It took me quite a while to say to people that I ran. I have jogged for a while now. I think it was destiny…it runs in the family! Hohoho! But people don’t ‘jog’ anymore; it’s an 80s term that was put on the shelf along with the shell suits and the legwarmers. There is no ‘Joggers World’ magazine that I can subscribe to, so my subscription to the well known RW magazine is helping me take my feet shuffling to the next level. I was once told from a my good friend and running buddy Kirsten, that once I did my first official race I could call myself a ‘runner‘, so if that is the case I will have been a ‘runner’ for about a year and a half.
I am not quite sure if I enjoy running, sometimes I do; the finish of course being the highlight! I do enjoy listening to conversations between friends when I’m running , on rare occasions I have enough breath to join in the conversation in broken sentences. I enjoy spotting Lake Victoria when we are running on the hills in Kampala. I enjoy the guilt-free breakfast after the run; although Le Patisserie is not quite up to Kuwait’s P&Qs. I enjoy buying new running gear, every time hoping the new leggings/top/shoes will make me run faster! But mostly I enjoy talking about running! Most of my running stories/facts etc, are in fact not mine, but come from the RW magazine; usually positive mantras that I can share with my running buddies…although my new buddies in Kampala quickly found the one about ‘how lucky we are to be running up this hill’ rather annoying! But I do have one story of my own that I enjoy sharing…here it is…
My favourite running story
I was on safari in Uganda from Kuwait in December 2008 with good friends -we soon named ourselves ‘Sven’s Tours’. Jane, was training for the Dubai Marathon and Sven and I were aiding in her training and getting ready for the 10km, also in Dubai. Jane and I had gone for a couple of runs in the city before we left on safari, Jane using the time to prep me for my job interviews that I was having..which I then got…thanks Jane! Then..safari time!!
Our first stop on ‘Sven’s Tours’ was the beautiful Mhingo Lodge at Lake Mburo. We arrived in the evening and as always wine was opened for sundowners and promises were made for the early morning run through the National Park to get up close and personal with the hundreds of zebra which Lake Mburo is famous for.
Morning coffee arrived waking up the keen runners…Ange and Scott made the sensible decision to stay in the their beds! Mhingo is especially special for Jane and Sven as they are close friends with the owners…so Ralph was also roped into going for the run - so we were 4.
Usually on fast runs, (as well as slow runs, long runs and short runs!!) my buddies would do dog-legs, as I am still progressing from ‘jogging’; this is when the fast runners go on ahead, then double back and we meet etc. This particular morning though, we all were pretty much together at the start; Ralph and Sven were happy catching-up with the year’s news and Jane was letting me get excited about the fact that we were running through the park with zebras, past buffalo and jumping over hippo poo! Then the run progressed as we were nearing the lake, wading through marsh lands and the group starting to break away a little - so the dog-legs began. During the times when we were together I was grilling Jane and Sven about animals that may want to eat me. All the questioning was found very amusing for the African Adventure Pros, but not for the novice; I thought it was ‘need-to-know’ information! Ralph decides it was time that we should know that there had been the first lion kill in the area for 20 years. I then had my ears pricked and eyes were darting all over the place; so no time to worry about how tired I was. Jane continued to tell me how I should be more aware of the lone bull buffalo than the groups, or try to dodge the hippo (not run from it) or how leopards would only go for the small and weak…oh like the one at the back of the running pack…!!
I am sweating profusely (and I don’t think it was because of the rising sun or the long run!) and decide that I must keep up with the others. We had a few minutes rest at the Lake, but then as we spotted fresh hippo poo, thought it was best to keep moving! This is the time in my run when I begin to think of what I will eat for my breakfast...but all I could think about was survival! When I was not thinking about the hippos, lone bull buffalos, leopards, recent lion kill etc etc, mantras were running through my head “know your own strength Robyn”, “running with zebras-wow” etc, but then the other bloody negative thoughts kept popping up…“lion kills, lone bull buffalos, the weakest in the pack!”
Oh yes, how enjoyable it is to run through a game park. The end of the 15+km run is near, we are heading back up the trail to Mhingo…Sven pipes up in a good humoured and surprised voice, “Robyn, you’re running really well today!!!!” Yes Sven…why do you think that is..!!!???
Our running route - the view from Mhingo to the lake.