- Joyce Nduku started running at 50, and her escape from pain in her limbs became a rewarding experience.
- Last year, I ran the same distance in the 60 and above category.
- My limbs were becoming painful and I had difficulty in moving my legs.
The biggest challenge facing mankind today is sedentary lifestyles, but I have decided to take it on. I live to encourage people to get out of their comfort zones and live a fit, strong and engaged life.
I am 65 years old and have been running for the past 15 years. I recently participated in the Comrades’ Race in Durban, South Africa, where I ran for 87 kilometres.
The race is about fundraising and recreation running while building a movement of fit people across the world. If you do not run the 87 kilometres within 12 hours, you are disqualified. Kenya has 13 runners in the race despite it being a powerhouse in Athletics.
Last year, I ran the same distance in the 60 and above category.
Before you crucify me for running 87km while aged 65, I will tell you the passion behind my running.
I once woke up from sleep to find my limbs not moving, I was 50. My mind could not understand what was happening.
Getting out of bed was a nightmare. You can imagine what was going on in my mind when I first experienced this new dawn.
My limbs were becoming painful and I had difficulty in moving my legs. After a short while, I braved up, and with intense pain, stumbled out of bed. Scared of the future, I embarked on trying to figure out what was wrong with my legs and what I could do about the situation.
Initially, I feared I had arthritis, the disease that plagues people as they begin to age.
This was a very scary thought. It lingered in my mind for a while. All the time, trying to figure out a solution since the pain was not abating.
In my fear for contracting arthritis, I slowly pushed myself. I started with simple morning jogs or walks to find out if this could help my legs.
This was the genesis of an inspiring and rewarding journey that I continue to pursue. I call it a journey because, I am still running and aiming towards my goal of reaching as many people as possible with the message of hope and support for the less fortunate in the society.
This is the reason why this year, I was again invited to Durban for the Comrades race. As I prepared to tackle the 87 KM route which is an upward run from Durban to Piertermaritzburg, my mind went back and forth the route since I had experienced it in 2018.
This time it was an upward run. I had to prepare hard, my physiotherapy, hydration and mental preparation had to be on point.
Luckily, I have a team of supporters and recreational runners who give me that much needed encouragement to break sweat.
However, following years of running, I came to realise that every sweat drop that drips from me must have an impact in someone else’s life.
As I ran my recreational races across the world chasing the fear of arthritis, I came across fellow recreational runners who run and fundraised for charitable causes around the world. I mean, this is a huge movement, and there I found my purpose for running.
Through running friends, I happened to meet the Shoe4Africa Hospital founder Toby Tanser who graciously gave me the opportunity to help his team fundraise for the construction of the hospital.
What is exciting me about this initiative is that we are constructing a 100 bed wing for kids affected by cancer and a 50 bed wing for kids affected by burns. It will be the biggest children referral hospital in the region.
And so, as I strode through the Kenyan terrain preparing for the Comrades race, my energy and concentration was glued at the knowledge that I am doing this for children who will one day need quality medical care.