Run Comrades Run: Getting there

2012-06-02 09:07

Mad Greg has found a place to stay, he says.

“This chick has opened her home to me. You know, this time of the year everyone opens their hearts and their homes there.”

Physio Dave’s grip on my calve weakens as he giggles.

“So, has this woman met you yet?” he asks.

Of course not, but Mad Greg had waited until that Wednesday morning, a few hours before catching the plane to Durbs, to arrange for accommodation.

He’s an elite runner who could have finished in the top 10 if he weren’t quite so mad, Physio Dave reckons.

(This is also why I’m not using Greg’s real name, in case he ends up in the top 10 and demands royalties for appearing in this column or, worse, beats me up for taking the mickey.)

I quietly wonder if he wouldn’t acclimatise, and then think about my own sleepover headaches. Sometimes the 89km run is just a part of the Comrades challenge.

For someone who has forward planning deficit, getting there, getting a place to sleep in towns that have been booked out and overpriced for months, getting to the start line on time for the 5.30am gun (this means getting there by 4.30am and getting up by 3.30am), and getting back to your things after the day’s run, all that can be quite a challenge.

It also so happened that my best friend couldn’t make it because of her work, my family were caught up in other plans, and I’ve avoided asking friends, who I know might not respect me again after smelly me collapses in their arms, to accompany me.

So it was fortunate that, as I left Physio Dave’s rooms, I bumped into running buddy Bee who vaguely offered me a place with them in Pietermaritzburg while we were running our last long race.

She and her family will be staying in the home of a family member, and there is extra room.

I had vaguely organised an alternative place to stay in case, but it will be so much nicer staying with someone who can share the pre-race jitters the night before.

We’ll also be going to the start together, which will be enormously helpful logistically.

With only two days to go before the race, things are simple from this point onwards.

Stay healthy, uninjured, sane, get to Maritzburg safely, don’t panic too much, don’t eat too much, don’t eat too little, stay away from the chilli and stay off your feet.

There is also the small matter of going to pick up the race number, remembering the Championchip (the microchip that will register our times every time we cross one of the special mats), and getting the Vaseline and sunblock smeared in the right places.

Other than that, the Comrades really is just putting one foot in front of the other.

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