News & Updates
January 31, 2020
Start. Just start. You have a dream. A desire. Every now and then it nudges you on but you’ve got excuses. “Good” excuses. If we just tried getting beyond those reasons rather excuses. What’s that thing you’ve wanted to do but you always get a reason not to.
Cant run in the morning? Try evening. The traffic is bad, won’t get to Karura in good time. Sure. Try running around your work place, carry a change of clothes, go shower at home. Nothing wrong with not giving a ride to your pal for a day or two, unless ofcause they can stand your sweaty smell and runners’ high chit chat. They may love it and join you at it. Am too heavy cant run fast. Easy. Walk. Just one foot infront of the other. I hate running. Okay, think about the results and you will love it. So worth it! Am too old to run. Shush right there. Have you seen those grey haired divas running in a swag early dawn, in hot pink sleeveless tops and matching flowered tights? In my little wisdom i once tried chasing one….shock on me..watched her backside disappear on the horizon..next time we met at the breakfast table..me beaten…her smiling through her glassy eyes…”slowly daughter, you’ll get there”. She’s the age of my sweet mama, Maria. can also try other stuff, swim, play tennis, play golf, or even american football, just be careful about that “youtube” coach. Just get moving.
December 13, 2019
It’s Monday morning after Santa run…I am feeling tired and I can hear the rain…a voice beckons ‘ sleep…there will always be another run’.I remember captain’s presentation at Runfit dinner…not sure which part…anyway…, I stealthily get out of bed, not wanting to awaken my house mates.
I hear my roomate say something about the rain and why I shouldnt be running in the rain.This bed has a way of kidnapping me.the good book says I should obey my husband…it also says ‘do not love sleep or you will grow poor’ (proverbs 20 verse something…am half asleep…)should I sleep in?😔 I remember a bit of info from captain’s presentation at the annual dinner…something about Michael Jordan putting in the work…and results coming’…. jeez…, what did he say? I shouldn’t have had the fermented grapes before the presentation🥴…anyway, I reach the gym…I meet Doug and my mazungu friend that I met online..(Doug is dressed like an eskimo…mazungu has a vest and shorts)..is he seeing the sun🧐?…I had convinced him to join us for a run…..told him Africa is safe…infact we even arrested our governor and anyone who tries to mess with him will be taken straight to EACC…(I didn’t give him time to ask too many questions…😉)
Off they went…Kenya (Doug) Vs Canada (mazungu)…I also take off…I meet speed sister Rachael driving to the gym….she hoots… warns me ‘niko nyuma yako’…that can only mean one thing..run sister and best I don’t catch up with you…mimi mbio..🏃🏽♀🏃🏽♀…I decide to change routes…asinipate…I run kayawe then Karozy (these guys named a route after me😘)…then run towards Yaya…a white vitz passes me..next thing….a loud bang! The driver slept…😴🙆🏽…and hit the pavement…car is skidding on two legs…sparks everywhere…he finally lands on 4 wheels…metal and glass all over…as we approach to check on him, he takes off with half the car…thank God he is alive…and no one is hurt…anyway I proceed…
Rachael’s threat back on my mind…how far has she run? I open chest…inde hillwork towards Ford Kenya..there is no blue water…only black water on the road..half of it in my shoes thanks to this probox that figured I didn’t shower . ..I meet Doug and Mazungu heading back to the gym..Kenya Vs Canada going strong…who will win? I ask….I get to Ford Kenya..turn back…I can’t see Rachael…good👍🏽…few minutes later I meet her and Nick…I envy her…Nick has so many stories..you never feel the fatigue coming…should I run with them?
Hapana..nimekimbia zangu….ghafla bin vu! .I meet some dogs…black routwilers…Jesus…I thought I prayed before the run?….ama nilisahau🍯…(i should have gone to church Jana🙃)…where is the owner?…wooiiii…I feel like peeing..where are the Chinese? Am sure these peeps would make some good dinner…..the owner shows up…Thank God…this run is cursed! It’s a sign I should just go back to Heron….again, captain’s presentation comes back to the head…something about persistence…waaa…those grapes…I promise to take tea next time…a few minutes later am at EACC…is Sonko in there?..why was he screeming during his arrest? Ama someone touched some things..🥎🥎😏 .’ weee madam…pita huko’…it’s a cop…I don’t want any trouble…glad to see the hotel…keep safe guys…
Rosie running diary…
December 13, 2019
My maiden run in Beira…
It’s wed 6pm.Tomorrow is 12/12…Jamuhuri day, a day when I should sleep until I get bed sores…but no.., the gang has conspired to have me run in Ngong at 5am.’Should I take a flight to Mombasa?’ the thought crosses my mind…my watsapp pings…it’s Edu (wakili)..the threats have started coming.😳
Now if you are a night runner like me, you best have the lawyer as your friend….another ping…Jeez, it’s Rachael.(I don’t even read her message)..ok…no grapes tonight.I heed the call to run the hills.9.30pm I am in bed.No maize cobs tonight.(I think it was in captain’s presentation..sikumbuki.🙆🏽..something about conserving energy)..anyway we sleep…
The alarm goes off..I see that it’s 3am…(those children fiddled with my phone and set the wrong time?
