Have you ever wanted to run 5km? Or do you have a loftier goal, like finishing a half, or even full marathon? Better yet, have you ever dreamt of being an elite athlete, running effortlessly fast, while the Chariots of Fire theme plays in the background?? Mamas, I’m here to tell you that you can reach these and any other fitness and running goals you might have, right here in the ‘Kong! (Though you may want to provide your own theme music via an iPod – you might be more of an Eye of the Tiger kind of girl).
Even if all you want is to get fit, tone up and lose a few kilos in a social, fun, and supportive environment, then it’s time to stop making excuses, lace up those running shoes and get that butt out the door with Kipmovin… start running the Kenyan way!
Founded by Thomas Kiprotich, a winner of multiple big-name Hong Kong running events, (like the Standard Chartered Half Marathon the day his first son was born!) Kipmovin is a running and outdoor fitness-training group that primarily, though not exclusively, meets in Discovery Bay. If this all sound a little scary then rest assured, as sessions are suitable for everyone from beginner through to elite. Though most are running sessions, Thomas also teaches core classes so you have the chance to both lose weight via your running, and also get the best abs of your life (yes please!).
My first class was at Happy Valley running track, and I must admit – despite coming from a running and triathlon background myself – I was still nervous before my first run. After all, the closest I’d ever come to running ‘the Kenyan way’ was watching Kenyan runners on TV; Kenyans often tend to win big international races by a huge margin, and they tend to be much, much faster than me!
I needn’t have worried, as right from the outset Thomas made me feel totally comfortable and, dare I say it, even excited to run. That first night was hard enough to feel like a challenge, but not so hard as to put me off coming back for more. Actually, my trial had the opposite impact – leaving me so inspired that I signed up on the spot for the next three months, minimum!
Classes are structured in such a way that people of differing abilities can all run together, and help to motivate each other. Everyone is able to work at their own pace towards their own fitness goals, so there is never any reason to feel intimidated. Thomas makes sure nobody gets left behind, and that we all finish our run together while all getting a good workout. And everyone in the group has different goals; one man I met who came from a non-running background has lost 18 kilos in the past year, and recently finished his first marathon… amazing! Others are trying to improve their speed, or aiming to finish certain (brutal-sounding!) trail runs, while some just enjoy the social and fitness aspect of the sessions.
Attending training consistently for a few weeks has delivered improvements to my running in a really short period, which is motivating in itself, and I’ve also met some cool and interesting people. We all know that it’s so much easier to stay on track when you know you are accountable to others, and as I’ve already paid for the sessions and – most important – I don’t like missing out on the social aspect of the classes, I’m heading out even on the rainiest days.
As an expat mama, it’s so easy to end up in the same circles – talking about children’s sleep (or lack thereof!), potty training and schools. So it’s been refreshing to meet people from diverse backgrounds, whose uniting interest is running and fitness. I find that it gives back a little bit of your sense of personal identity and self-worth that can sometimes feel a little lost when you’re ‘just’ someone’s mum. At the same time, I also feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve done something just for me, and I feel like I’m a teeny tiny bit better as a person because I’m that little bit fitter and faster.
There are also Kipkidz groups, providing a really great way for your little tacker to burn some energy, meet new friends and help sport become part of their life early on! That way, being healthy and fit becomes part of their routine – no different from teeth brushing or going to school. As you would expect, the kids’ group is full of bright eyed, energetic and enthusiastic youngsters, who you can just tell are top of their class at school! When I ran with some of the younger group they absolutely inspired me, as not only are some of them very speedy, but they are all so positive and are having a ball! As with the adults group, the kids’ class caters to all ages and abilities, with a focus on fitness through fun.
I’d say that this class has given my fitness regime a new injection of motivation, and has renewed my commitment to my running and fitness goals when I was otherwise feeling despondent and burnt-out. Thomas seems to know just how hard to push to keep me motivated and my Saturday morning run is a great start to my weekend!
Ironman, multiple marathoner, corporate lawyer, and mum of one, Jane grew up in a small coastal town in Australia. Not ever wanting to be too far from a beach, she recently moved south to Hong Kong after a 2-year stint in Shanghai. When she’s not running – either round and round a track or after a toddler – Jane studies Chinese, cooks for friends, and does crafts. This year she plans to break 3 hours in the marathon, and to finally finish the quilt that she started for her son’s first Christmas…