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Why London Marathon is a big deal for runners

SPORTS By Njoki Kaigai | April 28th 2019

Today is a special day for those who consider themselves lovers of Kenya - because all eyes will be on the Kenyan runners at the London Marathon 2019. Come 12 noon Kenyan time, we shall watch one of the greatest sporting spectacles made more special by the very talented Kenyan runners led by Eliud Kipchoge, the legend. Of course, we have some interesting sideshows like the rivalry from our northerly neighbours or Mo Farah and his penchant for dramatic antics.

I imagine there are many who think the London Marathon is not a big deal, but I invite them to visit certain Instagram handles and they will know it is serious business. While many of us might not have encountered the elite athletes, I am sure some of us have had to deal with the people I like to call amateur runners among us.

These are the ladies and gents who have decided to embrace the world of running as a way of keeping fit and trip. For those who live in Nairobi, these folks are easy to spot especially in the early hours of the morning wearing colourful gear, often hiding behind massive earphones as they sweat their way through the city. What most of us do not know is that this bunch of runners can often be horribly annoying especially in social settings. Here a few ways that these guys can drive you up the wall.

For starters, these ‘runners’ like to spend hours on end talking about their running exploits. They have no regard for place or audience, all they do is never ending running conversations. Be it funerals or weddings, be it a family reunion or a school PTA meeting, they just cannot keep their mouths shut as they regale often clueless audiences with what they say are vital statistics. They give no regard to age or social status as they bore the world with irrelevant facts about kilometres logged daily weekly, gradients and elevation and how they recite what their Garmin, Fitbit and running app has captured.

To make matters worse, they like to provide comparative analysis where they rate their performance against the great elite athletes. So, you might find yourself having to suffer through endless chatter of how a certain morning run compares to Eliud Kipchoge’s or Mary Keitany’s pace. When they are not verbally spewing forth their stats, they are posting them on any social media platform they can find.

There are some ‘runners’ incapable of having non-running conversations. It is a bit annoying that these folks imagine that their attempts at running pale in comparison to important global events like the Cyclone Kenneth or attempts to impeach Trump. Listen, running folks! We understand that running is no mean feat but talking too much about it makes you insufferable bores.

I have been told that serious running gear is expensive. I was told some shoes like the ones Eliud will be wearing today cost as much as a boda boda. I am also told that some modern-day runners sacrifice paying critical household bills so that they can purchase the latest in running gear.

What galls us about these running folks is their insistence in wearing running or sporting gear everywhere. These folks see nothing wrong in showing up at a wedding wearing the last Nike or Adidas running shoes even if it does not fit in with the rest of their ensembles.

Others see every outing as an opportunity to wear their race shirts since they think they deserve special recognition for making the very personal and voluntary decision to torture themselves by running over very long distances for very long periods of time.

If this is not a desperate attempt at getting attention, I don’t know what is. Running and fitness gear should not be seen anywhere outside the gym or the running track. We humbly request our running brothers and sisters to  cease this visual torture.

Runners also get on our nerves because they are party poopers - they just have a way of killing the mojo in parties. Let us assume it is a Saturday night and a runner has joined a group of friends who are just hanging out, drinking and making merry. One would assume that the runner will get into the flow of things and make merry.

Alas! That never happens. Usually the runner will spend most of the evening talking about the long run he has planned for the next day, complete with the gory details of what gear he plans to wear, how fast he plans to be and worse still what bowel movements he expects after the run (runners have weird  habits).

They then proceed to further ruin the evening by lecturing their friends about how alcohol and red meat have bad calories and fats for runners and how things like loud music messes up running cadence. I really do not understand why they bother going out after all. Most of us admire those who dare run, but how I wish they would behave better in the presence of mere mortals who have no desire to join the suffering. 

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