I went out meandering yesterday evening and managed to find another track in Iten about a kilometer from the cottage where I’m staying. It was in use when I got there, with several people doing interval work in the rain showers, with the coach providing directions and encouragement from the side. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right lens on to get great pictures.
The taller young lady, I think British from her accent, kicked up small clouds of dust as she toed off on her hard repeats of 700 meters. A lot of power in her stride and a lot of grace, though the latter was limited by the bandaging she had on her right thigh, upper and lower. I’m assuming a nagging type of hamstring problem. It only showed in her arm carriage as she fought the leg a bit. She had a pacer for parts of the workout.
Meanwhile, on the outside edge of the track (though the picture I took was after she dropped to the infield) was a lady that I’d guess is a marathoner. Steady as a metronome, she turned her laps looking comfortable and strong.
While I sat under a tree looking for some protection from the showers, another runner joined me. Martin and I swapped notes on the runners, and talked a bit of America. Martin has been there and raced in the Boilermaker 10K and Peachtree. He’s looking for an opportunity to go back.
Others dropped in on the track to cool down from a longer run out on the roads, just as the rain began in earnest. Also around were a couple of young men, one American, the other from parts unknown, goofing and taking their pictures on the track. Based on body build and running form, I’m guessing they were strength coaches.
About the time the ladies left the track, I decided I should brave the rain and get back to the cottage. Tucking my camera under me shirt, I slogged up the dirt/mud roads to the cottage, watching the two ladies run past at a pace I couldn’t have kept if I wanted to, plus another (American?) lady on a bicycle. Another runner past me on the way down to the track, giving me a friendly ‘Hi’ though she looked a bit unsure as to why I was around.
Seems to be a common issue. The young Kenyan at the store that I shopped at earlier in the day asked if I was here to train. The presumption is that all the white people are training, with the occasional paragliding pilot tossed into the mix. I don’t fit the parameters.
To Town I Went
On that early walk into town to shop, I past Wilson Kipsang’s Keellu Resort Centre and the Eldoret Stage point. Few people in Kenya own personal vehicles and the majority get to and from places on private transport called matatus or on motorcycles. The matatus run on regular routes and for a very reasonable fee, they’ll drop you at a stop close to your destination. Because they run smaller vehicles, the service is faster than an American bus route, with more frequent pickups. It’s highly effective.
The motorcycles run point-to-point, ferrying one to three people (plus driver, of course) to their destinations. Rather than the mammoth 650cc or 750cc Honda Goldwings or Harleys populating the US streets, they favor 175-275cc enduro bikes that are highly maneuverable. In Eldoret, they weave between the cars and trucks and matatus in a fashion that would seem to be reckless. Not surprisingly, they are on the losing end of many an accident. In Iten, they seem a bit more sedate, though that may simply be the result of less congestion.
On the way back, I dropped a card off at Keellu with a request to chat with Mr. Kipsang. I would guess that the odds are long that a World Record marathoner who also has businesses to run while have time for me, but I thought there was no harm in asking.
Evening Time at the Cottage
So, after getting drenched in the deluge during my walk back from the track, I changed into dry gear and set dinner to cooking – beans and potatoes, a small piece of beef cut in small cubes, seasoned with tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt and pepper. It took a while to simmer down and thicken to a nice soup broth, so I went out onto the patio of the cottage and read,
Movement from the corner of my eye distracted me, though. High atop one of the nearby trees, a pair of cranes stood. The newcomer, a male I suppose, was diligently trying to impress the female, first ducking and weaving its head in an intricate series of twists. That provoked no response, so he moved onto a full ‘look-at-me’ dance complete with thrumming the air to show off his wings.
Alas, she still wasn’t interested.
For a finale, the storm, after delivering buckets of rain and some impressive thunder, blew past, just in time for the sunset. I watched it light the edge of the clouds and spread glowingly out, until it peaked and faded. At the last light, it was time to go inside for my stew while the night time sounds rustled in through the windows. .