Urban Swaras Starting Line 23rd November 2020 – Run 576 @Thayu Farm Hotel, Tigoni

Dear Swaras, 

Did you go to Alliance? In Kenya this question carries more weight than an overloaded Probox on a rural road. Anyone who attended Alliance High School as part of their education trajectory is extremely proud of this, and the Alliance Classic Run was launched as a way to offer high quality education to low-income students that struggle with fees or other education expenses.

Last weekend we all got the opportunity to say ‘I went to Alliance’, by taking part in the Alliance Classic Virtual Run with the Swaras at Levilla GardensOur Trail Queen, Loice, and Trail Fox, Chikani, truly pulled out all the stops for a beautiful, almost mud-free, rolling trail through Kikuyu and its farms and homesteads. But don’t forget, the Alliance Classic Virtual Run is running through to the 15th December, and so you can sign up at any time, to take part and nab one of the best 2020 running t-shirts and medals! Big thank you to the Alliance organising team that helped to coordinate Saturday’s run, Shem Yator and Ranu Waweru, amongst others.

MANY photos and highlights to be found in the Starting Line:

Register here for the Alliance Virtual Run between now and 15th December:

This week we’re heading a little further afield to a favourite Swara hangout: Tigoni!

The venue will be Thayu Farm Hotel, surrounded by tea plantations and hills a-plenty, to make your legs and your heart and your eyes all go ‘aaaaahh’. See below for all the details, as you also scroll past some images of Saturday’s run, as well as photos from an excursion into elephant territory by some of our members, and the handover of a Garmin watch to one of Nairobi’s most iconic senior runners, Josephine. Thank you to all who contributed for the watch, and to Ranu for coordinating on their behalf.

Register for next week’s run here:

And find full details to get your mouth watering in the Starting Line:


Urban Swaras Run 575 – Alliance Classic Run @Levilla Gardens, Kikuyu + Sheila Show & Tell

We had a COVID-era record-breaking turnout this last Saturday, at Hunger’s Nest. Must have been the runner’s hunger that drove everyone to come together for a great Saturday run! Thanks to CK for taking some amazing photos of Swaras running and laughing and (socially distanced) socialising!

This week we’re delighted to bring to you the Swaras edition of the Alliance Classic Virtual Run. This annual charity run organised by the Alliance High School Old Boys’ Club raises valuable funds to provide scholarships to low-income students. The Swaras have chosen to support this cause as our second charity cause of the year, so for this Saturday’s run, organised in conjunction with the Alliance Old Boys Club, we are urging all Swaras to register for the Alliance Classic Run ahead of time, to support the cause, and in return get not only a t-shirt but also a highly coveted medal!The run will be from Levilla Resort, Kikuyu. Flagging off from 6.45am to 7.30am, cut-off time for club support or presence 12pm.We invite you all to register for the Alliance Classic Virtual Run, as this Saturday’s run will be a Swara charity run to support this initiative.Register here:

If you’re not able to attend the run but wish to support the ACR cause, you are free to donate any amount you wish.

All the info (and there’s a lot of it) and photos (and there’s a lot of them!!!) not to be missed in this week’s Starting Line:

This week we’re also back to Swara Show & Tell!

You may have seen her on the trails, you may have seen her on our Zoom calls (she is one of the most faithful participants), or you may have seen her in a recent online ‘Supamamas’ campaign. Well, now you can catch her on Swara Show & Tell.

Show & Tell with Sheila Ommeh, this Wednesday 18th November at 6.15pm live on Zoom. We will kick off with Swara trivia with Ameet Shah, so scrub up on your facts and figures.

All are welcome, Swaras and non-Swaras, runners and aspiring runners!

Find everything in the Starting Line:




Urban Swaras Starting Line 9th November 2020

‘Hekima’ in Swahili means wisdom (so I hear), and so if mud and hills and tripping and rolling equates to wisdom, then I think we’re now as wise as the world itself after last Saturday’s Hekima Education Centre run! The rains held off and we turned out in our masses for a fantastic run. Catch the photos in the Starting Line:

Once again, on behalf of the entre Swara committee and membership, thank you all for respecting the Swara COVID protocols to keep our runs safe, fun, and interesting. Also, a big thank you to all for cooperating on our new water rules. As we attempt to take every necessary precaution to prevent the spread of the virus by phasing out disposable water bottles on the trail, we’re also going a long way to reducing our environmental impact, and we appreciate everyone’s cooperation on this. Moving forward we will continue to provide water at the start and finish line, but bring your reusable bottle/hydration pack if you need water on the trail. Thank you!

