Run Streaking with Muindi Kimanzi
By Jesse Specs Spellman
MSM: It’s not often we get to speak with runners on this side of the world. Our goal is to open up doors and avenues to regular ordinary runners that run every day with specific reasons and goals as to why they and we run. A question I like to lead with on the topics of run streaks is why? What is your why and reason for your run streak?
Muindi: I was inspired to start my run streak by watching a random video on YouTube of someone who had run for 365 days straight with no off days and was impressed by that. I decided to start my run streak as a way to challenge myself to become a better person by building discipline and consistency in my daily life and also at the time, I was going through depression. My life felt stuck and running got me moving. In a sense, it offered that movement and motivation I needed to bounce back. Lucky for me, running helped me become a better person and beat that depression among other wins.
MSM: Kenya is a place where many of us have never visited myself included. What part of Kenya are you from and what is the community like?
Muindi: I live in Kiambu County, one of the 47 counties in Kenya that is next to the capital city Nairobi in Nairobi County. Kenya is a beautiful country. We have 43 tribes that offer much diversity and beauty in how people live and coexist. Kenya is rich in wildlife and best known for Safaris. The people here are friendly and easy-going. Goes without mention, we are known on the global stage as world-class runners. The GOAT of the marathon, Eliud Kipchoge lives in the Rift Valley region of the country among many elite runners. Kenya isn’t a perfect country but it sure is a beautiful one.
MSM: Having a run streak takes a good amount of dedication, consistency, and drive. Have any days been a challenge for you? How were you able to work through them to get those miles in?
Muindi: Yes, I have had some tough days of running during my run streak. Some were caused by injuries, a tight day’s schedule, falling sick (though this rarely happens), and sometimes battling emotional stuff. One way I have kept myself motivated to get out and run no matter how hard a day seems has been the fact that I set a rule for myself that if ever I skipped a day of running, I would start the streak all over again. This alone serves as the much-needed boost to keep the streak going. On days I battled injuries, for instance, an ankle injury that lasted two weeks straight, I reduced my distance and pace but still showed up. Pushing through the pain until I was completely healed. I also do get a good night’s rest because the body has an amazing way of healing itself. I keep reminding myself why I started and the gains I have made so far. If I quit, I lose so much. So, I keep the run streak going.
MSM: Running is a sport that everyone can take part in. Was running something that you always had a love for?
Muindi: No, not at all. In high school, I hated running. They used to make us run a mandatory cross country run but I loathed it. It’s only much later I became an irregular runner and in 2019 picked up the daily running challenge. Now it’s part of my life.
MSM: WOW, mandatory cross country running? What was that process like especially for the kids that weren’t into running? What distance did you have to start at?
Muindi: Yes. During sports time we had to all start with cross country before splitting into our respective games. I think the distance was 5k or thereabout. Students with a condition or something got exempted but largely it was mandatory for all. A few of us who hated running used to come up with all sorts of excuses to skip the run. If you were able to convince the sports teacher on duty to skip the run and say fake an illness then you skipped it. The rest had to run the entire distance while being trailed by the sports coach.
MSM: When you head out to run daily do you have a specific mileage goal that you try to hit daily? What is the minimum amount of miles you look to hit?
Muindi: Throughout my streak, my minimum distance has been a 20 minutes run which ranges between 3-4kms long on average pace.
MSM: I read that you have a deep love for food and your fiance is a foodie. What are some of your fav/guilty pleasures? Do you find yourself more conscious of what you eat especially with a run streak happening?
Muindi: I’m not so big on the diet. I love to say I run so that I can eat a lot and variety. I take lots of carbs in my diet for energy. One of my guilty pleasures is chocolate.
MSM: You plan to get to 2 years and you mentioned that you’re taking it one year at a time which is a very big goal but you’re easily challenging yourself to do so. Have you thought about venturing into races? Marathons, Halves, 10ks, etc?
Part of the reason I started the #RunWithMuindi running community was to influence others for the betterment of their lives through running. Running has the power to change lives physically, mentally, health-wise, also socially and that’s why I keep encouraging others to stay running.
Muindi: Yes, I have thought about running in races. I had eyed a few races this year that was canceled due to the Covid pandemic. Hopefully, when things normalize I will run a couple of marathons. My bucket list goal is to run all the top marathons of the world. And the Kenyan Lewa Marathon, running in the wild. 2021 I’ll be training for a few marathons.
MSM: What has been your strength and inspiration during this streak? Have you found yourself inspiring others as you run through your communities? Have you also found that you have more people with a willingness to join you on your runs?
Muindi: When you run everyday people, especially in your neighborhood notice that. I have been able to inspire my family to get fit by walking, running, and hitting the gym. I have also inspired several people to join a running community I formed, #RunWithMuindi and we keep motivating each other to stay running. We draw inspiration from each other to keep going. My strength and inspiration during the streak have been to become a better person and influence others for the betterment of their lives, through running.
MSM: Are there any run clubs in Kenya and your community that you’re a part of along with the Run with Muindi movement?
Muindi: Yes, there are several well established run clubs that have been there for a while in Kenya. I learned so much from them. I am mainly part of the #RunWithMuindi running community which I hope to keep growing and inspiring other people to pick up running and stay at it as a way of self-improvement.
MSM: You’re pretty vocal speaking of the mental and psychological benefits that you’ve gained through running and your run streak. Was this something that you struggled with at the start of your run journey. Take us through some of your early struggles before running? Does each run put you at ease?
Muindi: Before picking up the run streak challenge, I was going through a low moment in my life. Was struggling with alcoholism, had quit an advertising job, and was searching for meaning in life, my life’s purpose. I felt that something was missing. Running then became my outlet as it is therapeutic for me and helps me deal with many challenges I face and to come out stronger. Keeping the run streak going also gives me a sense of great achievement in my life and gives me that ‘can do’ attitude, that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.
MSM: With such a large run streak comes responsibility and most of all balance, something that most runners can struggle with at times. How have you managed to find a balance between running and life’s responsibilities?
Muindi: The keyword here is prioritizing. I mostly prefer running early at 6:00 am. That doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I find that I have to squeeze the run later in the day or the afternoon. What I do daily is place my run in my day’s schedule first, then plan all other activities after. That way I can ensure that I do the run no matter the circumstances. Come rain or sunshine. Right now it’s become a little easier. Running every day is next to breathing for me.
MSM: Where do you see this run streak taking you after the second year. Do you see yourself working with others helping them to become better mentally and physically?
Muindi: Yes, I do. Part of the reason I started the #RunWithMuindi running community was to influence others for the betterment of their lives through running. Running has the power to change lives physically, mentally, health-wise, also socially and that’s why I keep encouraging others to stay running.
MSM: For our readers how can we all continue to follow your streak? Do you also have virtual runs for those wanting to join you on your journey?
Muindi: Yes. They can follow me on Instagram @muindikimanzi for updates on run meets and virtual runs. I’ll also be publishing a book, my running memoir in a few weeks, they should look out for that too. Lots of running motivation to keep you going.
MSM: Any last words that you would like to share with our readers?
Muindi: Lace-up and run. The benefits are yours to keep.
MSM: From Team Mid Strike keep running and keep grinding brother we salute you and your run streak.
Muindi: Thank you ☺