44 year old Margaret Njuguna still going strong on the tracks

44 year old Margaret Njuguna still going strong on the tracks

44 year old Margaret Njuguna still going strong on the tracks

It is said that age is just but a number and this is exactly what drives Margaret Njuguna, a 44yr old local athlete and a mother of 5.The Sky has been the limit for her, not even her age mates or peers would convince her otherwise and her old age life is now spent on the tracks and come Saturday 4th June in the 2011 edition of Henry Wanyoike run, she expects to show the whole world the ability of a 44yr old athlete.

It all started in the 70’s during her primary school life when she noticed her athletic talent. At first it was not a big discovery to her but as time went by, she became the talk of her primary school due to her exceedingly good performance in the short distance races.

 “No one in the school could match my speed and performance in the short races. I dominated in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m races and it was then when it hit me  that I was athletically talented,” explains the jovial mother of 5.

The glory followed her to high school and when in form one at Kahuho Uhuru High school (based in Kikuyu constituency) she was appointed as the games captain due to her outstanding performance in the tracks. This trend carried on through out her high school life but came to a sudden stop in the early 80s immediately after high school.

“I had to stop running after high school. No one believed in running as a career then and everyone discouraged me that it was not income generating and this is how I quit for a long period of time. I could even dream running and winning races only to wake up in disappointment,” narrates a hearty Maggie.

Family life then followed and she had to settle in marriage and bring up her 5 children. Family became her life and the dreams of her returning to the tracks seemed to fade away daily.

It was not until 2007 at the age of 40 when life took another drastic turn and all over sudden athletic hopes seemed to shine on her again.

“I vividly remember it was on a certain Wednesday in 2007 when I bumped in to an old high school classmate of mine in Kikuyu town who challenged me of ignoring my God given talent. He constantly reminded me of my success back in high school and encouraged me to either join Henry Wanyoike’s foundation run or find my way to standard chartered marathon. It was such a shame that I had detached from athletes over the years and didn’t even have the slightest idea who Henry Wanyoike was,” she explains shyly.

She pounded hard on that thought and on a Monday the following week, she found her way to Kikuyu Reborn athletics club dressed in a skirt and simple rubber shoes, a scenario that seemed to wow other athletes in the field.

“They all thought I was a stressed woman who had lost her way to their training ground. Not even one of them pictured me as an athlete; I was really out of form but the coach offered me a chance to train if only if I bought the appropriate training kits,” continues Maggie.

It only took her 3 months to train and perfect her moves and in June 2007 he participated in the pioneer edition of the Henry Wanyoike foundation run and finished 2nd. But despite her budding success her husband asked her to quit running for the fear of losing his marriage or his children losing their mother.

“He seemed to worry that I could abandon them if I succeeded in my newly found career and for this reason I pulled out from practice but after serious intervention from family members and friends, he later came around and gave me the go ahead,” she adds.

She resumed practice in September just in time to take part in the standard chartered half marathon where she finished 12th and in March 2008, she honored her 1st official duty after she took part in the Kualar Lumpur international marathon in Malaysia and finished 2nd in overall and 1st in the veteran category (over 40 yrs category).

This was followed by a series of other international victories such as Pataya marathon in Thailand which she finished 2nd, one mile race in Singapore (3rd), Barri international race in Indonesia (2nd), Bangkok international marathon in Thailand (3rd).

In 2009, she finished 2nd in the Khokain marathon before shifting her action to Europe. Her prominence continued even after shifting base and she bagged gold medals in the Albi and Coa marathons. A victory in Courants de la Liberte and 19th edition of De La Rochelle in October 2009 also entered in her list of success.

Her good form followed through out the 2010 season but it was later affected by injury and the death of her coach late in 2010 which led to her finishing 4th in the Hong Kong marathon early 2011. However, she has since recovered and will participate in the 5th edition of Henry Wanyoike foundation run on Saturday 4th June

“I will definitely take part in the up coming event, Wanyoike has really played a great role in my life and I thank God for his annual run which has paved my way to other races outside the country and has helped me earn a living for myself and family, now my children can go to school without any school fees constraints. We can also live a life a normal life without much trouble,” says Maggie.

She is grateful for the enormous support her family has offered in the last 4 ½ years she has been involved in active sports.

“I owe it to my husband and 5 children (4 daughters and 1 son) for their never failing support. I thank God that they understand that I do this for them, wraps up Maggie.

Margaret Njuguna will take part in the veteran category (45yrs and above) of the Henry Wanyoike before departing for the Manila international marathon on 19th June.

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