This week’s run will be from Hunger’s Nest Bar and Restaurant (formerly known as Firepit) on Forest Edge Road, in Langata, just near Galleria Mall. Flagging off from 6.45am to 7.30am, cut-off time for club support or presence 12pm.

Register for the run here: details and a ton of photos from last week’s run in this week’s Starting Line:


Urban Swaras Starting Line 2nd November Run 573 @ Hekima Education Centre, Ngong Road

There was much talk of ‘buying plots’ and ‘acquiring land’ (euphemisms for one of the most common mishaps when trail running) in Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary, and a lot of Swaras tried out some running clothes customisation, experimenting with mud splotches and the odd rip and tear, whether willingly or not! All this to say that the roots and muddy patches and ups and downs of Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary kept us on our toes, but it also offered beautiful, peaceful trails to the 50 or so Swaras that turned up on Saturday. Thank you to all who came and also to all of you for respecting the Swara COVID-19 protocol so that we can continue to safely and responsibly hold runs.

It’s Swara online session time again! After a week’s break we’re back with a very much in-demand session:

Understanding Running Technology.

We will hear from resident running tech experts, David Thuo and Ranu Waweru, so come with your questions about your Garmin/Strava/watch/pace and learn how to make the most of the technology at our disposal.

This session will be live on Zoom on Wednesday 4th November from 6.15pm, with an introductory brainteaser in the form of Swara and running trivia with Ameet Shah!

Link and details in the Starting Line:

Feel free to invite other runners or aspiring runners to join, these online sessions are open to everyone!

This week’s run will be from Hekima Education Centre on Ngong Road (between Karen and Ngong town), see the Starting Line ( for full details and registration link. Flagging off from 6.45am to 7.30am, cut-off time for club support or presence 12pm. 

Full details in the Starting Line:



Urban Swaras Starting Line 27th October – Run 572 @Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary

What more would you expect from Kenya Forestry Research Institute than trees, trees, and more trees? As an added bonus, this weekend amongst the fields and forests some little yellow dots could be spotted here and there, which upon closer inspection turned out to be Swaras in their luminous yellow finery! Well done to the ladies that did 42km, some of them in full tutu and sparkle regalia. Check out the photos in the Starting Line:
In other news, a special shoutout to some Swara legends who took it upon themselves to scale Mount Kilimanjaro in a little over 18 hours this weekend. Let’s wish Victor Kamau and Cheruiyot, and their fellow Kili slayers a swift recovery from their gargantuan success!

There will be no online Swara session this week, we will resume next week, as we adapt to a new pattern of coming together online every two weeks instead of every week.

This week’s run will be at Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary, a location that has gained in popularity during the course of 2020, and it’s about time the Swaras hit those trails as a club! As usual, ensure you are familiar with the Urban Swaras COVID-19 protocol. See the Starting Line for the protocol, sign-up form and full run details as well as some photo highlights from last week’s run:



Starting Line 19th October 2020

Last week saw Swaras being mistaken for primates, at Karen Primate Research Centre: swinging, jumping, singing, shouting, and malarkeying about, just the way we like it! Thanks to all who came and made it such a special run. This week, on Saturday 24th October, we’ll be running from KEFRI, in Muguga, see full details, and beautiful photos from last week as always in the Starting Line: and you can register here:

We also resume Swara online sessions, with a very special guest in the form or Michael Nawari, telling us about the important lessons he’s learned from running, and how they translate into shaping him into the person, community leader, family member and professional he is today. Don’t miss this inspiring talk, this Wednesday.

Tune in this Wednesday 21st October at 6.15pm, for Show & Tell with Michael Nawari, and Swara running trivia with Ameet Shah!

Full info in the Starting Line:



Urban Swaras Starting Line 12th October – Run 570 from Karen Primate Research Centre

After what feels like decades, this weekend saw the resumption of Swara club runs, and the look of tiredness and satisfaction on the faces of those who hit the trail for this first run back says it all! I’ve never seen people so eager to chase hills and hunt out the next white chalk arrow. What a trail it was! Waterfalls, rivers, some stepping stones that made more than a few of us wobble; it truly lived up to expectations! And it was amazing to see so many new faces, we hope to see you again soon!See the Starting Line for full details on this week’s run from the Karen Institute of Primate Research (housed within Oloolua Forest): note, there will be no Swara online session this week, but we will resume next week!Photos from the running week gone by, and full details on the Saturday 17th October Run from Karen Primate Research Centre in the Starting Line:


