Kenyattas Family Camp in London Ready for Marathon

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When First Lady Margaret Kenyatta joins thousands of other charity runners at the London Marathon Sunday, close members of her family will line up the streets of the English capital to cheer her on, led by President Kenyatta.

Mrs Kenyatta will run with a team of eight for the 42.195-kilometre marathon that starts at the historic Greenwhich Park at 10.30am Kenyan time.

Her aim is to raise money to buy 47 mobile clinics that will help eradicate preventable maternity and early childhood deaths. The eight include her sister-in-law, Ms Nyokabi Muthama, who is President Kenyatta’s elder sister.

Also in London is the President’s mother and Kenya’s original First Lady, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, who also joined her daughter-in-law for her 50th birthday celebrations on Wednesday night at the high-end Chelsea Harbour Hotel, London’s only all-suite five-star hotel.

Just like the First Lady, sister-in-law Ms Nyokabi is very much a behind-the-scenes personality and prefers the anonymity of a private life away from the public eye. Joining Mrs Kenyatta in clocking a total of over 400 kilometres in training since November has helped bring out Ms Nyokabi’s personality as an easy-going person.

“I realise after this (training and running) that we are the ones who put limitations on ourselves,” she told the Saturday Nation philosophically in an interview from London.

“After this, I believe I can do anything, and that anything is possible. All you have to do is get up and do it!”

Also in the team for tomorrow’s race is Mrs Constance Gakonyo, the First Lady’s Chief of Staff, coach Douglas Wakiihuri, Mrs Florence Awori of the First Lady’s office, two members of her security detail and Mr Japheth Kariakim, a member of Mrs Kenyatta’s medical team. Since November, “Connie”, as Mrs Gakonyo is known by those close to her, and Ms Nyokabi have trained with the First Lady and also ran alongside her at last month’s First Lady’s Half Marathon in Nairobi, completing the 21-kilometre distance in three hours and 35 minutes.

“For me, training for the marathon has been nothing short of a miracle,” Mrs Gakonyo told the Saturday Nation Friday as the team finalised their preparations for tomorrow’s race with light running at the Kensington Gardens.

“In the recent past, I have had two major back surgeries and have been in a wheelchair, and here I am, through the power of the Almighty and the warmth and encouragement of the team, running the marathon has become a reality. I am amazed by the determination and resilience of the First Lady — she has been a great example to me and to the whole team especially because she had no experience in running whatsoever.”

Besides Mrs Gakonyo, there are at least a dozen other members of the First Lady’s office in London this weekend, including her chef, Mr Robin Nyambu, three waiting staff Mr Edwin Ndegwa, Mrs Rose Wachira and Mr Odin Ondari, who have been on hand with the mineral water and refreshments in training, and head of the media team Mr Maina Kigaga.

Then there is the elite Presidential Escort Unit team guarding the First Lady’s entourage led by Peter Kimotho and the medical team of Dr Amos Ndiritu, Dr Gichunuku Gikundi, paramedic Mr Paul Mabuka and physiotherapist Mr Kariakim who also took charge of Kenya’s team at last year’s World Athletics Championships in Moscow.-nation.co.ke

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta serves a piece of cake to former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta  who is also her Mother-in-Law during her 50th birthday celebrations at a cocktail party in London.  PhotoPSCU

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