A taste of the night running.

If you spent a night in rural Western Kenya and Nyanza, then you definitely know what I am talking about. If not, maybe you heard them but didn’t know what was going on. 

Its in the middle of the night and the lamps are out, suddenly the quietness of the night is disrupted by a knock on the door. Then the flow of sand on the roof, the roof being hit by a small piece of wood or swept across by leafy branch of a tree. Then it’s rubbed across the highs and lows of the iron sheet making some funny sounds. sometimes you even hear the sound of someone passing wind.. Yes loudly.  Burrrr.

And the sound of soneone running around the house, again and again. Night running.

That’s the art and craft of the night runners. We grew up scared of then especially when we visited my granny in the village. The one in our village was popularly known as Joram Khalosi (Joram the night runner). Am not sure whether he was real or just a made up scare name for kids. But there were night runners that disturbed our peacefull sleeps on some nights.

 My friend tells me that in her rural home a night runner would come to a home, get the biggest of the bulls and ride on it to another village and back. He would train it to love him and hate the owner to the point that it would kick the owner any time it saw him. 

In my village, it was rumoured that they trained leopards to accompany them in the night running business. We would here footsteps of four legged animals on the roofs, maybe they were cats- leopard or the domesticated kind, not sure which one.

Its not really something they do out of choice but its some kind of inherited imperfection or witchcraft. They are involuntarily forced to run in the night- like a neuro disease of some kind.  It was rumoured that a man started night running after being transfused with blood, probably harvested  from a night runner.

We did not have much of the bed time stories like in the western worlds, but I remember as telling an re-telling the story of the night runners almost every evening when in the village. The wife of the NR as in the story would be left at home cooking ground nuts. She was supposed to be very careful not to burn any because that would mean that the husband will or has been caught. Huge responsibility. Right. Be careful who you marry. 

So how do we catch a NR. It is said that it is very difficult to catch one. First, if you were to lay a trap for them ensure not to go into the kitchen the whole day, because they can smell smoke from a far. Still yet you need to eat leftovers from the previous night only and you must dress like them. nude. crazy stuff. I think the night runners themselves came up with the story to ensure that they continue with their business unstoppable. Who in their clear mind would go out nude in the darkness so as to catch a NR!!!!

Last year or so some of them came out and had formed a group that asked the Athletic Kenya to recognize night running as a sport. Technically it is a sport for it involves running, the only difference is that it is done in the night and when one is completely naked. 

I thought I should savor you guys with some night running story.

Only in Western Kenya


8 thoughts on “Savor-Night Runners

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