01.03.2009 - 01.03.2009
So.. after deciding after a couple of beers on a Friday night that I would run a half marathon on the Sunday, with no preparation at all, Loretta and I got a lift to Moshi the next day. Mt Kilimanjaro was covered in clouds when we got there, but we wouldn't have had a chance to really look at it anyway because the guy we got a lift with was registering about 50 people in the race, so we spent the next few hours helping him do that. 5pm came and we were still in the line when we realised we hadn't actually thought about where we would stay that night, and someone had just told us Moshi was fully booked out because of the marathon.. then just five minutes later our new friend who drove us to Moshi, Oka, said that his friend had found a place for 10,000 shillings a night each (around $10), and there were spare rooms. Couldn't believe our luck, really.
So, we got up at 4.45am and walked a couple of k's to the start in the dark. People were still coming out of nightclubs at that time, and some people were going to the mosque to pray, the streets weren't as empty as I thought they'd be really.
I won't bore you with all the details of the half marathon, just a couple. After we started running (the run is 10.5km up hill, then 10.5km back down), Mt Kilimanjaro came out. She was in full view, all clouds had disappeared and we could see the entire outline as we ran past the coffee plantations and tiny villages. I ran with Loretta most of the way up, then I kind of left her to walk for a bit and started running on my own. A little local boy started running with me, when I walked he walked, when I ran, he ran. I can't remember his name but we had some nice little chats in my broken swahili. After the turning point, a woman with a flashy camera stopped her car and took our photo, not sure why, it was a bit weird. My running buddy then went home, so I kept running, and caught up with various Hashers on the way to the end. Running that far is the biggest thing I've done, and when I got to the 19 or 20 km mark I thought I was going to break down and cry. But I finished, in about 3 and a half hours, and I've got the medal to prove it.
If I'm here next year, I'm definitely doing it again, but maybe I will train next time.