It is inspiring to live in Kenya among many of the world’s fastest marathoners. We had hoped that Kenyan residency would naturally boost our running speed. Alas, we will never be able to run like Kenyan runners, but hey, we’ll join in the run anyway. Last weekend, about two dozen people from Tenwek enjoyed a 10-kilometer run in Nairobi. This annual Run for Sight Event (which includes a Marathon, 10K, and Family Fun Run) donates all proceeds to support pediatric eye surgery at various eye hospitals in Kenya, including Tenwek Eye Unit. An impressive number of Eye Unit staff participated in the event. So we loaded up the Eye Unit bus and also the McCropder-mobile and headed to the races.
The morning of the race, our energy and enthusiasm could not be dampened, even when we found ourselves completely lost on uncharted roads of downtown Nairobi.
Just in time, we arrived, parked, and paused for a pre-race picture. L to R: Alyssa, Todd, Jason, Heather, Jessica, John, Toanh, and Bryan.
En route to the starting line, John found a new friend. A Michigan cap is ample grounds for friendship in any country, right?
We found our places at the starting line…
among a very large crowd. More than 14,000 other people also wanted to participate in the Run for Sight. This is Kenya, after all.
A few notes of interest about Nairobi 10K race attire: Running shoes are optional. Running in boots is ok. Running in jeans is also acceptable (see runner to left of center below… and note that he is ahead of us). And evidently, racing in the official race t-shirt is not a faux pas here.
Along the route, a super-size billboard of Michelle Obama cheered us on towards the finish line.
While the women in our group ran together at an enjoyable pace, chatting our way through 10 kilometers, the men ran at faster race paces. Note John and Bryan running with speed that made the picture blurry.
We were all glad to find each other again at the finish line, tired, happy and injury-free.
This week, back at Tenwek, unofficial training has begun for future participants in the Run for Sight.