Today they will know that I have 2 votes in this house!).I go back to sleep…the next voice I hear is Rachael’s..(kwani ako bedroom? 🥶🥶)..(Rozy, umefika?)…I felt like I was in high school and the matron has found me in bed, long after the alarm went😳…I respond like a typical Kenyan ‘yes, am almost there’…saa hizo niko na pajamas, stocking kwa kichwa, and different colours of socks😳.
It took me 7 minutes to get out of the house…drove like a mad man to Ola Galeria… Rachael calls asking where I am, kumbe she is waiting at Ola Langata…(these are the first signs that Ngong isn’t a good idea)..we meet up.. argue on who was in the right petrol station.Thankfully she is driving a German machine…as general says ‘ngong ni hapa tu’…we moved from langata to Ngong…strait! bypass haikutuona…we link up with the gents (thank you for waiting for us😘)…and nduthiman called bachelor… Nick is the acting captain….without the acting allowance🤑…
He briefs us (just like captain’s presentation, sikuelewa kitu…I only heard hills..corner…1.5km…hills…8km…he also gave a stern warning that we should appreciate the beauty that Ngong has to offer and not just run…(beauty+hills don’t go together🙃…it’s like taking tea and lukwads🤷🏾♂)I think Humphrey saw through me and was gracious enough to warm up with me…aliona huyu anaweza fika rongai.Off we went…🏃🏽♀🏃🏽♀…down the hill…then a few undulating ones…Humphrey kept the stories coming as I ate the hills one by one…
He joined the crew at the turn and I didn’t see him again until the finish…the run was scenic (the wind turbines just peeking through the clouds), the air was fresh and traffic was light.It was also downhill so the pace was good.
It was strange that there were many dogs on the road…looks like these ones didn’t make it to the Chinese dinner table..🍖🥘….ama hazikuwa za grade😏…I turn…and then I saw them..wawawa….the mountains😳…the hills had disappeared😳😳… across the ridge you could see the road…the one I was about to climb…Jeso, hiyo yote ni yangu?😳.
I start running,the legs, the turbo(chest) are not in sync…I wondered why the nduthiman was called bachelor because at that moment, if he had proposed, in exchange for a ride, I would consider🥴…up I ran…the mountain isn’t ending…
I know Kariakim lives in Ngong…which of these could be his house?Hapo ningeingia….(we will figure out what to tell the Mrs after I get a lift to Beira)…2kms gone…I have another 3…jeez, these hills…am having some non- heavenly thoughts..Rachael & Edu🔫💣…I should have just ran the 7.5 km charity run jana, ate some of Nick’s choma, perhaps some grapes and slept in😴😴.
My head is blank…no presentation from captain comes to mind…hata zile za last year….otire🙆🏽…I contemplate jumping on to a nduthi…after all, I planned to run 15km and now am at 18km…lakini what if I hop on and it’s a crazy nduthiman who decides to ride me into the hills?
Hapana…wacha ningangane…I meet drunky, he mumbled a few words about Kairetu,by this time, I have called Edu and Rachael by their native names😡😡…I turn into Beira…there is a 1.6km run to the Himalayas mountain…waaaa…na whose legs will run up there? Even the sign with NIC bank ilikataa kupanda hiyo mlima..ilibaki hapo kwa forest.I run up…my motivation is KCP taking me back home.I see the bIack sign…phew…it’s done, 22km…and just like I say in the delivery room, ‘huku sirudi!🙅🏽♂
‘…stretch…showers… then we head for breakfast.The tea was to die for…maziwa na majani ilitosha.The cook was on point..👍🏽….as we are about to order another flask, we see the male cook running at INEOS speed,the female waiter in hot pursuit🏃🏽♀🏃🏽♀…ala! Hii Ngong iko na maneno…did he steal something or did the waitress just discover how handsome he was?🥰…either way, there was no chance of having another cuppa…we bid each other farewell and KCP, here I come…we join the bypass and ghafla bin vu! Nick passes us…shwa shwa…weaving through cars…he must have been driving at 200kph.
