My phobia for running dates all the way back to my primary school days in the coldest state of Nigeria. Jos Plateau state housed My awesome St. Pirans Church school Jos. It was pretty special to me, because as an Anglican child, I had a slot in an Anglican missionary school, which it something churches are forgetting to do these days. The climate of JOs Plateau state has been admired by the entire Country people. Some have summoned up enough courage to go see for themselves, while the rest have only relied on the personal testimonies of those who have been there, and come back to tell others that it snows in Jos. Plateau was and still is a beautiful,happy and special part of my memory Back then as a kid. How we all knew at the back of our head that as evening draws near, we were always meant to go have a cardigan on, going to school always required a cardigan, even if the sun was out. The Classifications back then were based on some of these factors : after classification based on your age, then that of your class, then came your sport house I.e The color of the house you have been placed in. I was in 💚Green house back then guys, which we called the ‘super super house’💪💪.
Now in green house and the interhouse sports was coming up. Every pupil was meant to gather according to their house to have practise for sports and games for every category no matter your age. It was always a colourful view, having red,blue,green, and yellow groups of kids gathered. Parents always wore a proud smile from sad to ear, whenever their kids were part of this beautifully colored sport groups.
Because I had four older siblings who had passed through that same school before me, being the last child of the house, goals were already set by my elder ones in different wards of the school before I got there.
Now I had an elder sister who was an excellent runner, very excellent runner if I do say so myself . She did everything sports and won gold for her house in the entire 6 years she spent in primary school and secondary school. So when I arrived, they automatically assumed that the running gene was in every member of the family, *They hadn’t met me yet*. They didn’t know that my Mum only passed down her incredible sprinting skills to my Big sister. I was a hyperactive kid, which made it easier for them to misconstrue it for an ability to run track. I mean don’t get me wrong, I played football a lot, played games, but had a huge problem with track.
So on that day, While we were practising for games and sports, I was surprisingly paired with a senior for a ‘filling the bottle race’. It was a game where you were handed an empty bottle to run to a far away bowl filled with water, to fill the bottle with water using nothing but your hands. I was her understudy, which meant that all the attention was placed on her. I simply hid behind her because in my mind. she was definitely going to do the race for the house, So I assumed.
But on that faithful day, this young girl who happen to be my senior then, wore a sport skirt instead of a sport short. UNBELIEVABLE!!! I thought….Being the understudy who was wearing a sport short! The attention was simmediately placed on me. Being a prestigious Christian school, the young senior was immediately replaced with the understudy, which happen to be me 😬 😢. I have had no practise, no skill, no confidence in my legs. I made to protest but before I knew it, I had my right foot on the starting line as they shouted “On your marks,”. When the shot gun was fired, I was 3 seconds behind my competitors recovering from the loud gun sound. Ladies and gentlemen, before I knew it,out of the four racers, I was the 4th person to get to the finish line in Gigiantic SHAME. Even after being the last racer, I Still had a half filled bottle, while the winners all had their’s filled. My house mistress in disappointment, threw shades at me right from end of the race till Walked up to her corner, to get a scoop glucose. People stared at me, and I looked down till I got to the toilet for some quiet time. And that right there, dampened my interest to ever run again.
Not until my adulthood now, where working out feels like paradise. The dripping sweat, the rushing adrenaline and then the banging body result made me a believer. right now, I am beginning to run short distances again. But this time around, just for my fitness, not representing any house or group of people. Just me, and my heart.