The countdown to this year’s fundraising run during the Lukenya Trails Run continues. In just under 6 days, Elisha and I will be running to raise funds for Lifesong Kenya and our work with boys in juvenile prison. This won’t be the first time I will be taking part in this marathon.
Looking back to last year’s run
Last year’s run was filled with disappointments that kept cropping up at the turn of every corner. First things fast, I didn’t even have money to pay for last year’s entry fee. However, Shiku Shikuku, a friend I had met during the Shompole Wildlife Marathon gave up her slot so I could run and raise funds.
The day of the marathon was also full of drama. Cynthia James Love, Jared Junior and I arrived 47 minutes after all the runners had started running. And by the time I picked my runner’s tag, changed into running gear and informed a surprised race official that I had come to run, 7 more minutes had ticked by.
“Are you sure you would like to do this?” he asked. “The other runners started running almost an hour ago!” he added.
“I came here to run,” I replied, my lower lip trembling in fear.
“Okay then, step to the starting point,” he said.
“Gem,” my wife whispered. “I know you can do this. Jared and I will be waiting for you at the finish line.”
“Thanks,” I said, approaching the starting point.
“Onto your mark, get ready, go!” the race official barked.
Following hundreds of windswept shoe steps
After running few metres from the starting point and making sure I was out of sight, I stepped from off the running track and into the bush to pee. When I resumed running, I met one runner who had thrown in the towel. I waved to him and kept on running. I did not want to ask how far he had run and why he had stopped. I knew that would dampened my spirits.
I kept running. Many thoughts of defeat came to my mind. Running a half marathon when hundreds of other runners have gone 54 minutes ahead isn’t an easy thing to do. Luckily, I could follow hundreds of windswept shoe steps left behind by the runners who were an hour ahead.
I thought about why I was running. Seeing that it was my third fundraising half marathon and that my efforts were not handsomely being rewarded, I realized I had to find fresh inspiration and new meaning to push me through my lonely long run. I had run alone, many times before, preparing for this particular run. However, I had never started a run an hour late!
By the time I reached the first water point, I made up my not drink a single drop of water. I was going to run the whole marathon without drinking water! Since that day, I don’t drink water while running. I thought about Shiku Shikuku who had sacrificed her spot for me and the boys she was yet to meet. I was grateful that someone had been kind enough to give me the chance to run.
I thought about the many boys I had met and how their lives had turned around when they decided to stop engaging in crime. I thought about the joy and peace their mothers were able to enjoy as a result. I also thought about the two people who had followed me to the run; my wife and Jared. These are the things that enabled me to keep running to the end.
Lukenya Trails Run 2017
This year has been full of blessings. Not only was I able to secure my running tag, I also managed to secure one for Elisha Mateka, who I begun mentoring towards the end of 2016. As we continue preparing, my fundraising marathons is becoming something bigger. My running is no longer about just raising funds. It is about growing physical, spiritual and mental strength that we need to continue growing Lifesong Kenya.
Of course, it is my desire and prayer that we will be able to raise more funding from the half marathons and triathlon events that we will be involved in. Since signing up for these events costs a lot of money I hope we will be able to raise more awareness on our work and find partners willing to invest in our initiative.
A big thank you to those people who are already donating and contributing towards Lifesong Kenya’s work. Feel free to see our fundraising progress on the following links below:-