Justin Lagat wrote this piece yesterday on how the coronavirus is affecting running in Kenya. Life is changing acrross the globe. Be careful, please.
Tracks and training camps are now closed for runners in Kenya due to the coronavirus:
So much can change within a week!
Last week at the track, had they not been Kenyan runners, it would have required the services of a traffic controller to direct the huge number of runners on the track to avoid collisions among the different groups that were training in Eldoret. But, the Kenyan runners have perfected this over time and hundreds of runners can train harmoniously in one track facility with faster runners overtaking on the outside lanes as different groups easily move in and out of the track at different points on the track. A new runner joining one group usually ends up finishing the interval in a different group if they are not careful.
The car park alone would usually be full of different vehicles from different camps and runners that usually come all the way from Iten, Kaptagat, and Kapsabet to meet up in Eldoret.
However, today the track was empty. I had suspected that it was going to be closed for runners given all the precautions that had been put in place a few days ago, including closing all the learning institutions in the country, but I wanted to see the situation first-hand for myself in my other capacity as a journalist.
At the gate was a table that contained water, soap and a bottle of sanitizers for the few who would be allowed to get into the University that has always provided the track facility to the runners. One of the guards crossed his arms when he saw me approaching them. He had obviously seen my dress code and knew that I was headed for the track. They had to maintain their distance, but I pressed on and moved closer to ask how long the track would be closed.
“Until further notice,” he replied.
Just like a number of other runners I later met on the roads in small groups of not more than three runners, we had to take our training to the roads for today.
This comes in the wake of different directives being issued in the neighboring counties of Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet touching on runners.
Below are some of the measures that have been taken in these counties that are going to affect the daily living of all runners currently training in Kenya.
Group training has been banned and runners should from now on be encouraged to train individually. Just like with the learning institutions, training camps have also been closed. All public and private Gyms, massage and physiotherapies businesses have also been closed. All open-air markets where runners would usually buy their fruits have been closed.
It has been a tough start of the year to runners here and all we can hope for now is a quick end to this coronavirus pandemic.