He was just a face in a thousand. That is until he marked himself from the crowd. He gave it everything he had until he led the pack and even then he kept pushing harder, perhaps too hard.
They told him he had to run six kilometers to prove he was worthy and not only did he make the cut, he came first not knowing the breath he took as he did so would be among his last. What should have been a shout of victory turned into a mournful cry. "It was unfortunate that we lost the young man upon reaching the hospital," Keroka division police boss Rol Mondoni said of the young man.
The faceless and nameless twenty-year-old, at least until his next of kin are notified, died on arrival at the Gucha District Hospital, Kisii county, Nyanza province.
He died pursuing a noble calling, coming so close to it and having it slip away. The hopes and dreams he saw at the cross of the finish line fading into darkness; the efforts of the recruiting officers to resuscitate the young man coming to nothing.
The importance of being selected in the nationwide police recruitment exercise to the young man is made even more poignant by his not being cowed in his ambition by an unprecedented killing of 48 officers in Samburu only days ago.
"I can't tell why we have less people this time round, however, it could be as a result of the recent killing of our police officers in Suguta Valley," Kisumu North District commissioner Edwin Chabari said.
Kisumu East District Commissioner Willy Cheboi held a different opinion regarding the low turnout of possible recruits; fear over-riding duty not a plausible enough reason for him as the required high school grade going up to a C.
What remains clear however is that the young man who lost his life on Thursday in the hopes of being recruited into the disciplined forces is no longer just a face in the crowd and a planned post-mortem will perhaps resolve the uncertainty surrounding his death.