classes of Graceland girls cheering on exhausted but happy runners, and some cheeky little Swara-dipping (like skinny-dipping but wearing a Swara t-shirt). On behalf of the whole club, thank you to Wachira Nderitu, for this fantastic 10th edition of the much-loved Graceland run.

Meanwhile, those of us that remained in Nairobi had a casual , laid-back run at the Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary, where it seems all of Nairobi were out in full force, either running or biking with one of the many clubs that descended upon the newly rediscovered centrally located green space. Check out all the photos to get a feel for the visuals behind the stories! Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/tCsHqoMvxDoS6kxt?ref=Link

Our next run will be at Forest Breeze Gardens, a new venue for the club, located off Ngong Road in the Lenena/Riruta area. Expect monkeys and greenery and trail! Full details in the Starting Line: https://sway.office.com/tCsHqoMvxDoS6kxt?ref=Link

Thank you to all the Swaras that ordered from the Duka La Swara, you may see a LOT of Swara goodies around town now as everyone has received their merchandise and is flaunting it already. Look out for the next Duka La Swara opening, it’s a most elusive of online popup shops 🙂

#IfYouGoDownToTheForestToday…