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How tasty termites ended my marathon

Sunday December 8 2019


I cannot describe how good I felt when I swallowed them. This is what my body needed. Unfortunately, that was her last stack. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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At exactly 6.23am on Saturday, November 30, my brother Pius knocked on our door.

Fiolina and I were still busy but we quickly dressed up and took breakfast. We had been putting up at a hotel in Khayega town.

We boarded Pius’ car and left. Seated in front was the beautiful Rumona (my brother Ford’s wife).

She had transformed — she was wearing a tight, blue running blumah, a yellow tight running T-shirt, new pink shoes and multicoloured socks.

She also had a new watch and a matching water bottle. Pius had a yellow Urban Swara T-shirt, tight black shorts, an expensive watch and new shoes.

Only Fiolina and I were wearing the official Kakamega Forest Marathon T-shirts and had no running watches. We looked out of place.


We drove to the venue of the marathon, which was a few kilometres away. There, we found a multitude of people stretching, and I joined them.


We were then separated into groups based on our races. Fiolina went to the 5km team while I went to the 21km team.

I had thought I would have a moment with Rumona, but I was wrong. She was with Pius throughout and they would occasionally hold hands.

We then moved to a place where I thought the marathon would begin.

However, we were told to board several buses, which drove us to another venue. Pius sat with Rumona and they held hands throughout the journey.

When we arrived at the venue for the marathon, we found thin and tall runners stretching and running around.

If I were a weak person, I would have been intimidated by them.

A loud gunshot interrupted my thoughts and like everyone else, I fled for safety. Only to realise that everyone was running towards the same direction.


The race had started. I quickly followed them. The thin, dark young men who had been stretching took off like they were chasing an antelope.

I passed a few people. Behind me was Pius and Rumona. The views were majestic — we were running downhill in a serene environment under the shade of beautiful trees. It was enjoyable.

After running for what seemed like 50kms, we started climbing up under the scorching sun. I pushed on, knowing the marathon would end soon.

Pius and Rumona overtook me. I asked him we had run for many kilometres, and I was sure we were well past halfway. “Bado mbali sana. It’s 3.2kms.” That statement discouraged me.

I started giving up and many runners overtook me. The sun was hitting my clean-shaven head, causing a massive headache.

I couldn’t run anymore and so I started walking. We were now in the middle of tea plantations.

Beautiful, green plantations that went as far as the eyes could see. The increasingly hot sun, however, didn’t allow me to enjoy the amazing scenery

I had another problem, my shoes. My feet started hurting but I kept walking. I also needed water to quench my thirst.


Soon, we came to a place where they were given water. While the other runners just poured water on themselves and continued running, I gulped two bottles and rested a little, knowing we would soon be running down the hill.

After about five minutes, I continued running but as soon as we were done with the downhill, uphill we went again. I started walking.

I made a mistake to look ahead for I saw a steep hill ahead. Most of the people who had overtook me were just walking.

This killed my motivation, and I started walking even slower. After what seemed like an eternity of walking, I saw a sign post at a corner.

I thought it would indicate 20kms so that I would just have one more kilometre to go. To my shock, it read 7kms! We had another 14kms to go.

A few metres away, we passed a market, where women were selling all manner of things.

One of the them caught my attention — Tsiswa. For those who do not understand the language of the heavens, Tsiswa are termites.

There are many delicacies in the world but I have never eaten anything as delicious as termites. Both raw and fried.


I wanted to keep running but there was no way I was just going to ignore the termites.

Luckily, I has Sh20 in my pocket and bought raw termites worth Sh10 and fried ones worth Sh10.

I cannot describe how good I felt when I swallowed them. This is what my body needed. Unfortunately, that was her last stack.

However, one boy said he could get me more from home, and I sat down to wait for him. He arrived about half an hour later carrying half gorogoro of fried termites.

After about 20 minutes, I tried to stand to continue with the marathon. I was sure that having rested enough, I would overtake some people.

However, I could not lift my leg let alone walk. My muscles were aching. I did not need a calculator to know that my marathon was over.


I boarded a boda-boda, which took me to the finish line. I took three packets of milk, water, and juice.

On checking my phone, I had several missed calls from Pius and Fiolina. I managed to locate Fiolina, who told me Pius had left together with Rumona.

Fiolina and I took a boda-boba to Khayega, and then a matatu back home. When we arrived, Fiolina helped me to walk to the house.

Like Rumona and Pius, we were holding hands, although for a different reason — Fiolina was supporting me as I walked.

This body has not been mine since last Saturday. Luckily, that was the first and last marathon I will ever participate in. Ever!