Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Home > Counties > Mursik, the energy drink valued by athletes

Mursik, the energy drink valued by athletes

Since time immemorial Kenya has continuously dominated the world of athletics by producing the world’s top track stars in championships bringing glory and prestige to the country in the global arena, and speculation has been rife that a popular staple fermented drink could be the secret weapon.

The traditionally fermented milk christened mursik is made from cow or goat milk and fermented in a calabash gourd locally referred to as known as a sotet which is lined with soot from specific trees, such as the African senna, to add flavor to the fermented milk.

A significant majority of Kenyan athletic heroes are Kalenjin and scenes of them receiving a sip of mursik at the airport after having returned from international duty form part of Kenya’s cultural tapestry.

According to Mary Bett, Kalenjin elder from Itibet village in Ainamoi Constituency, Kericho County revealed that the fermented drink is a symbol of cultural significance, especially during ceremonies such as marriages, initiation, and even when victory is anticipated from athletes participating in races internationally.

“Before and after winning in championships, we give our athletes a sip of this special drink as a sign of love and goodwill from us. When you give love and support in terms of prayer and symbolize it with mursik, God answers prayers,” added Bett

The 84-year-old elder pointed out that the staple Kalenjin food is ugali which has to be accompanied by the popular mursik that must be at the table to make it whole.

“During the preparation of Mursik, we add charcoal powder inside the milk, giving it a black spotted color then the gourd is closed and left in a dark and cool room for 3 to 4 days for fermentation to take place then the black soured milk is ready for use,” said Bett.

Also speaking to Kenya News Agency during the athlete’s training session at the Kericho Green Stadium, the Kericho branch Athletics Kenya Vice Chairman Gabriel Kiptanui attributed the success of Kenyan athletes from the Rift Valley to healthy indigenous foods and drinks which they partake from childhood.

He added that mursik could be one of the secret weapons due to its nutritional benefits that keep the athletes in good shape and strength to endure the tough races and emerge victorious.

“Athletics require healthy nutrition such as mursik which helps in reducing the sensation of fatigue as it keeps your energy at an optimal level. It also hydrates the body and provides important nutrients such as unsaturated fats, minerals, and beneficial bacteria as well as boosting metabolism,” said Kiptanui.

Kiptanui also revealed that it is believed the traditional milk dates back 300 years when the Kalenjin community preserved milk during the glut in production, adding that it is just a belief that the drink gives athletes the ability to conquer the championships.

“There is no magic in the drink. It’s just a nutritious drink with good benefits for the bodies of athletes” said Kiptanui.

Kiptanui who also doubles as the athletes’ coach urged upcoming players to remain committed and consistent to their training sessions and to partake in healthy foods that will give their bodies strength for the endurance required in training and participation in championships.

Some of the popular Kenyan athletes in Kericho County include the Durban- African Championship 5000 meters title holder Sheila Chepkirui, 1500 meters medallist Faith Chepkoech, African Junior women Cross Country champion Miriam Cherop, Silver Medalist Kipngetich Ngeno among many other upcoming athletes.

“Our very own Benard Kibet Koech is very ready to participate in the 10,000 Meters RAK Half Marathon in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on the 18th of February 2023 and we are confident that he will emerge victorious because he has trained well,” said Kiptanui.

By Kibe Mburu and Brenda Cherono

Leave a Reply