Rachael and her German machine are in shock…nimi ninaendesha Japanese so siongei…🤬…we figured, Nick must be pressed,the question then was, pressed front or back?🤔…I said front…Rachael thought back😶…her reason was that Nick would have stopped on the side…but then again, we have lions and hyenas…how do you explain showing up at home without your tools?🤭…we concluded that it was the backside…Rachael proceeded to tell me about her backside experience…( when she finally got home, which was 300 meters, even switching off the car consumed too much time..handbag, viatu ziliachwa as she 1.59ed to the house🏃🏽♀🏃🏽♀…the housy thought thieves were after her…sijui Mr G alikuwa wapi (maybe in the armoury😊)…anyway, we get to my car, thankful to Rachael, Wakili, Nick, general, Captain and all ye folks who have persisted until I saw Beira…I hear Kahara is next…
…let me buy my ticket to Mombasa✈…this time for real…
Happy Jamuhuri day folks. Wacha nirudishie mwili asante🍷🍹
October 24, 2019
THE UNTOLD STORY OF MY COMRADES JOURNEY TO BACK -TO – BACK MEDALS
The Comrades Marathon has a rich history dating back all the way to 1921 when the first Comrades was held with 34 Runners. To date, the ultimate human race attracts close 25,000 runners across the globe. It has a unique record of the world’s oldest, biggest and most famous ultra-marathon with a collection of past winners prizes from the early 1920s & the 1930s. Photos of Vic Clapham the founder and other Comrades can be viewed. It brings together athletes from 80 countries. It is a symbol of passion, pride & perseverance. The comrades take all of you. It tests you, it defines you, and it can break you. However, ultimately it strengthens you. It brings the runner close to being great and enduring, as greatness would allow. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THE COMRADES!
I started training this year in January, for Mt Kilimanjaro marathon together with Kitengela Mbuni Runners and Run fit Club members under our mentorship of D.Thuo, J. Ndegwa and D. Munene who have been guiding and coaching the upcoming recreational runners. They have been role models to everyone. Mt Kilimanjaro is one of the races many runners use to qualify for marathon races and it’s organized by Wild frontiers who are the organizers of the Comrades Marathon.
I had missed out registration for the race when it opened in October 2018 due to financial constraints that I was going through. I did not foresee my participation for the race come June. The registration for comrades sells out quickly within a month immediately after it opens up. So my chances were so slim even though I still continued with my training in January and February. I then ran the Mt Kilimanjaro marathon beginning of March with the hope that I will still register for the comrades. Having run it last year (2018) from Pietermaritzburg to Durban (down run 90kms) as a novice, (this is a term popularly referred for the first time runners), it therefore meant I had to run the up run which is Durban—Pietermaritzburg, 87kms. Having run it two years consecutive years means I earned the back-to-back medal.
Earlier on during one the Runfit club training sessions D. Thuo had planned with Karen Hospital to have runners undertake some medical examinations. After being examined, I was one among the runners who were referred back for further investigation by the cardiologist. He told me I should not run the Comrades before undertaking further examinations. All these involved monies which I was not able to raise. I confided these findings to my friend who quickly went online and read extensively about the conditions of Athletes. She came down with a consolation answer that it was a normal condition with some Runners. I then felt some relieve and ran even though later I would visit the Karen Hospital for further tests. By this time all my comrades’ colleagues who were doing the Comrades had extensively trained and had already done with their long runs of +60kms.I could only do runs in Ngong 26kms, 35kms and 42kms.
During the month of April, the comrades usually have a window period of 2 weeks for those who do not qualify by then to be replaced, with people on the waiting list. I had decided that I wanted to register and go for my back-to-back medal. Therefore, when the registration opened in April I registered through Sports Tours and Travel. Unfortunately, after having run Mt Kilimanjaro full marathon and Beyond Zero half Marathon, I sustained a back injury, which put me down for the next 7 weeks and had to attend two physiotherapy sessions each week by the Nairobi Sports Injuries and Wellness clinic. By the time I satisfied them I could resume training, it was 5 weeks to the race. Everybody was worried including me about the short time to race, deep down myself, I would feel my inner spirit whispering that I will run the Comrades and finish unless something drastic happened.
PRE & RACE DAY
I travelled to SA on 6th June 2019, and the following day I went to the Comrades marathon Expo and picked my running kit. I then went to the Cola-Cola booth where I met a representative of Cola-Cola SA, by the name Asanda who took me around the Cola-Cola Expo booth. The Coca-Cola team at the expo was happy to see me at their booth because they were aware that I was sponsored by a water brand (Keringet) from the Kenya office.
