Eluding with Dignity

by Jan 7, 2022Observations0 comments

To my defence, I am not a marathon runner. Yes, I do come from Kenya but No, I am not a Kalenjin and just to bring the point home, I am not a marathon runner! Sia, asked if our company had registered for the Lux business run. due to Covid cases, the 2020 business run had been cancelled and I was not aware of any changes regarding the matter as we were still in the middle of the Covid pandemic in 2021.

I did my research on the topic and found out that the run might actually take place depending the status of covid cases in Luxembourg. There was a colour code (green, yellow, orange and red) and depending on where the barometer was on the colour code, It either meant lockdown or being able to meet up with friends or going out to a gathering. I still wonder up to this day, who exactly decides on the position of the barometer?

My colleagues were enthusiastic about the idea and so I registered our team for the run. I would not say that I was out of shape, I regularly consult the gym for my physical fitness and go running not more than 3-5 km ones in a while. A whole month was enough time to prepare and get into shape. All I needed was a training schedule, the discipline and the motivation to adhere to it. My best plan constituted of every second day running starting from 3 km an increasing the distance by half a km every second day. My worst plan was to do it every third day.

My feet got sore, my lungs burned, the muscle ache was unbearable but the determination was stronger. My goal was to cross the finish line below 40 minutes. My strategy was to set a pace that I could maintain from start to finish without spending too much energy and having to stop on the way. My solution was music and the strock from Makoma songs best suit my goals.

The 16th of September finally arrived and my colleagues and I were a little nervous but ready for the run, We had trained so hard for this day and It was now time to have fun! We arrived at Le Coque and the place was full of people representing different companies. We presented our Corona vaccinations tests and registrations, we took a few selfies for the company website and positioned ourselves in the middle of the surprisigly large crowd of people.

I think at this point it would be nice to mention that the run was 5.5 km long. No judging because for non-runners this is a marathon! The music was loud, the heart beat faster, the count down started, the bell rang and off we went. The high performers ran like it was a 100 meter race. unfortunate for them, we took a right turn und up the hill we went. The high performers that had started off too fast at the beginning were all losing breath and coming to a stand still. One of my colleagues had set a pace for us but after about 1.5 km, I realized that the pace was too fast for me. My legs were already burning and I was not yet half through. I signalled her to continue and that I will catch up later.

I gathered myself together and set my own pace. At the 4 km mark, I was still going strong. The route led back to where we had started, round the Le coque building, back up the slope and down to the finish line. The building had an underground parking and both sides of the entrance were covered by thick about one meter high bushes. Out of one of these bushes emerged a young man, joined the runners ahead of me and took off like a high performer, It was as if he was trying to break a 200 meter race under 2 minutes.

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At first I was perplexed, had he come out of easing himself in the bushes or had he been hiding in there the entire time? The CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) in me started analysing the crime scene. The sprint he had started with, made me suspicious. No sweat whatsoever, no signs of fatique, and who in the world uses a rest room in the middle of a 5.5 Km run? It is logical that you either go before or after the run. If he really had to cheat then he should have done it intelligently for coutersy sake. At least come out of the bushes and keep the pace of the current runners, breath heavily in between and no one would mind.

I finally reached the 5 Km mark, by this time my lungs and feet were used to the tempo I had set and I was moving steadily. On the second last corner to the finish line, one runner decided that enough was enough and that he was no longer interested in following the laid out track. He took off diagonally through the field as a short cut to the laid out triangular finish. I was a bit surprised but at least he was not hiding under some bush.

I took the last turn and it was a surprise finish line. I would have really loved to have a 100 meter sprint with my hands raised up as I crossed the finish line but this glorious finish that I had hoped and wished for was shattered by the organisers of the triangular finish. The camera man at the finish line saw me and all I heard was click! click! click! click!. It was like a photoshoot. I felt a little unease but the thought that I would end up at the frontpage of L’essentiel the local newspaper with the title ” The slowest Kenyan to ever run a 5.5 Km” made me smile as I looked for my colleagues in the crowd.


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