“Pictures or it didn’t happen!” Well it happened: I ran ten kilometers in the 2009 Nairobi Marathon, and here are the pictures to prove it! There were almost sixty of us from ILRI, and we all finished without the aid of an ambulance. Finishing ten kilometers was a bit anti-climatic because we didn’t finish inside the stadium. I’m not even sure I crossed the finish line because by the time I got there people were already lined up waiting for medals or certificates or something. Next time I’ll do the half marathon (twenty-one kilometers).
Some people even told me they saw me on TV running. I guess I’m on my way to being famous, maybe?
I ran ten kilometers in the Nairobi Marathon, hakuna shida (no problem). It’s not far but I’m really tired! As I was waiting for the ten kilometer group to start I saw the wheelchair group fly by, and then the full marathon group — the forty-two kilometer guys are serious runners, holy shit. And the wheelchair guys were going so fast, and with such vigor, that I wondered if any of them ever fall. It would have to be catastrophic! I don’t even remember seeing them wearing helmets.
I had a lot of fun, so I’m actually looking forward to more runs in Kenya. I felt a real camaraderie when I arrived in the city center in a matatu (minibus used for public transit) in the morning. Because the police had closed all the roads I had to walk from the business district to Nyayo Stadium where the race was starting. Lots of people were walking, and random people were slapping high fives when they saw that you were obviously running in the marathon. As we were waiting at the venue I saw kids, old ladies with hunchbacks, and people in way worse shape than me running ten kilometers, and that’s ridiculous. I’ll have to do twenty-one in the next marathon, but never forty-two. Out of the sixty or so ILRI people who ran, two went for the full marathon. They both finished, but one of them was a bit out of this world when he crossed the finish line (if you know what I mean). forty-two kilometers is too far!
We had ILRI people taking lots of photos, so I’ll post those when I get copies later this week.
It will be two years ago tomorrow that I moved to Kenya with Sara. After a few months living in Tala we were evacuated due to the post-election violence after Kenya’s 2007 Presidential election, but I came back soon after. In that period I’ve taught computer classes as a VSO volunteer, traveled all over East Africa, learned Swahili, forgotten English, and gotten a non-volunteer job in Nairobi. Who knows where the hell I’ll be in two more years!
Tomorrow is also the annual Nairobi Marathon, in which I’ll be running ten kilometers. I’ve never been a runner, per se, but I’ve always been into sports. I want to do the run more for fun than anything else (besides, ten kilometers isn’t really that far — a whole marathon is forty-two). For the past two months or so I have been training (if you can call it that) with some buddies at work. We run at lunch time, anywhere from five to ten kilometers, through dirt roads, corn fields, etc. It’s a great way to get out of the office if nothing else. Not to mention the countryside is very beautiful, especially when you’re running in the rain. Also, I don’t feel so guilty when I go out and eat a pastry at the coffee shop afterwords.