Run, Comrades, run: A fun farewell

2012-06-04 12:30

It doesn’t get easier, no matter how much you run it, but by my third Comrades this year I had learnt one thing: how to have fun.

And it seems that most of the 17 000 people who started had the same goal.

We walked up hills and ran down, and high-fived the kids and thanked the amazing volunteers at the food and water tables.

And of course the crowds were awesome as usual.

The weather meant that people came out in numbers and camped out by the road. Seeing them in their camping chairs, I made a resolution to sit for a week.

Politics hardly featured this year in the race, unlike the past two years.

In 2011 the election brought branches out next to the road, and in 2010 there was still Zuma-euphoria, and of course the World Cup.

This year I saw a man with a cardboard cut-out of his almost 4-year-old son, who “helped” him.

I hear the runner made a bronze.

There was also a man with a cross, another with a flag proclaiming “Jesus us power”, and a blind runner running with a seeing runner.

It was a race where the feel-good factor brought tears to my eyes.

Deciding to drop back for a Vic Clapham medal (11-12 hour finish – I finished in 11hours 13mins) helped me see a lot more than I would have had I missioned for a bronze: I waved at the spectators and stopped to take pictures of the station from the highway bridges.

The weather really played along.

It wasn’t too cold this morning when we started, there was some cloud but no rain, and the finish was warm.

It was only the wind that challenged us a bit in the first half.

Tweeting the race also helped with the “slow down and enjoy it” part.

I tweeted most of the race, but went somewhat quiet around the 50 to 70 km mark.

That was the most difficult part of the race, with tiredness setting in and the finish line still just a tad out of reach.

The Twitter crowd was amazing, cheering me on from beds, coffee shops (with cake and coffee in front of them), their lounges or office.

My friends and family also followed and sent through messages of support when the going got tough.

It was enough to pull even the most despondent runner through.

A cameraman also met me at a few points in the race to put together a story about the tweeting journo runner.

It’s set to air on SABC next Sunday.

As great as yesterday was, I don’t think I’ll be back next year.

With age comes wisdom, sore knees, and achilles problems.

The doctor will be pleased, for one.

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