While many were unpacking boxes of gifts from their loved ones on Wednesday, hundreds of residents of Karindi Village in Nyeri spent Boxing Day running in the fifth edition of Karindi Cross Country Championships.
Running on a hilly, hard and dusty course, Nyeri-based upcoming runner Peter Wahome and Nyahururu’s Nancy Githaiga emerged as the day’s stars in the 12-kilometre senior men’s and eight-kilometre senior women’s categories respectively.
The 25-year-old Wahome came scared of his training mate Paul Maina, who is the Mombasa International Marathon champion, but had the last laugh after a cautious run.
“It was a tough race. The course was very hilly and the competition was tough but thanks to God I am in top form,” he said.
The race started off on a low tempo with the leading pack being controlled by Nyahururu based Daniel Kahinga and Maina. Little known Wahome was breathing behind the duo as he tried to gauge their strength.
“I took charge in the seventh kilometre when I saw my competitors run out of power and I blasted off to a safe distance,” said Wahome.
He easily won the race posting a low time of 41.11:13 with John Ndung’u second as Kahinga came in third.
Pre-race favourite Maina came hopping in at fifth but lauded his training mates for a good race describing it “a worthy competition.”
The eight-kilometre senior women’s race turned to be a motivational race for the winner Nancy Githaiga after struggling with her body weight problems for a long time, almost giving up running at some point.
For Githaiga, the pressure was not only coming from her running mates but also her sponsor, Lucy Kabuu, the 2006 Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze-medallist, who was on the line cheering her on.
Local ladies, led by Alice Kamunya, Lydiah Wangui and Josephine Wairimu, were bursting with energy throughout the race forcing Nancy to keep up up with their speed until the third circuit when she opened up long strides and broke off.
And if her strong kick is anything to go by, then little known Githaiga might be the next big thing to hail from Mukurweini.
The zeal to win and to have fun was especially seen in under-12 and over 40 races.