Cola-Cola is one of the biggest sponsors of the Comrades marathon. By virtue of being a sponsor they are entitled to man one of the hydration checkpoints.
During the Expo there is so much fanfare, different running clubs come singing SA National Anthem. Ecstatic mood is all over the place making Comrades running look much easier. One booth selling Maurten which is the Energy drink that E. Kipchoge and other Kenyan elite runners use. The booth was branded with Kenyan athletes Kipchoge, D. Wanjiru E. Kiplangat. B. Koskei images. Everyone was excited to buy the drinks being taken by Celebrity Kenyan runners who predominantly dominate world marathon running.
After collecting my running kits I retired to the hotel waiting to do the 5kms warm run on Saturday 8th, where I met my Kenyan Comrades team led by Sandor, S. Muteti, P. Momanyi, Stella Hamisi, Giba, James. The other Kenyans who opted to take a rest included R. Kameadju, V. Kamau, Lebo, H. Muturi, Andu Adebe & E.Oonge. After the warm-up race I went back to the hotel to go through the drill of going through the checklist, timing chip, gels, road ID, warm clothes, etc. I always say this drill is like going to war, everything has to be ready and of the alarm clock crossed checked.
I woke up at 3am and went for breakfast. After breakfast, we were driven to the start line at 4 am. The place is lively, and I got to my seed F. This seed F is where you find slow runners and anyone who is running Comrades for the first time. It is a seed you have push and get enough space for running otherwise it is too congested. I fell twice before 25kms & 30kms because I had to jostle for space to run. After 35kms the crowds fizzle out then one can now run at his/her own pace or join the bus.
In 2018 I was in a better pool because I was seeded in seed D because of my sub 4hrs marathon qualification time. However in 2019 I was seeded in pool F primarily because of a technical hitch that occurred during the 2018 Nairobi Standard Chartered Marathon where we were made to run 43.3kms instead of the IAAF marathon distance 42.195kms therefore I ended up running 4.06hrs instead of sub 4hrs.
The halfway mark (Drummond) is very significant to all the runners. It is called Arthurs seat. In 2019 I paid attention because in 2018 I did not know what was happening. I just saw runners going to touch the grounds, but I paid no attention. The spot is refuted to have been a favourite resting spot for the Legendary Arthur Newton, a five (5) times winner of the Comrades marathon in the 1920’s. It is said that runners who pay tribute to Arthur as they pass by will enjoy the strong second half of the race. Drummond is a place of joy and tears as the halfway cut off time of 11:40 am approached more runners had made their way past halfway, but exactly 11:40 am (6.10hrs) the barriers went up and about 19,000 runners had gone past the halfway line leaving behind 4,000 who did not make it to the second half of the COMRADES.
I had earlier joined the bus (running group) of runners expected to finish within 10.30hrs but as the race progressed I developed muscle cramps after 60kms mark, making me slow down. I tried to put a brave face even though I was in pain. Along the roadside, I would see runners trying to seek medical attention while others were throwing up in the bush. At 65 km mark, I finally came to the Cola-Cola checkpoint where I met Asanda and Cola-Cola SA crew who cheered me and ran with me for about 100 meters. I was energized to see them and started jogging and walking. However, I had to stop at the medical station due to painful cramps. I was sprayed and after a few minutes I got a relief and continued still on the bus for 10.30hrs.
Comrades route is full of fanfare. Along all the way, there are musical bands playing for the runners while other supporters are roasting meat and drinking. There were students, relatives, and spectators all along the route and there is no kilometre covered where you would not get someone to shout your name and encourage you with the Comrades marathon theme, Sizonqoba—together we shall triumph. All the way was pomp, hype and color.
At the 75kms mark I got severe muscle cramps again. This time I stopped running and walked until I approached a medical station where they gave me some salt to lick. After licking the salt, I got better and continued running until the finish line. I crossed the finish line at 10hrs 57mins 27 secs. Upon crossing the finish line one is awarded a medal for finishing the race referred to as the finisher’s medal. Having run the Comrades for two consecutive years, I was entitled to a Back to Back medal. As I walked to receive it I developed serious cramps again, my body shut down, and I could not walk. I sat down and the next thing I was carried on a stretcher to the finishers’ medical tent. It was my first time since I started running 15 years ago, I ended up in medical rescue tent for further check-up. While I was on the stretcher, they helped me collect my Back-to-Back medal.
