Monday, 20 November 2017

The Awkward and embarrassing moment of unknowingly standing next to the women 3000m steeplechase world record holder, Ruth Jebet, while watching the Tuskys Wareng Cross Country races.

As the junior men’s race came to a climax, I moved closer to the tape restricting the fans and found a space in between the crowds who were cheering wildly as the two runners who had stayed together in the lead throughout the 8km engaged their finishing kicks with about 200m to go. In the end, Robert Kiprop managed to edge Michael Bett in such a thrilling finish.
The cheering then slowly began to subside. I looked around and noticed two very familiar ladies standing next to me. One of them, Virginia Nyambura, who I knew since I interviewed her for RunBlogRun one time excused herself to talk with someone and I suddenly found myself standing next to the other remaining familiar lady. So, I decided to ask her about Nyambura that she has been a great 3000m steeplechase runner and whether she knew why she has been missing in action for a while now. She told me that Nyambura has been having an injury that has disturbed her for a while now and that she is hoping for her to get well soon.
The last time I asked someone who looked familiar who they were. It had not gone very well. The lady had cried uncontrollably lamenting how I could not know her! She was a distant relative who had visited our home a number of times before and we knew each other very well in the past. This incident has scared me from asking anyone who they are, more so if they look familiar.

So, here I was; trying to figure out how to know the lady standing next to me. The best way I have come up in the near past of getting to know someone is to tell them about myself so that they can in turn tell me about themselves. So, I tried it, “my name is Justin Lagat, I work with RunBlogRun….”
“I know you,” she replied.
Well, that put me in an awkward and embarrassing situation. I was the one who was supposed to know her; not the other way round! I know a big international athlete when I see one. This one was definitely one of them, I knew I had seen her many times before on TV screens, but athletes look slightly different on the screen from when one is talking live with you. I kept the conversation going as I hoped it would soon dawn on me who she really was.
“Which race are you running next?” I asked.
“I am waiting for the Diamond League season to begin, that is my main focus,” she answered.
I reminded her that the Commonwealth Games will happen before the start of the Diamond League season next year, then the African cross country championships too. I guess this is where I complicated things more as she appeared surprised that I was talking about the Commonwealth Games and the African championships.
It did not hit me until I had left her! Bahrain neither participates in the Commonwealth Games, nor does it snd a team to the African Cross country championships!! I quickly searched the google images for Ruth Jebet, and there she was!! She was the lady I had been talking with without knowing her. What an embarrassing moment. Whoever finds her, please give her my apologies.