A Runner’s Experience With Petty Thief at 2007 Nairobi Marathon

I love reading fellow runners blogs because every runner has a story to tell. Yesterday I read an amusing marathon story at Caitlin’s blog, she is a white lady working as a consultant in Kenya. She ran the 2007 Nairobi marathon, where she saw firsthand, Kenyan bad habits of lateness and disorganization but the highlight for her was being pick pocketed by a fellow runner at the start.

Catlin’ story as told on her blog

I made it through the registration and warm-up and to the start in plenty of time. But my punctuality turned out to be irrelevant, because 15 minutes after the scheduled start time we were still pacing and stretching restlessly behind the start line. Finally, about 35 minutes after we were meant to begin, a horn blew and the runners crowded together in assembly before the start gun. As the crowd pressed up to the start, I felt something moving against my back. I turned around to find some anonymous runner trying to get into the oh-so-stylish fanny pack thing I had brought to carry some snacks, ibuprofen, music, etc.

The Pickpocket

It took me a minute to realize that I was actually being pick-pocketed DURING a marathon. Luckily, the anonymous runner-thief did not manage to steal the snickers bar (shockingly they don’t sell Gu in Africa) or feminine hygiene products I had in the outer fanny pack pocket.

We were off. The first half of the race went smoothly- I was just trying to hold myself back and go slowly so I could finish (my training had only consisted of two long runs). I had written my nickname on my number tag, as I’d seen experienced runners do, so that people could cheer for me. But no one cheered. There were crowds of people watching, but they just stared at the runners in mystified silence. The only paroles I heard during my four and a half hours of running were the guttural yells of this Chinese guy who was leading a blind running partner, and who I kept pace with for a while, and a comment from a little boy who looked about 7 or 8. “Give me money!” he shouted as I ran by. Maaannnnn, that is so NOT motivating!

After being lapped by the spectacularly fast Kenyans, I somehow made it past kilometer 30, and I began looking for the 35 km marker so I could push myself to the finish (42 km) where I could stop running. But the 35Fast kenyans km marker never came. I began to notice that the course was being taken down. Sure, I was slow and all, but there were still lots of people behind me. But once the leaders had finished, everyone’s interest in the race waned. Even the water stations were being disassembled. I got kind of lost, because the signs directing runners to the finish were now unhelpfully stacked on the ground.

Eventually I found my way and crossed the finish. As I was cooling down and trying not to faint, a Kenyan approached Derek and I and asked if we could take a picture with his daughter, Then he told me (after I’d given him the half of my banana he asked for) that he wanted a souvenir, and that he really liked my watch. Just another day in Nairobi.

One thought on “A Runner’s Experience With Petty Thief at 2007 Nairobi Marathon

  1. Jacob Aliet

    I couldnt find her story in the link but thats shameful. She should note that it probably want a runner. There was a thief who was beaten by runners at the certificate collection area when he was caught attempting to pickpocket.
    Please have a look at the following links Njeru:
    Read the article below for inspiration and advice. One very useful advice in it by Alex Tilson, a Harvard M.B.A. student who has run a 2:22 marathon: Don’t think you can show up on race day and do something you’ve never done before.
    About running on track, the author says, “No one I know enjoys running 50, 60 or 75 laps on a track. You’ll be tired a lot, and you are unlikely to race well at shorter distances. Still, the benefits are difficult to deny. You’ll develop a keen sense of pace. The way you’ll feel at the end of those sessions provides a great rehearsal for the fatigue that creeps up late in a marathon.”



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