This finish line is so well organized that they will check on every runner whether they have gotten their respective medals. You will not go looking for your medal. At the medical tent, I was so exhausted that I could not even take water, an energy drink or a soda. They checked my BP, heart rate, pulse and everything was okay even though I had not passed urine for 15hrs. I could see runners passing urine with blood. At this point, I remembered my earlier health scare at the Karen Hospital when the cardiologist had warned me not to take part until he cleared me. I wanted to be examined properly and not to leave anything to chance. After a while, I recovered and felt much better. I walked to go get my warm clothes where I met my Kenyan Comrades and we sat for a hot cup of coffee while we celebrated and took photos.
The 12-hour cut-off time
Then came the finish time which is 12 hours cut-off, this is one of the epicentre of the Comrades marathon where families, runners and spectators gather to witness the last moments of the race and everyone trying to encourage runners to go past the finish line. People watch from big TV screens which are mounted around the finish line.
The stadium is tense and emotional moments going through many people waiting for the gun to go off. This is the part of Comrades everyone waits around to watch, so I had gone near a TV screen to watch. After 12 hours when the gun went off, Indian National K. Vartak 31 years old was disappointed after narrowly missing the cut-off by a few seconds. It was his second time unlucky as he did not finish last year’s marathon just 5kms from the finish when he fractured his ankle. In 2019, K. Vartak stated that cramps set in 30kms prior to halfway, which affected his race even though he said he would make a comeback in 2020. Another runner by the name of A. Mabena, 70years old missed the cut-off at halfway when he announced his retirement from Comrade’s marathon after taking part for 15 years in a row. This was the first time he missed the cut-off. Least but not last was Siyanda Majeke’s face as he was the last person to cross the finish line in 2019 Comrades marathon cut-off. There was relief etched all over his face as the last runner to cross the finish line at 12.00.00 hrs. Many runners cried as they crossed the finish line. It was a bittersweet moment for many runners like N. Mongohhoane as she missed the cut-off by seconds. She tried to jump, but it did not work. She ran with a hip injury and after two years break. She was happy and promised to come back in the future.
Steyn Gerda was this year, the woman who smashed the up run Comrades marathon record by 10 minutes by running 5.58.83hrs from the previous record of 6.09.23hrs that was set in 2006 by Russian Elena’s. She also won the Two Oceans Old Mutual Marathon. 34-year-old Mothibi was 2019 male winner running 5.31.33hrs. He spoilt Bongomusa’s attempt to win the fourth consecutive Comrades marathon title by only 25seconds. There were emotional scenes of camaraderie encompassing the spirit of comrades as the sunset over Pietermaritzburg signalling the 12hr cut-off.
The Robert Mtshali Medal: For the first time athletes who completed this year’s Comrades marathon in 9hrs to sub 10hrs were awarded with this medal. It joins the other Comrades medal collection namely: Gold for top 10 men & women, Wally Hayward men position 11 to sub 6hrs, Isavel Roche Kelly women position 11 sub 7.30hrs, Silver 6hrs—7.30hrs, Bill Rowan 7.30hrs—sub 9hrs, Bronze 10hrs—sub 11hrs, Vic Clapham Copper 11hrs, sub 12hrs, Back to Back; Novice runners who have completed 2 consecutive runs, up and down
This year in April during one of our training runs which was a send-off run for Team London Marathon; one of my running mates just overheard a conversation that I was having with another runner in regards to her, assisting me seek corporate sponsorship for this race. Upon hearing this conversation, she asked me to submit a write up about the charity I was fundraising for. She then took up the conversation further with Keringet team from Cola-Cola.
The team receiving Keringets Contribution
Keringet, the premium water brand from Coca-Cola was sold onto this sponsorship concept and agreed to support my running endeavours by supporting my travel, accommodation, training needs, hydration and more importantly agreeing to support my charity cause. From this sponsorship, I was expected to champion hydration, fitness and advocate for the importance of staying hydrated during training and runs. Keringet has continuously hydrated me during this contractual period and as their brand ambassador I therefore been running in Keringet branded kit locally and during the Comrades marathon. Keringet water brand has continued supporting recreational runners and sponsored three training runs, two before the Comrades marathon and one after.
Besides sponsoring my participation in Comrades marathon, Keringet has extended a warm gesture by sponsoring my air ticket, hydration and kit for the New York Marathon.
SHOE4AFRICA /NEW YORK MARATHON
After running the Comrades Marathon I had registered for the New York Marathon on November 3rd which is one of the 6th World Marathon Majors. Shoe4africa is one of the Charities accredited by the New York Marathon to fundraise for the children’s hospital. I applied to run, and got a marathon slot from the CEO and Founder of Shoe4Africa, Toby Tanser. My target was to raise Ksh. 2 million for the construction of the only Public Children’s Cancer Hospital Sub-Saharan Africa, which requires $2 million for the construction and $500,000 for equipment. In 2018 I raised Ksh. 600,000. In 2019 so far, I have fundraised Ksh.409, 000. This is money fundraised from recreational runners, friends, Corporate and Hill Crest School students whose students who have been sparing their pocket money for this initiative.
