I’ve talked about how surreal running around ILRI during my lunch break is before. Two or three days a week we go jogging around the countryside surrounding the ILRI campus. Rain or shine, we strap up and run through the little towns of Uthiru and Ndambuini, on through the quiet village of Soweto (no, not the slum in South Africa), and down into a small valley filled with streams, cows, corn fields, and local dudes. You hear people speaking Kikuyu, Kiswahili, Kikamba, and then some little kid yells, “Mzungu!” and you remember, “Oohh shit, I live in Kenya.” I have gotten so used to this life that I do it without even thinking. I know I’ve written a lot over the past two years, so you guys must have some pictures in your head of what my life is like, but I also know that a picture is worth a thousand words.
“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?
Update (May 3, 2016): pictures got lost, oh well.
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.