Sunday morning was a day for yellow caps, vests and heavy rain, as MTN Uganda’s Kampala Marathon ticked off another year.
Like the professional athletes, we too were in it to win. There was Bebe Cool, Zuena and all their children, Golola Moses and, of course, me.
But as fate would have it, the moment the chief of defence forces, Gen Katumba Wamala flagged us off, the skies opened up it was too early to quit and in these financially tough times, if all one needed was to run a few kilometres to win some millions, getting soaked by the rain was a small price to pay.
Yes, most of the runners were doing it for charity to bring clean water to some less fortunate Ugandans, but some of us really wanted that winners’ cash. Badly. I had made a commitment to myself not to jump on a boda boda or into an ambulance like last year. I had even come with my own hot date, for morale-boosting.
Rain is not a bad thing during a marathon in fact, as a guy, the only bad thing is coming with a hot girl who definitely knows how to keep in shape. My marathon date jogs and goes to a gym at least twice a week no wonder she was trying to get my sorry legs into the 42km race!
There were many men in my situation after running for five minutes, they started limping. One man even collapsed with muscle spasms at the start line, moments after the start gun went off. But as you know, relationships for the male species often translate into competition none of the men was willing to walk as long as their better half was running.
“A pretty Ugandan girl running this fast doesn’t exist. I think she’s Kenyan,” one man joked about his girlfriend, who was working the tarmac ahead of him.
The distance between Kamwokya and Mulago was the most treacherous everyone seemed to walk it rather than run. In fact running here made one feel awkward. Some walked with their kids as little as one year, to instill a giving spirit in them.
And the ones that puzzled my tired bones more were those wearing kits from previous marathons. Someone was putting on one from 2007!
This time the runners were more ambitious none wanted to use a boda boda to Kololo. Even the few that jumped on them only went up to Mulago and continued with the run.
And this year we were fitter. The Red Cross recovery tent had just 750 cases, down from last year’s 835. There were only 14 critical cases that were referred to Mulago, IHK and Mengo hospitals – drop from 2013’s 22.
For the first time in many years, the track was ruled by Ugandans in both the 21km and 42km races. Alex Chesakit and Caroline Migadde won the men’s and women’s 42km races respectively, while Alex Kapcheromit and Stella Chesang won the 10km stretch.
No millions for me this year, but next November is just 365 days away. I joined the rest to enjoy Chameleone and other entertainers at Kololo after the race. At least I did take home some memories.
My hot, gym-freak date aside, a runner disgruntled by the many incoming calls as he huffed away made my day when he quipped: “The Airtel customer you’re calling has gone for the MTN marathon.”
Source : The Observer