I have managed to raise Ksh. 1 Million in total. To all those who have donated their monies I say Asante Sana.
Shoe4Africa Childrens Hospital
I am still appealing for more sponsorship. I believe every child in Kenya deserves quality health care and cancer is disease many children cannot access treatment due to its high cost of implication. Therefore, by giving your shilling, a dollar or a pound it will go towards the construction of the only Public Children’s Hospital Sub-Saharan Africa
In April when the Comrades opened a window for registration replacement, I had to struggle to get cash for registration and eventually I registered through sports tours and travel. I was so excited even though the physiotherapist had grounded me during this period. After several visits to Nairobi Sports Injuries and Wellness Clinic, the pain persisted, and they referred me to take an x-ray. After going to the hospital they requested me to make payment of the X-ray. I checked my bank balance, which I had reserved to buy a ticket to SA. I realized my bank balance was not correct. I got a rude shock because my bank balance was not correct.
I proceeded to my bank, and I requested them to print a statement. When I perused through it I straight away realized someone had hacked my account while I was making payment for registration and accommodation and it was being used in SA. Someone was eating at the Mcdonalds, riding on Taxify, withdrawing money daily. In 12 days, he had withdrawn 100k. At that point, the Bank asked me to get a police abstract, which they would forward, to the Bank’s fraud and claims. I could not believe this, but after confiding with my friend, she assured me if I did not compromise my credit card I will get a refund but the refund would take one month. I did not have any other money to buy the ticket. I called another friend who bailed me as I waited for the claim to go through. I kept it a secret and prayed about it, asking God how can my money can be stolen while I was fundraising for children whom I do not know. Why is this possible? I had many unanswered questions. After one month, I called the Bank, and they told me they have already returned my money in my account. This was a miracle for me. After one week Keringet Brand, Cola-Cola came on board for sponsorship. God answered my prayers and reminded me silver and gold belongs to him if he provides birds of the air food, why am I worried.
Special thanks to Recreational Runners & my friends, families, Keringet Brand, Cola-Cola, Icon Sports, CEO & founder of Shoe4africa Toby Tanser, Hon. A. KIAI, L.Kiplangat, P.Makau, D.Wakiihuri, Hill Crest School, Bomas of Kenya, Nikita Resort, Sports City Resort, Fitness Rev Gym, Staff of Nairobi Sports Injuries and Wellness clinic, J. Kariakim, D. Thuo, J.Ndegwa, D. Munene, Pacers Kiplimo & Englishman, Mburu Taxi & Crew, Bachelor Kimani, Training Partners, Melita & Jane Olgivy, Nyanguthi, Mona, Girls and all those who continues to play a part by checking on me and ensuring I am doing my training, welfare, etc.
I still appeal for more funds,
July 2, 2018
The idea to run the Comrades Marathon was mooted during a celebration party for the then concluded 2017 New York Marathon Participants at the Fitness Revolution Gym in December 2017. One of my friends approached me after I spoke about recreational running participation at the World Marathon Majors by supporting local charities. He asked me to think about running the Comrades for a local Charity, the rest is history. At first I resisted but through his persuasion I gave in but stated that I could not run for 12 hours only for a medal. Every sweat that dripped from my face would have to bless a less fortunate member of the society. At that point in mind I chose to run for Shoe4Africa Children’s Hospital. Having known Toby Tanser the C.E.O for Shoe4Africa and his Charity work that he had been carrying out in Kenya for so many years, I decided to run this race instead of New York/London Marathons
SHOE4AFRICA CHILDRENS HOSPITAL: Shoe4africa children’s hospital is the only Public Referral Children’s Hospital we have in this country and it is the 3rd Public Children’s Hospital we have South of Sahara. The other two are in SA. This facility has a Cancer Ward and as you all know that Cancer is a big burden to many families who cannot afford treatment. This Hospital will be to admit every child in this country and so no child should die in Kenya due to lack of basic treatment. Every child deserves quality health care. That’s why I chose this Charity out of the many more.
