Running is just like any other family. United by the sacred bond of running, we support each other through the good and bad and ask for nothing in return. However, the bond is only as strong as your next stride. Falter (i.e. stop running), and you might find yourself running in all directions looking for the family that you thought had just been next to you. You see, dear readers, similar to the mafia, once the bond is broken, it can rarely, if ever, be repaired. If you don't believe me, ask Kenyan native Samuel Oseigo.
To most runners, Kenya is the running capital of the world. Rarely does a marathon ever not have a Kenyan in the top three finishers and, usually, there are at least two. It is the mecca for any running enthusiast. In Kenya, life revolves around runners and, in the eyes of the population, a runner can do no wrong. That is, unless the runner stops being a runner. When 23-year old Samuel Oseigo decided to stop running and pursue his childhood dream of competitive race walking, he was met with a swift reaction from the country he had lived in his whole life. Rather than embracing his passion, the leaders of his boyhood town of Eldoret cast him out of their village and forced him to actually go to Tanzania to gain 'aerobic asylum'. Recounting the negative reaction of his townspeople, Oseigo told reporters that, "I've always liked to walk fast...But it seemed from the first day the whole town laughed at me when I started to trainfor real. In fact, even the old women used to call me 'bunga kigoli' which in translation means 'silly little girl'".
For almost three years, Oseigo has been training to speed walk in Tanzania and vows that, "They can make leave my homeland, but they will never make me run!"
I think Oseigo's story, in a certain way, can help to inspire us. At least sometimes. And so, dear readers, next time you are running and feel like you can go no further, just remember Samuel Oseigo's story and realize that quitting will not only mean not completing your run but also might signal the end of the support you have for so long received from your running family.