Besides having an opportunity to check out some of the wildlife in Tanzania, I also had an opportunity to check out Moshi and meet some of the locals. It turned out that there was a wedding being held next to my hotel and some of the other runners and I decided to see if the wedding party minded if we hung out with them for a while. They were more than happy to oblige and even though most of the people we met spoke Swahili, we were all able to find ways to communicate with each other.
For all of the stories about war and violence that we hear about other areas of Africa, Tanzania is one of the more laid back, peaceful countries in the region. It’s been referred to as the Switzerland of Africa since it’s capital, Dar Es Salaam, is usually the site of treaty negotiations among other African countries and it’s home to over 120 different ethnic groups that all get along quite peacefully. Moshi isn’t the largest city in Tanzania (in fact it isn’t even in the top 10), but it tends to be a popular destination for tourists because of it’s proximity to Mt. Kilimanjaro
On the night before the race, all of the runners gathered back at the hotel for a pre-race party complete with food, drinks, and a performance by one of the local bands.
Finally it was time to head back to my hotel room and get ready for the race the following morning. I had debated whether or not the last few posts would be worth publishing or not since they didn’t have anything specifically to do with running or working out, but in the end, I finally decided to since they do a pretty good job of describing my overall experience on this trip leading up to the race…. but also because if I wasn’t a runner, I honestly don’t think I would ever have done anything like this. Since I started running, it’s become such an important part of my life that when I look back on the most memorable experiences that I’ve had over the past 15 years or so, there are the obvious ones like my daughter being born, etc., but the majority of the others have had something to do with running or traveling to an interesting location for a race. A lot of the people I’ve become friends with over the past several years have also been runners, and I have no doubts that running has helped me at work too. Those are all posts for another time though. I’m going to end this one for now and tomorrow’s post (which will be the last one in this series) will be about the Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon itself.