Naivasha Relay 2015 (Hash House Harriers)

It was after an evening Hasher’s run around the Parklands area of Nairobi that I heard about the Naivasha Relay. Plumber who is one of the seasoned Nairobi Hashers couldn’t stop on how much of an experience the relay is. As I downed my beer, my adventurous streak started pushing the idea of what an adventure this one would be. I thought of running down the Rift Valley escarpment to Naivasha, the rough terrain, the danger of running into a herd of buffaloes or getting a snake bite while running in the savannah grass and I was sold! I signed up for the relay and ordered another beer πŸ™‚

Hashers getting ready to leave Nairobi and start the Naivasha Relay 2015

Hashers getting ready to leave Nairobi early in the morning and start the Naivasha Relay 2015

The relay route starts at Dagoretti in Nairobi away from the busy highways and off to a dirt-road track that meanders down the Rift Valley escarpment and ends at the foot of Mt. Suswa, covering an approximate of 83 tough kilometres!

Runners all set to start the relay at Dagoretti

Runners all set to start the relay at Dagoretti

Having ran with the Hashers on several occasions, I know that as much as running to keep fit is their agenda it sort of comes a close second to having a great time socializing and partaking of liquids that are known to cause staggers. However, on this day it was evident that everyone brought their ‘A’ game! Hashers were divided into various teams, each team having it’s members seeded (with regard to their running prowess or lack thereof) from seed 1 to 9. Each team member would run a certain distance of the trail at a given time, with some running two or more stages of the race.

The time keeper busy recording time(s) kept by the runners

The time keeper busy recording time(s) kept by the runners

A group of Hash officials are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the relay runs smoothly. They are dubbed ‘Mismanagement’ but do not let that tag fool you as they did an impressive job of it! They ensured that time was kept as per the plan, safety of all the runners as well as spectators was observed, venues for accommodation were booked well in advance, heck they even organized to have a sweep car at every stage of the race to lift from ‘shame’ those runners that might have bitten more than they could chew πŸ™‚

An ambulance that trailed the Naivasha Relay runners at every stage of the run

An ambulance that trailed the Naivasha Relay runners at every stage of the run

There were various teams that took part in this relay. I ran as a Seed 2 runner for team Hot Dogs. However, not to say that any team was inferior to the other, but two teams really stood out in my view. These are are the Urban Swaras and the Swedish School team. The Urban Swaras ran as if they were going for the money or their lives depended on it! I may not be privy to the times kept by the teams, but I can put my money on that they covered the total distance in the shortest time. On the other hand, the Swedish school had the youngest runners who turned out to be the most resilient. In the tough conditions of sweltering heat, ankle high dust in some stretches, rocky climbs and steep descents, these kids kept going and finished each stage of the race!

Any opportunity to rest under a shade was gladly grabbed

Any opportunity to rest under a shade was gladly grabbed

We met many locals along the trail, and their glowing faces were a confirmation that the Hashers are a welcome community to their lands every October. I was informed that the Naivasha Relay has taken place every year for more than two decades. There was some teams that actually went handing goodies of books, pens and rulers to the children amongst the spectators.

Children running to catch the Naivasha Relay action

Children running to catch the Naivasha Relay action

Despite the sweltering heat, and the terrain that threatened to be a spirit-breaker at every turn, the runners pushed on and kept some pretty impressive time. At one section I ran and the sun felt like it was dropping nearer to earth with every step I took! My skin was burning in the heat. At some point my imagination convinced me that my hair was melting down and I touched my face in horror, only to smear the many streaks of sweat (some caked in dust) on my entire face. I ran on. I panted heavily as my heart pounded on my chest as if threatening to break out. My thigh and calf muscles felt painfully tight with every step. I could see the few runners ahead and wondered if my eyesight was failing me as they kept growing smaller. I pushed on. The crowd waiting at the finish line was clearly visible and near, but I couldn’t seem to get there! I ran on. I remember praying that angels could carry me to the finish line, but I fast resigned to letting my mind get lost in the beauty of God’s creation around me. I finally finished the race! The Naivasha Relay was a true test of my fitness and I cannot wait to do it again next year!

A runner finishes the race to a cheering crowd at one stage of the relay

A runner finishes the race to a cheering crowd at one stage of the relay

The trail took us to some of the most picturesque areas of the country! Beautiful hills gracefully lined the horizon, some with crater rimmed tops. We had the privilege of running in an environment that knows little if any human interference. This is a run I am willing to do again and again. There’s is no reason why you should not also have it on your adventure calender! πŸ™‚

As you already know by now, I took time to bring you some shots of how the events unfolded. Enjoy.

Children woke up bright and early to spectate the relay

Children woke up bright and early to spectate the relay

 

The daunting rough terrain demanded use of 4x4 road kings!

The daunting rough terrain demanded use of 4×4 road kings!

 

Every runner who finished their stage was received in celebration

Every runner who finished their stage was received in celebration

 

Hashers mingled freely with the locals

Hashers mingled freely with the locals

 

A runner ponders over his strategy for the run

A runner ponders over his strategy for the run

 

Hashers cheering on their teammates

Hashers cheering on their team mates

 

Trust Hashers to spare some time to dance during the relay

Trust Hashers to spare some time to dance and down a beer during the relay

 

There was lots of adventure to capture!

There was lots of action to capture!

 

The dust in some sections of the relay was ankle deep!

The dust in some sections of the relay was ankle deep!

 

The Naivasha Relay trail is quite picturesque

The Naivasha Relay trail is quite picturesque

 

The little shade available had to be shared :-)

The little shade available had to be shared πŸ™‚

 

I had a selfie moment with the kids watching the race

I had a selfie moment with some kids watching the race

 

The Naivasha Relay ended at the Hell's Gate National Park

The Naivasha Relay ended at the Hell’s Gate National Park

Event: The Naivasha Relay 2015 (Hashers) Hash History:Β https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers

Location:Β Nairobi – Naivasha (Through the Suwa route) Approx. 83km

Photography and documentation by: Macharia Njuguna, @macharianjuguna

The Ultimate Trip, #Day 7 & #Day 8 (Kampala – Eldoret – Nairobi)

It had been seven days of travel, but even the fatigue did not dampen the spirit of the adventure enthusiasts! With such a bunch of adventurers it was easy for me to reaffirm my resolve that I will be a life-long sucker for adventure and travel!

An animated discussion on our way down from Kampala

An animated discussion on our way down from Kampala

We left Kampala headed into Kenya through the border town of Busia. We had been afraid that the queue at the border would have been long and therefore delay our schedule, so we left quite early in the morning. Despite having done everything according to plan, we still experienced delays at the border as the Ministry of Health officials on the Kenyan side had to take us through the Ebola screening.

The beautiful sunset as we made entry into Eldoret

The beautiful sunset as we made entry into Eldoret

We eventually made it to Eldoret at dusk, The Beast clambered his way through a narrow rough road that led down to a tranquil riverbed that hosts Naiberi River Campsite which is designed to take its guests way back to the stone age with a little touch of modern day luxury. Darkness quickly set in and we did not have much time to explore the campsite. We however had time for a little catch-up party in my room! These adventurers are certainly an unforgettable lot!

The party is on!

Turn up!

As we had been warned by the Team Captain Mukhtar, Eldoret was quite cold by night. We dressed warm and the had our sumptuous dinner hurdled around the fire.

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

In need of that warmth :-)

In need of that warmth πŸ™‚

The Naiberi stone cave became an instant hit with us. We trickled into the bar to enjoy a drink or two while shooting away on the pool table. The cave is believed to have been once inhabited by the ancient Sirikwa tribe of a bygone age.

The stone cave bar fireplace

The stone cave bar fireplace

Let's shoot some pool!

Let’s shoot some pool!

Relaxing in the stone cave bar

Relaxing in the stone cave bar

The chilly weather didn't allow us to enjoy this beautiful swimming pool :-(

The chilly weather didn’t allow us to enjoy this beautiful swimming pool 😦

Early the next morning we all woke up to the beauty of the campsite that we hadn’t experienced in the night. The river flowed over rocks making a rhythmic hum which added to the tranquility of the campsite. The cottages stood beautifully built in logs and thatched in straw.They looked like traditional monuments with a touch of modernity.

The comfortable cottages

The comfortable cottages

Naiberi River Camp had the honour of hosting Bill Gates on an overnight stay in 2009!

Naiberi River Camp had the honour of hosting Bill Gates on an overnight stay in 2009!

We left Eldoret early with an aim of getting to Nairobi in the afternoon of the eighth day. We made a stop over in Naivasha where we had our last picnic lunch.

It was time to leave Naiberi River Camp

It was time to leave Naiberi River Camp, Eldoret

A beautiful, clean street in Nakuru town

A beautiful, clean street in Nakuru town

The adventurers took this opportunity to thank the awesome http://www.bunduz.com crew for being extra studious with their work during the eight days adventure!

Lunch is served

Lunch is served

Adventurers, Shoaib and Mbugua gave a vote of thanks to the Bunduz crew

Adventurers, Shoaib and Mbugua gave a vote of thanks to the Bunduz crew

We left Naivasha, and headed straight down to Nairobi. The eight days journey that had taken us through three countries and treated us to a whole world of adventure was now over. Through this experience, lasting friends had been fostered. Adventurers are a peculiar lot; we were not sad that this trip was over but instead looked at it as an opportunity for us to have yet another tour to a different place and build more memories! We left that duty in the able hands of The Trip Captain, Mukhtar Sidi of http://www.bunduz.com As we say in Kenya; ‘Kazi kwako Mukhtar!’ (The ball is now in your court, Mukhtar)

"A rugged wrestler, that moved with the grace of an angel, and gave the comfort of a mother. I named the truck 'The Beast'

“A rugged wrestler, that moved with the grace of an angel, and gave the comfort of a mother. I named the truck ‘The Beast’

The man who made it all possible! Mukhtar of Bunduz.com

The man who made it all possible! Mukhtar of http://www.bunduz.com

Eventually we were back to Nairobi, where the journey started! A special thanks to http://www.bunduz.com

Event: The Ultimate Road Trip
Period: #Day 7 & 8 (3rd and 4th Jan 2015)
Distance: Kampala (Uganda) – Eldoret (Kenya) – Nairobi (Kenya) Approx. 655km
Organizer: http://www.bunduz.com/
Documentary (photos & writing) by: Macharia Njuguna (https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/)