It’s Marathon Season…. And this past weekend saw thousands of runners take over Muran’ga County for the annual Ndakaini Marathon. A race that is said to be the second hardest terrain in the world. The thrill of concurring this huge challenge and raising millions of shillings for charity in the process is what brings us fitness enthusiasts together.
Sadly I wasn’t one of those lucky runners but on the sidelines covering the race; next year for sure! But over 24 hours later I’m still in awe of what a spectacular and unique occasion it was.
Those who took part in the 21, 10 and 5 kilometers should be bursting with pride. If you’ve watched, or even seen pictures all over social media and you’re feeling inspired, great! But before you sign up for a marathon, here are just a few things that no one tells you about running your first marathon.
1. The Emotional Onslaught you face on race day and the week prior.
A combination of nerves, anxiety, impatience, excitement and cold hard fear. If only the armada of butterflies in your stomach is able to propel you across the line. Instead by two kilometers, it feels like they have all turned back to caterpillars.
Everyone talks of hitting that wall but not warned that you may hit boredom first. Four and a half hours is a long time to be doing one thing, and at times you find yourself being hypnotized by a swinging ponytail. Luckily the boredom passes quickly. Unluckily it’s soon followed by pain.
3. Nothing goes according to plan
The race gels you have been practicing with suddenly make you feel sick. Your activity tracker doesn’t work and you thought you’d be able to hear your friends and family scream your name but didn’t. These unexpected moments stress you out.
4. You run more miles than you signed up for
Weaving in and out is not possible. You may glide in your fancy car but one thing they don’t tell you is the miles you’ll have to make either walk or run but either way the distance is way further to the start line. I.e covering a longer distance than signed up for.
5. The feeling of astonishment when being overtaken by people and objects that should never assume that role. Mr. Blobby, a Wombie, and at one point a guy who looks like he can be in his 90’s who seems to be running way faster than you are… Heck! Even kids be passing you by.
Despite all the above, the atmosphere of togetherness is incomparable. The strangers that dedicate their entire day to coming out to spur you on; the runners who are in just as much pain as you but find the strength to reassure you that you’ll be ok. Your deeper bonding between your family and friends. It’s Beautiful. It’s Brilliant. It’s the best worst idea you’ll ever have!
You may be sore today but the pain is temporary and the memories you create will last a lifetime. It’s definitely too amazing experience to miss out on. Sign up for the next marathon near you. Well done to everyone who completed this marathon, who supported the cause and if you ever get the opportunity to do it for yourself… Well, just think long and hard… And just do it.