We went out on the run to see the best running clubs in Nairobi. Coming up with the top 5 list, we decided to see where we’d best relate with and the best spots to get our stretches done and legs warmed up.
Here they are:
(1)Original Hash Harriers of Nairobi
The phenomenal growth of the Nairobi Hash House Harriers dates a few years back, with some runs at times getting over 150 runners turning out leading to the formation of the Original Nairobi Hash House Harriers (ONH3), a much smaller group. This group shares the same heritage as all the other Hash groups, with the same goals, rituals and traditions of keeping fit. It even collaborates with the bigger NH3 group in organizing some of the annual weekend runs during the year.
The ONH3 normally holds their runs on Mondays at 5:45pm from the “hare’s hole” -that’s the residence of one volunteer (hare) setting the pace of the run for that week. Run distances are typically 5-6km, with the obligatory false trails and a halt included on the trail.
No membership fee is required to join this Hash group. However, each runner is required to pay a registration fee of Ksh 400/= on every run to meet the costs of the ritual down ceremony and Supper after the run.
For further information on their running venues, calendar of events, or to subscribe to their mailing list, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact their Scribe email@example.com.
(2)Nairobi Hash House
Where can you do a 50 minute jog, then spend the next hour or two sharing risqué jokes and swigging beer with your fellow runners numbering anywhere from 30 to 100 people? This weekly experience awaits you at the NH3.
This self-styled drinking club with a running problem is part of an international fraternity of running clubs with a presence in every major city in the world. The hashing tradition is said to have began in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur. Its history in Nairobi however dates back to 1978 when the first group of runners came together to form NH3. Since then, its popularity has seen it grow and spawn two other running clubs in the City, Original Nairobi Hash House Harriers and Sunday Hash House Harriers. Those unfamiliar with hashing may find the club’s traditions bizarre, but with time, most people adjust.
The NH3 meet for their weekly runs every Monday evening at 5:45pm, with the venue changing every week. Running distances are typically 6km for those doing a short run, and 10km for those interested in a longer run. Runs are characterized by false trails designed to mislead the fast runners and keep them together with the slow runners. In addition, they have a brief stop called a halt at the halfway point for a ritual song, dance and refreshments. Besides the Monday runs, the NH3 have a calendar of weekend runs that have over the years become very popular with recreational running enthusiasts from all over the country and the East African region. These are described in the Running Events in Kenya section of this site.
No membership fee is required to join NH3. However, each runner is required to pay a registration fee of Ksh 200/= on every run, which goes towards the cost of the ritual down down ceremony (don’t ask…) held after the run. For further information on running venues, calendar of events, or to be added to their mailing list, contact the Scribe by email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website www.nhhh.co.ke .
(3)Sunday Nairobi Hash House
An offshoot of the Nairobi Hash House Harriers, the Sunday Nairobi Hash House Harriers (SNH3) offers an alternative for those unable to beat the Monday traffic jams to get to the other hash group runs. Their runs are held every Sunday at 4:00pm, and tend to be longer than the regular Monday NH3 hash runs, with the long run at about 15km and the short at about 8km, and without any stops, false trails etc. No wonder it is a favorite with the FRBs (forward running bas**rds), a term used in the hash groups to refer to runners who always lead the pack.
No membership fee is required to join this hash group. However, as with the Monday NH3 hash runs, each runner is required to pay a registration fee of Ksh 200/= on every run.
For further information on running venues, their calendar of events, or to be added to their mailing list, you can contact their Scribe by email email@example.com.
Are you looking for running company, interesting forest trails, a good dose of hill work, and an opportunity to train for your next big running event with other running enthusiasts in Nairobi? Then you can’t go wrong with the Urban Swaras running group. Founded in 2005 by five friends with a shared passion for running, this group used to meet every Saturday morning and run between 15km and 25km without fail. At the time, they had not named or registered the group, but they were so committed and consistent with this pastime that the legalities seemed irrelevant.
The Urban Swaras running club membership currently stands at about 120 runners, with varying numbers showing up for each weekly run. This group’s favorite running trails are on and around the Ng’ong Hills, a popular training ground with Kenya’s elite runners as well. Another favorite locale is in Tigoni area, known for its high altitude.
Runs are every Saturday morning at 7:30am, with the venue varying from week to week. Venue and events information is communicated by email through a Google Group.
Membership fee for this club is Ksh 500 per month, while guest runners pay Ksh 150 per run. For further information, visit their website http://urbanswaras.co.ke, or contact Lucy Thuo on email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(5)Karura Forest Runners
The Karura Forest runners congregate once a week, every Thursday from 4:30pm at the KFEET Centre in Karura forest off Limuru road and is open to anyone interested in joining them. Typical runs are 14km to 17km in Karura Forest and the nearby Gigiri and Runda environs.
Karura Forest is secured with an electric fence and managed by Kenya Forest Service. In addition, Friends of Karura have numbered and signposted all major junctions on the forest trails, and created helpful maps for guiding walkers and runners. The maps include coloured trails for set running distances.
There is a fee of Ksh 200 for entering the forest and parking at the KFEET Centre, when you go to run with this group.
For further information on this group, contact ATR (nickname), a leading member on cell phone number +254720765707
By Michael Nzambu