Urban Swaras Starting Line 5th October – BIG NEWS

A huge congratulations is in order for one of our own…Eliud! No, not the Eliud we all followed on TV, our own Eliud, Eliud Chemweno. He completed a 100-km all-bypasses ultra marathon this Sunday 5th October, but whilst many have completed or attempted this, Eliud completed it in a phenomenal time, and did so to raise money for needy young people, to offer financial relief for education. We also congratulate the host of Africa runners that dominated the 2020 elite-only London marathon, I know there were celebrations across Nairobi which many of you partook in! And for those who did their own virtual London Marathon from your backyards, congratulations! Have a cup of tea in true British style 🙂 Check out the Starting Line here:

Now we have some big news…Swara club runs are resuming! In line with the new national government guidelines, and with a view to adapting to the changing world around us, we will resume runs in a modified manner. Please find the Swara revised COVID protocol here and attached, and familiarise yourself with it. All protocols are for the health and wellbeing of all members, and the general public, so we ask you to strictly adhere to them. Please direct any questions to the club officials by email or Whatsapp ( More details on this week’s run in the Starting Line:

We will still be having our online session this Wednesday, and it’s a very special one! Women’s Power Hour will explore issues unique to female runners, and explore solutions to some of the most common problems, and outline how we all, men and women, can be allies to women in the pursuit of happy, health and safe running for female runners especially. We will have a number of members, men and women, sharing their personal experiences, and the conversation will be open for all to contribute and learn.

Join in the conversation on Wednesday 7th October at 6.15pm, with a short cerebral warm-up in the form of some Swara trivia with new quizmaster Ameet Shah!This week’s Starting Line with full details on this week run and how to register is here:


Starting Line 28th September

Our guest speaker last week, Hermann Kambugu, gave us all a bit of a ‘sofa safari’ as he not only joined us live from Kampala, Uganda, but also showed us his portfolio of runs covering more than 44 countries (yes, you read that right), including marathons, ultra marathons, and corporate sprints and relays! The beauty with running is that you can even travel on your doorstep…find a trail in a part of town you don’t know, ask a friend to show you a trail you don’t know, or follow someone else’s route. See what trails Swaras have been exploring this week in the Starting Line:

Now more than ever it’s paramount that we look out for ourselves and each other. Run in places you know well, or run with someone, tell someone where you’re going, and even share your live location with a good friend or trusted family members, carry a whistle/road ID, and avoid carrying valuables where possible. Unfortunately there are always risks when running, but please all do your best to secure your own safety, and look out for fellow runners too! And as always, check in on each other. 

This week we’re revisiting an old favourite in the realm of Swara Zoom sessions; we have a second instalment of Kundalini Yoga with Lydia. Last time we worked on our core, and boy did we feel it afterwards! This time we’re using an ancient practice to stand strong in the face of chaos (I can’t think of a more relevant theme right now), and this energizing and physical routine will work on breathing, energy flow and movements to achieve it.

All you need is a mat/blanket/thick carpet and a quiet space. All are welcome to join, no experience necessary, and no specific physical requirements or limitations. Lydia is a Swara and an experienced Kundalini Yoga instructor, and several Swaras have regularly joined her online sessions since our first Swara session a few months back.

Join the practice on Wednesday 30th September at 6.15pm, with a short cerebral warm-up in the form of some Swara trivia with new quizmaster Ameet Shah!

Get full details in the Starting Line:



Urban Swaras Starting Line 21st September – Show & Tell from the diaspora

What a week of beautiful runs! We had some joint birthday runs, and a number of socially-distanced birthday celebrations, with members of the club sharing best wishes and long distances all over the place! Such a beautiful display of running friendship and kinship, and I hope everyone that has a reason to celebrate this week will feel well surrounded with friends and family, even if it’s from a distance. Well done to all who ran, walked, rode, and showed immense solidarity in a variety of different ways. Some new challenges have also emerged, especially for the younger members…instead of running your age, run your birth year!

Find some photo highlights in this week’s Starting Line:

This week, as promised, we have a Swara Show & Tell from a Swara in the diasporaHermann Kambugu has shown up for innumerable editions of Nairobi Standard Chartered Marathon, Mount Kenya Ultra, and other Swara and Kenya-based runs, and has also been sent around the world to run in far-flung destinations as a running ambassador! We can’t wait to hear more, live and in direct from Hermann himself, live from Kampala, Uganda! Tune in Wednesday 23rd September. Remember to join at 6.15pm, for some running trivia to kick us off, this time led by Ameet Shah, taking over from Davis Munene!

Full details in the Starting Line, as well as details of a virtual from brought to you by Run Beyond and Team Jasho: