I remember this day very well. After my final high school examinations in 2003, it was time for me to concentrate on my career as a middle distance runner. It was on the August 4, 2004 that the long awaited day finally arrived. I was told that I was going to join the athletics camp by the name “Ngong’ Training camp”. The camp is located in the outskirts of Nairobi; 30 kilometers to the west to be precise. (A note to our American readers- the word “athletics” is used around the world to mean the sport of running including cross country and track).
A camp is a special location where both experienced and aspiring athletes train together for a common goal. As a boy, I had dreamt of following the footsteps of the great runners of my country Kenya. I was introduced to the camp by my mentor in athletics, Wilson Kipketer Boit. He is one of Kenya’s steeplechase champions and he had promised to take me there himself.
I was so delighted that I would be pursuing my dream in the camp regarded as the home of great runners. Before the day came, I was so excited that I lost my appetite. I asked my family not to include me in their meals since I had prepared myself to eat something (that I later came to learn were fries) on the travel day. When the travel day came, I woke early in the morning and got prepared for the journey. I could not wait to jump into the car and bid farewell to the countryside. I sat near the window so that I would get a better view of the major towns on the way to the city.
I remember asking the driver to make several stops along the road to look around. He laughed at my inquisitive nature; I could see he thought that I was crazy. I could not believe that I was finally heading to the capital city.
When I arrived to the city, I was amazed by the sight I saw. This was a fairy tale come true- I thought to myself. There I saw tall buildings and a larger number of people than I had never seen before. We stopped in the city to have a drink in one of the best restaurants in town. The services there were of the highest standards I had ever experienced. The waiters were so friendly and understanding. I kept on smiling the whole time, and again, I think these people thought I was crazy.
We then left the city and headed to Ngong’ or as we call it Ngong’ town where the camp is located. I could not hide my excitement; I narrated all that I had seen to everyone who cared to hear me out. I was very happy that I at last had the opportunity to be in the city. It was a very exhilarating moment for me.