COMRADES: This year was the 93rd Comrades Edition and it was a Down Run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban-90.184kms. This Race has a rich history for South Africans and you can listen to their stories for many hours. I was running this race for the first time and normally anyone running for first time is referred to as a Novice a name that fitted this Tata as I am normally referred to. I arriving in SA on the 7TH of June and the following day I visited the COMRADES Expo and in particular the Novice Hospitality stand. Here you meet all newbie’s who are being ushered into this hospitality by the Comrades Gurus who have been there before some of the runners running the comrades this year were born. The runners here are motivated and they are made to feel at ease while tackling this race. If there are any remaining butterflies then one leaves this place being sure of finishing the race. While there, I managed to speak to the following Comrades Gurus: Robb Allan who has won this race 7 times. Another remarkable Runner was Dave Rogers Aged 76 years No: 183. He started running the Comrades in 1961 and he had run it for 45 years. The third Tommy Nehski aged 73 years by end of this month. He had run the comrades for 42 years and he was running with me this year for his 43rd title. It humbles you how resilient these men are and how they talk and encourage you. By the time you leave the novice hospitality stand you are convinced that even you too can do it again and again. The myth and fear disappears.
TRAINING: I started my training on the 2nd week of January and due to excitement I hit the road running so many kilometers in a week without building my mileage gradually. I did many difficult runs in Ngong, Kimunye and Fluorspar. This excitement cost me dearly in the 2nd week of February prompting me to stop training 2 weeks before Mt Kilimanjaro Marathon due to an injury. After finishing Kilimanjaro Marathon, which I performed poorly, I aggravated the muscle injury. I had to be helped to the waiting bus and that was my genesis of my injury for the next 7weeks.The first time I walked to the Sports Injury and Fitness Clinic I was on two clutches completely unable to walk un-aided. For the next 7 weeks I had to attend physiotherapy twice a week due to a severe groin and calf muscle injury. This went on until first week of April when I was allowed to do a 40mins run -8 weeks to Comrades. For the 40 minutes I had to run precisely according to the Physiotherapist’s advice. In April I was only doing 50 -65kms a week, Then came May 6 weeks to the race, this was when I was cleared to run several 20 – 25kms per week at a pace of 7mins – 7.30min per kilometer. I faithfully followed this. I only attempted to do what you call long runs-3 of them, 33kms 4weeks, 45kms 3 weeks and 30kms 2 weeks to the race respectively. That was my training. By this time everyone was worried and most people had doubts whether I would make it ahead of the cut off times in the Comrades without having done very long runs, while most people had trained and fully prepared for this race. I took no time even to watch the videos provided to runners, the online training by Comrades Coach Barry I only listened once. I did not even go to Comrades web to read anything even looking at the route. At one time I printed the training and I gave someone to look at it and I never got it back. All these I played eye and I was ignorant and confided with myself that I would attack this race from an ignorant persons attitude. I decided to go for this Comrades as Novice, Tata, Grandma, Susu, Cucu but deep inside me I had the conviction that I would run and finish this race.
Pre & Race day: On Saturday 9th I went for a 5 kms warm pre race at the Beach. After the run people are advised to take as much rest as possible, refraining from walking to keep the legs fresh. At mid-day we were driven to Pietermaritzburg 90 kms away by bus arriving at 3pm.This was the same trip we would be making the next day only that this time we would be on our feet running. After checking in, we went straight to our rooms to prepare for the race day. I put up everything I required for the for race from gels, timing chip and warm clothes to change after the race . It was like going to a war zone in Somalia. Everything had to be ready because wake up time was 2.30 – 2.45am, and breakfast time was 3am and by then you had to be ready with your tog bag. After breakfast we left the hotel at 4 am to the start line. I got to my seeding pen, which was 500 meters from the start line. The place was so lively with an entertainment band playing lots of nice music and then the National Anthem. When they eventually started singing the famous Shosholosa,I found myself joining the crowds in singing the song. “This is now the moment,” I said to myself.” if this is the way the race starts I will certainly be looking forward to coming back next year. The mood was epic. Every runner must experience this race. It is so electrifying..something that you don’t see in any other race.
After a few minutes the gun went off and it was time for business. The temperatures were 9 degrees Centigrade. I had to run with a sweater until I was warm enough to throw it away. The entire route was lined up with lots of entertainment by Zulu dancers, bands and ordinary people coming out of their homes to cheer the runners all day long. After I removed my sweater, I joined my bus for sub 10hours. I ran with this bus all the way till 84kms.There were 6 cut off stations. Each one I came across I was 1hour 45 mins ahead of the cutoff including the last one, which was 11hrs. I was so comfortable that I knew even if something drastic happened I could still manage to walk/run to the finish within 12 hours. I had intended to do a sub 10hours considering how I was feeling from the start but I slowed down the last 6 kms , managing to run and finish at the Moses Mabbinda stadium 10hours 27mins 15secs culminating my happiest running moment by getting a Bronze Medal . Mission accomplished # ASIJIKI#. This Motto of #ASIJIKI# keeps you going all the way.
