Anything goes in the marathon, any thing by jove. Outlandish fashion statements, time off the run for giggly activity, lengthy phonic correspondence and àssitance by robust boda boda. In no place can we find so diverse an amalgamation of inventive and nostorious Ugandans.
Marathon running is something I know not a little about. Some 52 rains ago having come across some chaps in an endeavour to register for a marathon race at an inter House competition I was introduced to the sport. The sport is the simplest requiring merely a stout heart and sprighty limbs.
Having been put down as a morale booster, and therefore ineligible for points, imagine the consternation on the team selector when the morale booster came trotting to the finishing line way ahead of the main pack. Through a dusty terrain and tropical forest we run with agility, verve and determination.
Recent endeavours has seen marathons take place in the city. And so on 23rd a sea of humanity gravitated at the Kololo airstrip for the MTN marathon. Marathoners of all shapes and sizes gathered to do the run for 5 KMs, 10 Kms 21 KMs or 42 KMs. In the strictest sense only the last one qualifies to be a marathon… but not one really cares.
In the build up yo the race all is joy and gaiety. ..simple and diverting banter is exchanged in an atmosphere of grand camaraderie. As the race starts this banter reduces to a trickle as the road takes toll on the earnest joggers. Panting, and hissing become official lang de preference. And sweat mills around the various contours of rotund mountains of flesh pointing to the times spent gorging the starchy ones.
The choice of wear varies for Marathoners to marathoner. For the men jeans and even Kanzu are not unheard of. Ordinary shoes will feature and perhaps breath their last to the folly of its misguided proprietor.
Ladies are more creative. Having witnessed no fewer than 6 busuuti cladded women I can ask for no more. The Hijab too with all its attendant additions colored our paths. When at the Lugogo Bypass we saw silver and grey flashing body tights more suited for dancing competitions of spontaneity.
Friendships are tested in the last kilometere. Regretting the folly of having taken the body away from its custom silence reigns in the mass of humanity trodding to the finishing line. No wise cracks, drenched in sweat and bitting the teeth the troops move with singular pursuit to bring an end to the self imposed pain and torturous sourjourn.
Aye, and apart from the two who suspiciously disappeared behind some gate around Tullow Oil sex did not raise its head.