12hour Cut Off Ceremony: This is a very emotional moment. Inside the Stadium runners trickle in some staggering in a bid to beat the cut off time. I witnessed two runners who had crawl to the finish line even though the gun went off earlier by 2 seconds. Any runner who ran 12hrs 01mins was awarded the medal.
RACE/WINNERS: This year South Africans won the race in both categories of men and women. I captured this story because the Men winner, B. Mthembu had not seen his family for 3 months while undergoing training. He lost his best friend and training partner who collapsed and died in March while in a training camp. It affected him so much that he had opted to withdraw from the race. He is among the few who have won back to back. While the woman Winner was Ashworth who is Lawyer, 6 hours 10mins and her Motto: God made me for purpose and you should feel his pleasure. She stayed from her job for 2 months while undergoing training for this race.
Missing out by 1 minute at the halfway cut off mark was 50 years old Lucas Makones whose dream of finishing his 10th Comrades was cut short as he went hunting for a toilet in the nearby bushes. When he rejoined the Ultimate Human Race he fell short by a minute when the gun went off at halfway in Drummond and instead of shedding a tear of disappointment being the first person to miss the cut off at 6hrs.10mins, he said he would be back next year. Another runner Elizabeth missed out the cut off for the 3rd year in a row while attempting it for the 4th time, at halfway mark she heard the the gun go off and saw the barriers and Runners alongside the wire fencing which separated huge crowd from the runners on the road. Another notable runner was one legged Runner Xolani Luvuno whose story of determination saw the organizers allow him to start the race alone at midnight before the official time 5.30am. Luvuno overcame drug addiction and bone cancer, which led to the amputation of his leg. He ran with mentor who had noticed him begging at traffic lights along his way to work. Gwen was residing in the opposite room in my hotel. She too narrated to me during breakfast that this was her 3rd time after missing out the cut off last year. This year in April she quit her job of Human Resource to train for the Comrades. She ran all the way making it to the last cut off time, but from 7kms to the finish she was on border line and so she started praying to God to enable her finish within the medal bracket. By this time it was getting dark and at 2kms to the finish line she hit the road reflectors and so she fell down. She got up and continued to run, while entering the Moses Mabbinda Stadium it was dead silent and by then she was walking and delirious when noticed a camera focusing on her and everyone in the stadium holding their breath, she picked up herself and started running the last steps finishing at 12hrs 01min, fortunately the gun went off 2 seconds earlier, therefore earning herself the coveted medal. She was emotional and thankful to God that she made it.
Thank you note.I owe special tributes to various groups of people who in one way made my maiden journey 2018 Comrades so easy. Hon. Esther Passaris, Women MP. Rep Nairobi County, Hon. A. Kiai, MP for Mukurweini Constituency. J.Ndegwa and D. Thuo the Coach who took me through the entire route & running tips making it look so easy,comrades mates Nick who I trained with on some of my runs,Wahome,Lebo,John and Timo, Sports Injury & Fitness Team headed by J. Kariakim, Media PR R.Sang ,Fundraising team J.Amara, L.Thuo, A. Thuo, D. Gitari, W.Wangendo, Group of Special friends representation through Tito, Running groups: Urban Swaras, Run Fun and Fitness, Kitengela Mbuni Runners, Medal Hunters, Individual Runners, well wishers including those who cheer me as I run, those who send words of encouragement and keep praying for me,Donors,Patrick Makau Former World Record Holder 2011 -2013,Media houses KTN,Radio Africa,Sheila Mwanyigha ,the C.E.O and founder of Shoe4Africa foundation and Shoe4Africa Children’s Hospital Toby Tanser who gave me the opportunity to raise funds for the only Public Referral Children’s Hospital in the Region and to God almighty for blessing me with good health at my “Tender” age of 64 giving me a chance to bless others with the gift of running. TO ALL OF YOU THANK VERY MUCH.
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February 3, 2017
At what point did it occur to me that running a full marathon was a good idea?
It was sometime in early 2014, in Moshi, Tanzania. I had just run the half marathon distance in the Kilimanjaro marathon. I realized that I had always wanted to do a full marathon, and this was as good a year as any. With that, my sights were set on the Standard Chartered marathon that would be held later that year, in October. That gave me almost 8 months of training – ample time to get run ready. I rallied up my running mates and soon after we started training towards this goal. Every month we would organize “long” runs complete with route support – water, fruit and energy drink stations.